IN THIS UPDATE:
1. AUDIENCE FEEDBACK
4. CONTINUO CONNECT
Continuo grant-supported performances, both live and online, have enriched the lives of nearly 80,000 people. We wish to share with you a few examples of the wonderful feedback our grantees have received from their audiences.
'It was one of those special happenings that leaves an imprint of magic.'
'Thank you. As a full time carer I rarely leave the home. Today was like a holiday - all the music, humour, history was absolutely inspiring and will keep me inspired and optimistic for some time.'
'Stunning, if the word stunning can be applied to intimate music making.'
'Amazing to hear classical music live - a first for me. I will absolutely be coming back.'
'Everything about this is beautiful and calming - thank you for bringing such things into my life ...'
'Thank you for this amazing concert! I think it was like my ears travelled through time to the period of history in which the piece would be played. Please come back again.'
'I knew that you would be excellent, but I have rarely been so moved by a performance.'
'I loved the original research that went into the music selection. Well done!'
GRANTS - HIGHLIGHTS AND IMPACT
In October, our grants supported 12 live concerts in seven different locations across the UK. Online audiences enjoyed streaming The Telling's filmed 'Into the Melting Pot' concert, which remains available to watch here until 14th November. Fontanella released the first in a series of recorder ensemble videos, an Italian renaissance song available here.
Florilegium released a new recording of Haydn’s Symphonies Morning, Noon and Night on Channel Classics, available here. According to BBC Record Review, 'They bring that chamber music aesthetic - the Baroque intimacy and instrumental colour - and the solo character of Florilegium’s players makes the wind and horn writing really vivid against the strings.' Please scroll down to the October Project Highlights for a video from one of the recording sessions.
The Prince Regent's Band presented three varied programmes on its ‘Brazen Harmony' tour to Holywell Music Room in Oxford, Crossness Engines Museum in London and Hellens Manor in Herefordshire. Each programme used different historic brass instrumentation, drawing in new audiences from the brass band world. All three concerts were filmed and will be released soon. The manager of Hellens wrote:
'As a relatively small and rural venue, it is rare that we have the chance to promote a larger ensemble playing repertoire that is not so widely known. As well as our regular concert-goers, the programme attracted new audiences through promotion targeted at our local brass band community, who were in awe of the ensemble's skill and musicality.'
The impact of Continuo Foundation's grant-making activity, summarised in figures:
£352,200 disbursed to 51 different ensembles 3,270 bookings - full musician impact* since April 2021 633 individual freelance musicians performed 17,679 live audience participants 61,341 online audience participants
* calculated as the number of musicians engaged multiplied by the number of performances/recording days
FUNDRAISING - 2023 GRANT ROUNDS
According to Help Musicians, 80% of freelance musicians are still earning less than they did pre-pandemic. Against the backdrop of higher living costs, 50% of those surveyed felt that a career in music was no longer sustainable. Our grants continue to provide a lifeline for musicians, enabling them to earn a living through creating inspiring live music experiences which benefit thousands of people of all ages across the UK.
The £460,000 in project grants we have awarded has been life-enhancing for musicians and audiences alike, as well as boosting mental health and bringing communities together. There will be two rounds of £100,000 in grants in January and July 2023 to maintain this still-needed support and to help early music continue to flourish for more audiences in more locations.
Our focus between now and the end of the year is to close the immediate funding gap of £38,500 to reach the £100,000 target to launch Round 5 in January. As always, 100% of donations goes to helping musicians create inspiring live music experiences for people across the UK.
If you are able to help us reach our January target, please visit the Support Us page of our website for details. Alternatively, please contact Tina Vadaneaux to discuss how you can make a difference.
We are making excellent progress on our project to create a digital hub for early music in the UK which will support and serve this sector for many years to come. Dean has been doing a stellar job of moving the project forward, working with our selected agency to build the site, incorporating feedback from our grantee ensembles and musicians into the design. We expect the first version of the site to be in testing by December and to have it ready to serve as the portal for applications when we launch Grant Round 5 in January.
We are fortunate to have a talented, experienced team of senior professionals giving their time to advise on and guide this project. In addition to Continuo Trustees Ben Vanderspar and Tina Vadaneaux, who are actively involved, we have digital expert Jayson Robinson, former CEO of WeTransfer Gordon Willoughby and Senior MD of Houlihan Lokey and Angel Investor, Joseph Swanson. Details of the Continuo Connect Team are available here.
OCTOBER PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
Sackbut Frenzy – ‘From the Mountains’
Sackbut Frenzy presented a programme of music written over 900 years by composers ranging from Hildegard of Bingen in the 11th century to Emily White in 2021. To see the performance of one of the more recent pieces, please click here for Justine Rapaccioli's 'Agnus Dei' (2019). The two concerts, in Eltham and in North Nibley, also provided valuable performance opportunities for four young musicians studying at Guildhall School of Music. After playing alongside professionals, one of the student musicians asked "How would I go about adding more sackbut-related groups and classes to my timetable? I have realised how keen I am to pursue it further." Photo: Torbjorn Hultmark
Saraband – 'In the Music Room'
Saraband presented a wonderful series of concerts in Hampstead in October. There were free afternoon concerts on three successive Sundays at Kenwood House which attracted standing room only audiences of all ages who enjoyed the well-researched programmes relating to the paintings in the house. The ensemble also gave two sold-out evening concerts in the former studio of 18th century artist George Romney, upstairs at what is now the Holly Bush pub. We couldn't resist sharing the video below from one of the pub events, featuring a re-creation of the 'Rommel pot' which was popular in 1700s folk music.
Spiritato – ‘Inspiring Bach'
Spiritato and The Marian Consort are touring a programme of music which inspired JS Bach. We are proud to have supported the creation of this project back in 2021. In October, the musicians performed at the Brighton Early Music Festival (photo at left) and the Wiltshire Music Centre. This exhilarating programme, with no less than 4 natural trumpets, will travel to the York Early Music Christmas Festival on 11th December. Tickets available here. Photo: Robert Piwko
Florilegium – Haydn Symphonies 'Morning, Noon and Night’
At the end of October, Florilegium released a new recording of Haydn’s Symphonies 6, 7 and 8. This recording project followed on from performances of these works at the Stour Festival in 2021, supported by a Continuo first round grant. An outstanding film was made from the live concert footage, which is available to watch here. The recording was made with 18 musicians, the same forces Haydn had at his disposal for the 1761 première at Esterhazy Palace. Please click on the video below to hear an excerpt from one of the recording sessions. Available to purchase here or to stream on Quobuz and iTunes.