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WHY PERIOD MUSICIANS?
The UK's tradition of excellence in period music and its virtuosic musicians need to be supported
The UK has been at the forefront of the historical performance movement since the mid-20th century. The sector is comprised of over 100 established and emerging professional ensembles made up of hundreds of freelance musicians, most often playing with several groups.
The careers of freelance musicians in the UK are precarious - artists are only paid for performing and have little to no protection in case of cancellations or illness.
The musicians in this sector make a unique contribution to the UK's classical music landscape. These artists’ virtuosity, scholarship and exploration of reconstructed and restored instruments have revolutionised concert life and brought audiences exciting new sound worlds and interpretations of music. In addition to expanding the repertoire by discovering little known composers and works from the last 800 years, these musicians have creatively reimagined and refreshed the way we hear Western classical music. These artists have regularly commissioned contemporary composers to write for their instruments, creating new links between present and past.
ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC © Marco Borggreve
A sector-wide initiative is the most effective way to help early music flourish in the UK
All UK musicians playing period instruments are freelancers. Despite the gradual fading of the worst effects of the pandemic, musicians continue to face challenges in achieving financial sustainability. A recent Musicians' Census (September 2023) found that 50% of musicians responding earn less than £14,000 per annum. In addition, 44% cited the lack of a sustainable income as a barrier to a long-term career in music.
Nurturing these musicians, some of the best ambassadors of classical music in communities across the UK, benefits us all. Investing £100,000 every six months (through competitive grant rounds) over the last 3 years has created a sustained flourishing of creative chamber music performances benefiting 100,000 audiences.
AN INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTION
newly discovered masterpieces, found in archives and ‘translated’ into modern notation
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