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New Charity Raises £100,000 To Bolster Period-instrument Ensembles

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Continuo Foundation will give grants which create work for freelance musicians.

New Charity Raises £100,000 To Bolster Period-instrument Ensembles

In response to widespread concert cancellations since March 2020, former City director and classical music lover Tina Vadaneaux has founded a new charity, Continuo Foundation ("Continuo"). Established in October 2020, Continuo Foundation will give grants which create work for freelance musicians and aims to draw upon innovative thinking and technology to help period-instrument ensembles improve long-term sustainability post-Covid-19.

Since its inception, Continuo has attracted the enthusiastic patronage of Dame Emma Kirkby, Sir Roger Norrington and Rachel Podger and recruited a team of professionals from music, business and media, all contributing their time to the organisation pro bono. Continuo has recently reached the first of many fundraising milestones, having raised £100,000 in just three months, and is now open for grant applications from period-instrument ensembles across the UK.

Vadaneaux comments: "This remarkable response reflects the widespread recognition of the urgent need to retain these musicians whose virtuosity and scholarship underpin the sector, and to provide hope of a career in music for the next generation of artists."

BBC Radio 3 presenter and Continuo Trustee Hannah French adds: "Without urgent action, the UK's established tradition of excellence in historical performance, the work of well over 50 years, could be permanently damaged. This would have a devastating impact on the musicians, all freelancers, who depend upon these groups."

Continuo's first round of grants will mobilise projects for freelance musicians who rely upon performances to maintain their skills and morale. Vitally, the grants also aim to restore confidence after nearly a year of cancelled engagements for most ensembles, and to encourage groups to progress with projects despite uncertainty around audience restrictions and subsequent lost ticket revenues.

Grant-making will be guided by an expert Advisory Panel including:

  • David Hill, Conductor and Director of The Bach Choir
  • Dr Berta Joncus, Member of Council, Handel Institute
  • Lindsay Kemp, Artistic Director of Baroque at the Edge Festival
  • Joseph McHardy, Director of Music, HM Chapel Royal, St James's Palace

Future grant rounds will also be geared towards engaging new and more diverse audiences. Vadaneaux explains: "The aim of Continuo is to create a virtuous circle - enabling nationwide touring of programmes to new venues and areas with a lack of provision in this genre of music. This in turn will also improve ensembles' financial sustainability as they rebuild from the devastating impact of the pandemic."

Trustee Nick Morrison, who has managed a variety of ensembles for 25 years, adds: "Continuo has a long-term commitment to sustaining the careers of period musicians, growing audiences and expanding access to their concerts by providing a centralised resource connecting performers, audiences and venues."

Grants from Continuo Foundation are open to professional UK-based period-instrument ensembles. Full details on how to apply are available on the Continuo website: www.continuofoundation.co.uk/grants


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