The grants are inteded to support 23 projects for ensembles across the UK, many of whom have not played together since March 2020
The new charity Continuo Foundation (‘Continuo’) has awarded £150,000 in its first round of grants to UK period-instrument ensembles. The grants are intended to support 23 projects creating work for over 300 freelance musicians.
Established in October 2020, Continuo was set up by former City director and classical music lover Tina Vadaneaux to support the community of period-instrument ensembles across the UK, many of whom haven’t played together since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response to Continuo’s January announcement of the launch of a £100,000 first round of grants, applications were submitted by 65 period-instrument ensembles, with grant requests totalling £475,000. After receiving another £50,000 from donors in February, Continuo’s Trustees decided to increase this grant round to £150,000.
Vadaneaux adds: ‘The number of very worthwhile projects exceeded our available resources by a long way. Subject to raising sufficient funds, we will launch a second grant round in the summer for projects from autumn 2021. We are also seeking additional major donors to provide the core funding required to roll out our longer-term plans to bring innovation and technology to grow the sector and make period chamber music accessible across the UK.’
Supported projects are scheduled to take place from April to September 2021 in venues across the country, and will include concerts with live and digital audiences and CD recordings.
The 23 projects are from ensembles small and large, both long-established and more recently formed, and span repertoire from the medieval dance music of Joglaresa to the world premiere of Errolyn Wallen’s new opera ‘Dido’s Ghost’ for the Dunedin Consort. Highlights over the next few months include: The English Concert recording Handel’s opera ‘Tamerlano’ at Sage Gateshead; Fretwork recording music by Leonora Duarte, the only 17th century woman composer for viol consort; and the Consone Quartet touring a series of chamber concerts to old barns around the UK.
Continuo Trustee Hannah French comments: ‘The breadth and diversity of work being planned for the months ahead is truly inspiring. We’re thrilled to be able to support such a variety of projects showcasing the talent of freelance period-instrumentalists and highlighting the vital role they play in British cultural life.’