IN THIS UPDATE:
2. 2024 GRANT ROUNDS
3. CONTINUO CONNECT
3. PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
GRANTS IMPACT - FEEDBACK AND FIGURES
October was a busy month with 11 ensembles presenting a total of 23 concerts in 12 different locations nationwide, including the Brook Street Band's love:Handel festival in Norwich. Two new CDs were added to the wonderful array of Continuo-supported recordings, with releases from Dunedin Consort and Brecon Baroque, both recorded in September 2022. La Serenissima also recorded their latest album - 'Crossing Borders' - and Cambridge Handel Opera teamed up with the Academy of Ancient Music to make the world premiere recording of John Weldon's 'The Judgment of Paris' (1701) after presenting this unknown work in a concert in Cambridge.
Following Spiritato's launch of 'Music for her Majestie,' an ambitious new programme of odes to Queen Anne by Handel, Purcell and Eccles featuring Elizabeth Kenny on theorbo and a stellar cast of singers, trumpeter Will Russell reflected: "Thanks to Continuo Foundation's 'vote of confidence' we were able to produce a well-prepared project without having to compromise our artistic vision. As a result, we were fortunate to be able to employ a large number of professional musicians and concentrate on allowing them time to explore this rare repertoire in a supportive and encouraging environment. Artists at the very top of our field have joined us as equals and we have spread our own reputation as inventive producers and dynamic performers. We can now look to foster new relationships with artists and promoters using this project as a wonderful example of our work at the highest level and we are already exploring the many new connections made this September." Continuo Foundation's impact since the first round of grants in 2021:
£650,000 awarded to 85 different ensembles 950 individual freelance musician beneficiaries 33,500 live audience members 62,000 online audience members 15 CD recordings released so far
2024 GRANTS - ROUNDS 7 AND 8
Reflecting on the impact of our £650k in grants to 145 projects, and the stellar track record of our expert Advisory Panel members who give their time to assess ca. 120 applications each year, we are thrilled that all five experts are keen to remain on board. Catherine Mackintosh wrote:
"It is an honour to be asked to evaluate (as best we can) all this wealth of talent and I am happy to continue to help the excellent team. The Foundation is indeed a marvel and the world of British music is greatly the richer for it in so many ways. Thank you and your donors so very much!"
We plan to continue with two grant rounds, of a minimum of £100k each, to be launched in January and July of each year over the next three years. We have observed a need for longer lead times between grant awards and project start dates, so we will be gradually shifting the timeframes to add four weeks to the current lead time, as follows:
Grant Round 7: awards announced mid-March for projects from April to end of October Grant Round 8: awards announced mid-September for projects from November 2024 to May 2025
Over the coming months, we will be working to secure advance commitments for as much as we can of Continuo’s funding needs over the next three years. We have a plan, and conversations with existing and new supporters are proving exciting. If we succeed in the way we wish to, we will be able to spend more time on operations and maximising our support to musicians.
Looking ahead, we have an immediate funding gap of £35,000 required for Grant Round 7, to be launched in January 2024. Please contact Tina Vadaneaux if you would like to learn more about Continuo's work and plans for the future, or with ideas for potential donors or sponsors.
We launched the new and improved Continuo Connect site on 25th October! The feedback has been fantastic, both from musicians who have been keen to share insights into their life and work - and also from the audiences who love the easy to search concert listings and are enjoying the features by and about the talented artists who make early music so extraordinary.
with Maxim Del Mar
Maxim Del Mar is a freelance violinist playing with several period groups. He is an active member of emerging chamber ensembles such as Ensemble La Notte, Eboracum Baroque, Lilium Convallium, and recent Continuo grantee Endelienta Baroque, which is touring their new programme 'EarthSong' with concerts and schools workshops celebrating nature and addressing the ecological crises we face. Click here for more details.
How has Continuo impacted your day-to-day life? It has made possible some of the most important projects I find myself doing and using each day to prepare for. Without Continuo, I would have far less playing on the agenda and would be filling each day with other activities which are far less fulfilling for me than performing! Which doors have opened since receiving our Grant? The biggest doors Continuo have opened for me have been the opportunities to engage in chamber music. It’s by far my favourite form of musical performance, and I have found myself enjoying far more well-paid projects with chamber groups than I was before, and this has helped me enjoy my job much more! What do you love about being a musician? I love the excitement of nothing ever being the same. I love how every week takes me to a different place, playing different music with different people, and therefore I can never know what to expect. I feel very lucky to always be in such interesting places with such lovely people in the name of “work”! Where did you encounter the most receptive audience? In June I travelled to Leipzig with Solomon’s Knot, to perform Bach’s St Matthew Passion to a full audience in the Nikolaikirche. I have been fortunate enough to perform this amazing work a number of times, however performing it live to a German audience, who hung onto every word the Evangelist was singing, was something really special to me. I had a preconception that the Leipzig locals might be a tough crowd with Bach so close to their hearts and their home, but they were very enthusiastic and said such lovely things to us both after the concert and in the interval. No.1 listening recommendation? Don’t go with too many expectations of how a player or a piece is going to sound. Things get done differently every time, and the best thing about live performance is the freedom to try new things, so allow yourself to be receptive to anything the performer(s) want to try in the moment!
More about Maxim Del Mar is available on her musician profile on Continuo Connect.
OCTOBER PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
Ensemble Hesperi - Celestial Music did the Gods Inspire
Ensemble Hesperi brought the late 17th century "Battle of the Organs" at the Temple Church to life through words and music, in the original venue of this years-long controversy. ''Celestial Music did the Gods Inspire' was a sparkling programme of rarely heard music by Purcell and Blow, which marked the launch of the 'Hesperi Voices' vocal group. Keep an eye out for the film release.
Consone Quartet - The Bridges of Königsberg
The Consone Quartet extended its period instrument quartet to a sextet for three concerts presenting a new work commissioned from Gavin Bryars entitled ‘The Bridges of Königsberg.’ Drawing inspiration from the well-known mathematical puzzle and the life of Immanuel Kant, this piece was presented alongside the Brahms sextet and a Haydn quartet. The London performance was broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and remains available on BBC Sounds.
La Serenissima - Crossing Borders
La Serenissima made a new recording - 'Crossing Borders' - exploring significant cultural links between 18th century Italian and German composers. The album includes little-known chamber works by Brescianello, Schreyfogel, Sieber, Telemann and Vivaldi in new editions by Adrian Chandler. There was a fantastic line-up of musicians involved, including Tabea Debus and Katy Bircher for Telemann's Double Concerto for recorder and flute. Photos: Robin Bigwood
Sounds Historical - The Bird Fancyer's Delight
Recently formed ensemble Sounds Historical launched their tour of 'The Bird Fancyer's Delight' with performances in Deddington, Burmington and Wootton. Residents of the Featherton House care home attended the first concert, commenting: "What an incredible afternoon we experienced, the residents are still talking about it and had a great time."
There will be many opportunities to catch this birdsong-inspired programme, featuring over 30 different instruments. Click here for details.
Brecon Baroque - Goldberg Variations Reimagined
Our multi-talented Patron Rachel Podger and her ensemble Brecon Baroque released a new recording of the 'Goldberg Variations Reminagined' - an exhilarating new arrangement of Bach's original by Chad Kelly. The album has already received a double 5-star review from BBC Music Magazine and is available on Channel Classics / Outhere.
Fiona Maddocks commented: "Podger is a supreme baroque player, and this is a bold and different way to think about Bach’s unfathomable genius."
Dunedin Consort - Mozart Mass in C minor / C.P.E. Bach 'Heilig ist Gott'
Dunedin Consort released their new album featuring Mozart Mass in C minor, complemented by the motet 'Heilig ist Gott' by C.P.E. Bach. Following their Gramophone Award-winning recording of Mozart's Requiem, the Scottish period ensemble return to Mozart for the Mass composed to celebrate his marriage to Constanze. Left unfinished upon the composer's sudden death, this edition of the work is based on new historical research. Purchase or listen to the album on Linn.
Gramophone magazine commented: "It’s a delicious rarity, and it’s a fantastic performance."