IN THIS UPDATE:
2. CELEBRATING THREE YEARS
3. CONTINUO CONNECT
3. PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
GRANTS IMPACT - FEEDBACK AND FIGURES
In September our grants supported 28 concerts in 22 locations, including two weekends of musical performances and workshops by Queen Victoria's Consort in County Durham, and by The Rose Consort of Viols in Bolton Castle in Yorkshire. There was also a recording made by His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts and Fretwork, with the Magdalena Consort, creating the third volume in Bill Hunt's 'In Chains of Gold' series exploring the English Pre-Restoration verse anthem. Música d’Outrora - a recently-formed ensemble selected in Grant Round Five - reflected on the impact of their four-concert tour which wrapped up last month in Birmingham: "Your belief in our vision has not only made our tour possible, but has also been the jumpstart in shaping our future endeavours. It has been a valuable learning experience for us as an ensemble, and while we have been visiting various venues and cities, it has given us insight into what works best for us in order to plan better for our future." - Christi Park, violinist We were also delighted to receive feedback from the promoter of a September concert in Somerset by Ensemble Augelletti, for which 600 tickets were requested. The following confirms what we have heard from musicians who have received more bookings following their Continuo grant: "The thing about Continuo's support is the 'guarantee' it offers a promoter about the quality of the performance. And, for those of us running concerts a long way from London, Continuo's funding acts, in effect, to level the playing field. London promoters rarely have to face the crippling travel and accommodation expenses that prevent far too many top Baroque musicians performing live in Somerset and the West Country." - Music on the Quantocks Continuo Foundation's impact since the first round of grants in 2021:
£650,000 awarded to 85 different ensembles 916 individual freelance musician beneficiaries 33,000 live audience members 62,000 online audience members 12 CD recordings released so far
CELEBRATING THREE YEARS
As we celebrate Continuo's three-year anniversary, we look forward to seeing the twenty-five new grantee projects funded by our sixth grant round coming to fruition across the country. We have also been reflecting on the increasing need for funding for outstanding creative projects, and for nurturing emerging artists and ensembles within the UK early music community.
Continuo's two strands of activity - making project grants and growing the Continuo Connect digital hub - will be vital to maintaining the flourishing of activity and the virtuous circle of growth set in motion by our grants and pro-active championing of the sector and its musicians.
Over the next few months, our key focus will be on securing the funding needed to enable Continuo to continue supporting the sector over the next three years, on a sustainable basis. Please contact Tina Vadaneaux if you would like to learn more about Continuo's work and plans for the future.
Continuo was delighted to welcome Tim Benjamin as our Chief Technology Officer, with lead responsibility for Continuo Connect. Tim is a technology entrepreneur and composer of classical music and opera. He has worked in successful start-ups and large companies, including Accenture and WPP. Based in Yorkshire, he is a graduate of Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester University, and holds a DPhil in Music from Oxford University. Get in touch with Tim.
with Lynda Sayce
Lynda Sayce plays no less than five different historical instruments: lute, theorbo, viola da gamba, recorder and flute. She plays the lute with La Serenissima, The King’s Consort and Ex Cathedra, and is a founding member of recently-formed grantee ensemble Sounds Historical. 'The Bird Fancyer's Delight' will tour to 11 locations across the country. Click here for details.
How has Continuo impacted you personally? In the last couple of years I've been fortunate to take part in projects with La Serenissima and the Brook Street Band, supported by Continuo grants. They were hugely enjoyable and very much appreciated because they happened when we were still emerging from the pandemic, when every paid project felt like a lifeline. The recent award to Sounds Historical is going to make a big impact, as we now have eleven confirmed performances of our Bird Fancyer programme coming up in the next few months! I arranged, edited, and selected much of the material for this programme, which has been a lot of work, a lot of fun, and represents a significant expansion of our comfort zone in terms of repertory and instrumentation. Which doors have opened since receiving our Grant? With the Sounds Historical grant, it’s early days as the first concerts are next month, but it is a massive vote of confidence in the ensemble and especially in our programming ethos. All four of us are multi-instrumentalists, and this ensemble gives us an outlet to perform some very unusual repertory, to tell a story through a programme, and to entertain our audiences with an intriguing array of instruments. On a personal level, I’m relishing the variety - most of my work is on lute and theorbo, but with Sounds Historical I’m also playing several types of recorder, renaissance and baroque flutes, and viols. We’re all doubling something, and as we have control over our music choices, we can select material which plays to our strengths. What do you love about being a musician? Many things! It’s very sociable - my colleagues are also my friends. I get to travel, and sometimes have access to amazing places not normally open to the public. I love research and working with historic sources, and I have many opportunities to apply this rather niche skill. I enjoy teaching, and I think a good concert programme should inform as well as entertain. I really love watching audience members’ reactions when I introduce them to a big theorbo, for example! I also relish the variety of my work - I might be playing solo lute one day and continuo for an opera or orchestral programme the next, mixed with teaching, writing, editing and researching. And my main instrument's repertory covers almost 1,000 years, so there’s always something to learn. Where did you encounter the most receptive audience? Often in small places like village churches where concerts are rare, the buildings are on a scale which suits the intimate sounds of our instruments, and people might come because it is the only event happening in the area. Often they seem much more willing than big city dwellers to try something new. Audiences are trusting us to present something enjoyable, and it is such a joy when they come up after a concert and say how much they liked the music. No.1 listening recommendation? Seek out music you don’t know. This might be a genre, a composer, an instrument…. More about Lynda Sayce is available on her musician profile on Continuo Connect.
SEPTEMBER PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
Queen Victoria's Consort - Brass Roots - A North East Pilgrimage
Queen Victoria's Consort went on a pilgrimage to County Durham, exploring the brass roots of their instruments. The ensemble members performed at characterful venues such as the bandstand at the open-air Beamish Museum and in the Bowes Museum where the Kershaw collection is on display. Local brass band players were invited to join in and try the antique instruments. The group also marched alongside the Stanhope Silver Band to celebrate their 200th anniversary. In all, over 5,000 people had the opportunity to listen to the ensemble playing their historic instruments.
Apollo's Cabinet - Who killed Jean-Marie Leclair?
Straight after picking up the next generation award #RevelaciónSMADE at the Early Music festival in Estrella, Spain, Apollo's Cabinet travelled to Cornwall to present their murder mystery play combining French baroque music with an investigation of the never-solved murder of the 18th century French composer and violinist Jean-Marie Leclair. The tour delighted audiences in Newquay, Truro and Callington, who voted for their prime suspect and determined the outcome of the concert.
Flauguissimo - To the Northern Star
Flauguissimo and soprano Emily Atkinson topped off their CD launch tour with concerts in King's Lynn (Classical Music Rocks) and at the Brighton Early Music Festival. In total, the ensemble gave six concerts, a lecture recital and four outreach concerts. 'To the Northern Star' celebrates the music of Swedish Baroque composer Johan Helmich Roman, and is available on Resonus Classics.
Laudonia - The Grand Tour
Laudonia made its post-pandemic comeback with a tour across Scotland with stops at Melrose, Edinburgh, Dunkeld, Inverness and Aberdeen, and one London concert. Audiences were transported back to the 1690s 'Grand Tour' of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, a significant historical figure & composer. The programme of music he encountered included works for solo harpsichord, the virtuosic violin sonata La Folia by Corelli and the cantata Leo Scotia irritatus by Clerk himself.
Laudonia received wonderful feedback from audiences, including this quote: "We had the most gorgeous evening in Dunkeld Cathedral at a concert by Laudonia. I am the world’s least knowledgable person about classical music, but I heard them on Radio 3 and the music was just SO LOVELY! So when they said they were touring, I really wanted to go."
Click below for an excerpt of 'La Folia' with violinist Bojan Čičić at St Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh.
The City Musick & I Fagiolini - Orazio Benevoli
The City Musick and I Fagiolini teamed up under the direction of Robert Hollingworth to make a groundbreaking recording of Orazio Benevoli's impressive Mass for four choirs: Missa Tu es Petrus. The album aims to rediscover the exceptional music of this largely forgotten 17th century Franco-Italian composer of large-scale sacred choral works. Find out more about this fascinating project in the video below. This much-anticipated album is now available to purchase or stream here.