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  • Writer's pictureContinuo Foundation

JUNE UPDATE


IN THIS UPDATE:

 

IMPACT - FEEDBACK AND FIGURES


June was a busy month in which eight grantee ensembles presented 27 concerts in 23 locations across the UK. The thirteen-concert tour of The Telling's I, Spie concert-play is a standout example of the way our grants enable ensembles to reach wider audiences and to capitalise on their upfront investment in the development of a programme. Another June highlight was the world premiere by La Nuova Musica of a new work for period instruments by Luke Styles, at Wigmore Hall.


We are proud to help early music reach all areas of the UK, and we received a lovely message from Early Music in the Marches about a concert by Chelys Consort of Viols:

 

"Out here ‘in the sticks’ it is difficult enough to promote world-class concerts without the cuts that have been made in recent years... Thank you Continuo Foundation for making it possible for local music enthusiasts to hear some sublime music without having to travel to a major city."


In addition, The Monteverdi String Band, together with Hannah Ely and Toby Carr, launched their new Continuo Foundation-supported recording - The Madrigal Reimagined - following successful performances of this programme which we funded in 2022 and 2023. Continuo Foundation's impact since inception:

£750,000 awarded to 94 ensembles

1,032 freelance musician beneficiaries

188,200 live and online audience members

 21 CD recordings released so far


 

2024 GRANTS - ROUND 8

Preparations are well underway for Grant Round 8, opening for applications next week. Our expert Advisory Panel and Trustees are looking forward to seeing what the UK's period instrument ensembles have in store for audiences around the country from November 2024 to April 2025.

 

Continuo Foundation is entirely privately funded, and our grant making activity is run by skilled professionals giving their time pro bono. This means that 100% of grant donations go directly to the musicians performing in the projects selected through our competitive process.

 

We are very grateful for all the donations received for Grant Round 8, totalling £94,850. We are working hard to secure the final £5,150 needed to reach the £100,000 to be offered in this round.

 

NB - if you make a donation from a CAF account, please let us know by email so that we can thank you, as CAF makes the transfers anonymously.

 

Please contact Tina Vadaneaux if you would like to learn more about Continuo's work and plans for the future.


 

CONTINUO CONNECT


Continuo Connect is a digital platform which not only aggregates information and makes this easily accessible, it also fosters collaboration and enables partnerships among organisations active in the UK early music scene.

 

In June, we were very grateful to the London Handel Festival for sharing an email introducing Continuo Connect to their subscribers. This reciprocation for the publicity support we provided for their 2024 Spring Awakenings Festival was extremely helpful for encouraging music lovers to discover more of what the early music world has to offer.

 

Five festivals and concert series created new profiles on Continuo Connect in June, for a total of fifty. As we head into summer, please do check out this growing directory of Festivals and Concert Series across the UK, and see What's On near you.



Support the artists on Continuo Connect by encouraging friends to visit the site!

 

RECOGNITION FROM MAKING MUSIC


We are thrilled that Making Music, the umbrella organisation for leisure time music-making in the UK, has recognised the value of a grant from Continuo Foundation as a mark of quality akin to organisations like Young Classical Artists Trust and Royal Overseas League. This recognition demonstrates the way that we are leveraging Continuo Connect as a platform for win-win collaborations, and underscores the quality of our grantee selection process and the high standard of these early music ensembles.

 

Going forward, any Continuo Foundation grantee will be accepted onto Making Music's new Recommended Artists Guide without need for further vetting. This opens significant opportunities for these ensembles to be booked by over 400 concert promoter members (music clubs, societies and festivals) across the UK. Detailed information will be circulated to all of our grantees.

 

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT


Edmund Taylor is the musical director of Bellot Ensemble, a recently formed group specialising in 17th century Italian repertoire, often performing their own arrangements and divisions of vocal repertoire from this period. Bellot Ensemble will be performing in a competition at the Utrecht Early Music Festival this summer, and will also record their debut album, Cupid’s Ground Bass, with the talented young singers Lucine Musaelian and Kieran White, thanks to funding from Continuo Foundation. This summer, Edmund will also be working with Armonico Consort in their tour of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and other projects. Photograph © Olivia Da Costa

How has Continuo impacted your day-to-day life? As someone who regularly promotes early music concerts and festivals, Continuo Connect has been such a wonderful resource to reach a really receptive audience! It’s also really inspiring to see the wide variety of what other groups and individuals are promoting, from a concert of repertoire we all know and love to something that really pushes the boundaries of what an ‘early music’ concert might look and sound like. It's been really great to have access to not only the wide array of concerts but now also the spotlights and articles being written there. Alongside this, the group I founded, Bellot Ensemble, will be able to record our debut album later this year thanks to the Continuo Foundation! We’ve been working really hard to make sure it lives up to our high expectations. What do you love about being a musician? There are so many things I could talk about with that question. For me though, it all boils down to the moments on stage where all I’m thinking about is how much I’m enjoying the music, and conveying that to a really responsive audience. This feeling is strengthened immeasurably when collaborating with fellow musicians who are equally in the moment and responsive!

Where did you encounter the most receptive audience? During the time period where covid was incredibly present in our lives, I ran a charity to perform to patients in both covid and non-covid wards of intensive care units in Bassetlaw and Doncaster hospitals through the use of tablets, microphones and speakers. The whole experience was incredibly affirming of what we do as musicians and how we can really impact people in extraordinary ways! At that time there was a lack of patient-visitor interaction, so you could really tell how much it meant when we were performing requests and interacting with each patient - we could even see their vital signs improve as they relaxed and enjoyed the music!

What new doors have opened for you since becoming a grantee?

Becoming a grantee we felt an immediate level of support and trust which has since really propelled the group. This has given us a real sense of confidence which, in turn, helped us when approaching larger scale projects as well as exploring the repertoire in our own unique way with much more drive! 


No.1 listening recommendation? L’Arpeggiata - Via Crucis I absolutely adore L’Arpeggiata, and they are certainly a huge influence on the group. We will hopefully be seeing them perform live in August when the group visits Utrecht to perform at the Festival Fringe there alongside the competition, which is very exciting! Philippe Jaroussky is also of course phenomenal and this album is just hit after hit and I just can’t help always coming back to it!


More about Edmund Taylor is available on his Continuo Connect Interview.


 

JUNE PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

 

La Nuova Musica - Jephthah's Daughter


La Nuova Musica, under David Bates, gave the world premiere of Jephthah's Daughter by Luke Styles and librettist Jessica Walker, presenting an alternative perspective on the biblical story. The outstanding cast of soloists included Anna Dennis, Jake Arditti, Joshua Ellicott and Benjamin Appl. This work was paired with two Baroque masterpieces, Carissimi’s oratorio Jephte and John Blow’s Venus and Adonis. The programme will tour to other UK locations in the coming year.


 

Fiori Musicali - Edgcote 800th: Fire


Inspired by the 250th anniversary of Priestley’s discovery of oxygen, this summer Fiori Musicali embarked on a new series of concerts based on the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. The first programme focused on 'the fire of the spirit, the fire of love, of ecstasy & of passion' and included music by Hildegard of Bingen, Alonso el Sabio, and Tartini. Three concerts remain in the summer series, for details click here.


 

English Haydn Orchestra - English Haydn Festival



The English Haydn Orchestra, conducted by Steven Devine and led by Simon Standage, gave three performances at the 30th anniversary English Haydn Festival. The festival also featured the Salomon Quartet, Consone Quartet, the Revolutionary Wind Machine, and the English Haydn Piano Trio. We were delighted to see the festival hailed as 'a sensational success' in the Bridgnorth Journal, and to hear that the Austrian ambassador wrote a personal message to 'applaud the English Haydn Festival's commitment to preserving the legacy of Haydn's music in the United Kingdom.'


 

The Telling - I, Spie



The Telling toured their spell-binding I, Spie “concert-play” by Clare Norburn, telling the story of renaissance composer/lutenist John Dowland’s brush with the Secret Service and how he manages to foil an Italian plot on the life of Queen Elizabeth I. The drama was directed by Nicholas Renton and featured singers Héloise Bernard and Elizabeth Unsworth-Wilson. The concert-play brought early music to audiences old and new in thirteen locations across the UK, many of which have previously had limited or no access to high quality early music. Photograph © Robert Piwko


 

Galliarda - Angell's Musick in Mortall's dresse


Galliarda presented a series of concerts in honour of the 350th anniversary of the death of composer John Wilson. The programme brought together works from all periods of Wilson's life, including his stage and masque productions. A fascinating figure in Stuart England, Wilson was a prolific composer with over 300 songs, some of them from staged productions by Shakespeare and Fletcher. He also performed and composed for the King and Court. The programme was premiered in Wilson's home town of Faversham, then toured to London and Oxford in June. Galliarda will also make a recording of this programme, which has been written about in this article on Continuo Connect.


 

NEW ALBUM ALERT

 

Monteverdi String Band - The Madrigal Reimagined


The Monteverdi String Band, together with soprano Hannah Ely and lutenist Toby Carr, released a new album in June. The Madrigal Reimagined focuses on the influence that madrigals had on composers of the time. Breaking free from merely attaching music to poetry, madrigals developed their own individual musical identity which eventually paved the way to the creation of what we now know as opera. The album is available to purchase here and has been written about in this article on Continuo Connect. Click below to see a clip from a previous performance of the programme.




 


AS EVER, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

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