IN THIS UPDATE:
GRANTS IMPACT - FEEDBACK AND FIGURES
November was an exciting month, with six ensembles performing a total of thirteen concerts in eleven different locations across the UK - from Cornwall to Scotland. Two new albums were recorded, one by the Monteverdi String Band and one by recently-formed ensemble Obligato.
Reflecting on the launch of Ensemble Hesperi's new vocal ensemble 'Hesperi Voices' at Temple Church in October, Thomas Allery shares feedback on how Continuo's support has made a difference to the development of this instrumental group: "Your support has helped us to achieve one of our long term goals: to work with our own group of singers joining the instrumentalists in a way where text and playing can inspire each other. We are confident that this represents the beginning of an exciting new direction for our ensemble, and will help us to develop our reputation for expanding flexibly to meet the demands of unjustly neglected repertoire. Thank you for providing hope and confidence in our industry!" Continuo Foundation's impact since the first round of grants in 2021:
£650,000 awarded to 85 different ensembles 950 individual freelance musician beneficiaries 35,000 live audience members 62,000 online audience members 16 CD recordings released so far
2024 GRANTS - ROUNDS 7 AND 8
Thanks to the generosity of new and existing donors, we have made good progress over the past month on fundraising for our 2024 grants, and towards our aim to secure advance commitments for a majority of Continuo's funding needs for the next three years.
In terms of the 2024 grant funding target of £200,000 - for Grant Round 7 (launching 9th January) and Grant Round 8 (launching 9th July) - we are thrilled to have secured donations and commitments of £131,400 so far. We need to raise a further £68,600 to ensure these two rounds are fully funded. We are hoping to achieve that quickly but do still need to secure that support.
With the successes we are having in securing funding for beyond 2024, something we continue to focus on as there is still a material gap, we are able to spend more time pursuing projects that leverage the Continuo Connect platform and that will increase our impact, maximise support for musicians and grow larger, more engaged audiences.
Please contact Tina Vadaneaux if you would like to learn more about Continuo's work and plans for the future - or if you have thoughts as to who might be interested in speaking with me about becoming a donor or sponsor!
With over 700 concerts across the UK listed in 2023, Continuo Connect is the Go-To Guide for Early Music! We have seen fantastic growth in audiences, with 16k clicks over the past month and our 'What's On' page top of the list. We look forward to a flurry of 2024 event listings over the coming weeks from our grantees and other professional UK early music ensembles. Do keep an eye on 'Recently Listed Events'.
CONTINUO AT REMA SUMMIT
Tina Vadaneaux was invited by the European Early Music Network (REMA) to speak at their triennial Summit, a gathering of Early Music professionals from across Europe. There was strong interest in Continuo's innovative model of privately-funded support focused on the long term financial sustainability of the sector. Many new ideas were sparked for helping UK musicians to flourish and continuing to build new and enthusiastic audiences around the country.
with Jan Zahourek
Jan Zahourek is a freelance double bass, viola da gamba and violone player who enjoys a variety of collaborations. He nurtures his broad musical taste in his own chamber music projects with the ZAREK ensemble. As a core member of Solomon's Knot, he will appear in their Christmas concerts, performing Bach's 1723 Magnificat alongside two cantatas from the same year. More details here.
How has Continuo impacted your day-to-day life? Continuo impacts my daily life in the way it funds inspiring ensembles I play with throughout the year. Groups like Solomon's Knot and La Serenissima, for example, as well as collaborations with Consone Quartet and recently the Rautio Piano Trio. Without playing with groups like these, my professional activity would be greyer and more two dimensional. What do you love about being a musician? Being a musician, for me, is the best job. I am always extremely engaged by what we do, and always inspired by fantastic colleagues to raise my game and perform at my absolute highest level. What is so amazing about being a musician is that your absolute highest level can continuously rise. Though it is not a massive money maker, I absolutely believe that what we do as musicians is important, and even vital for society. Sometimes people talk about good vibes... well, that's what music is. Where did you encounter the most receptive audience? I can't help but notice how the typical St Martin in the Fields audience is exceedingly receptive. I think that people who are visiting London will go there as part of visiting the UK capital, and often these people have never been to a concert before. So I have had many extremely enthusiastic comments after concerts there. Additionally I recently had a wonderful audience of my local neighbours who came to hear my ZAREK trio concert in support of refugees at the local church. Again, most of these people had little experience of that kind of music, and their curiosity, attention and enthusiasm created a sensation which I have rarely felt when playing a concert. My trio mates noticed it too. No.1 listening recommendation? If you mean listening to music as a consumer, then I would say listen to what makes you feel emotions. I listen to salsa, hip hop and reggae mostly.
NOVEMBER PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
Monteverdi String Band - The Madrigal Reimagined
Following concerts in Edinburgh and with Cambridge Early Music, the Monteverdi String Band and soprano Hannah Ely made a recording of 'The Madrigal Reimagined.' The repertoire explores every facet of the madrigal, especially the intertwining of voice and strings. "The ideas for this project go back over a decade, and it means a great deal to have been able to commit this to disc." The album will be on Resonus Classics.
Endelienta Baroque - EarthSong
Endelienta Baroque toured their EarthSong project to St Neots, Harrow, Penzance and Port Isaac (pictured), and London. Handel's Nine German Arias were presented alongside two newly-commissioned settings of Brockes' nature-praise poetry by composer Alice Beckwith. The tour included song-writing workshops in primary schools, where the musicians were thrilled by the creativity, curiosity and energy from the 320 students who participated.
Spinacino Consort - Hey for Christmas
The Spinacino Consort teamed up with vocal ensemble Siglo de Oro in 'Hey for Christmas.' This festive programme included music by Playford, Dowland, Byrd and traditional melodies from England and Ireland. The group performed to enthusiastic audiences in Huntly, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and will appear at Wigmore Hall on 22 December for the Spinacino Consort's debut at this venue. Click here for details.
Obligato - The Art of Obligato
Recently-formed ensemble Obligato made a new recording featuring counter-tenor Hugh Cutting and tenor Nick Pritchard. Following the success of 'Sweet Stillness' with Mary Bevan, this album focuses on the expressive and creative obligato technique in Bach's cantatas. Violinist Davina Clarke, founder of the ensemble, also chose two violin sonatas. The album will be released on VOCES8 Records.
The Harmonious Society of Tickle Fiddle Gentlemen - Chandos Anthems
The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen released the world-premiere recording of Italianate sacred music by Pepusch composed for the Duke of Chandos. The album features three works: the luxuriously-scored Christmas Anthem Rejoice in the Lord, the Vivaldi-inspired Magnificat in English, and smaller-scale anthem O Praise the Lord. The Girl's Choir of Canterbury Cathedral feature alongside outstanding soloists Ciara Hendrick, Alex Potter, Hugh Cutting, Nicholas Mulroy, Nicholas Todd, Vitali Rozynko and Edward Grint. Chandos Anthems is available here.