Early music funder Continuo Foundation has announced the recipients of its fourth funding round. The Foundation has awarded grants totalling £100,000 to 24 UK-based period instrument ensembles.

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The successful projects were selected from 55 applications. Continuo is supporting 14 new groups, which means that a total of 65 period-instrument ensembles have now received financial help from the organisation. Founded in September 2020, Continuo has now funded the UK early music sector to the tune of £460,000.

Between them, the 24 grantee ensembles have a busy six months ahead of them, with some 67 performances and recordings in the diary. Grantees have been drawn from 45 locations across the UK, which means that more than 100 communities now benefit from performances supported by Continuo.

This latest round of grantees includes the Cedar Consort, who will tour a Telemann programme featuring recorder soloist Tabea Debus; Figure Ensemble, who will juxtapose Carpentier’s Messe pour les trépassées with the Fauré Requiem; and The Vauxhall Band, who will bring the atmosphere of 18th century Pleasure Gardens and theatre to life in a dramatised concert.

Another ensemble new to Continuo’s grants, Solomon’s Knot, is soon to tour a large-scale project marking the 300th anniversary of German composer and kantor Johann Kuhnau. The group’s artistic director, bass-baritone Jonathan Sells comments: 'It’s not just the money – it is so valuable to be part of the Continuo Foundation community. Continuo is a great ambassador for the whole early music sector, approaching support holistically, giving musicians tools to be more successful and providing a voice for the sector in the UK.'

'There is so much creativity out there waiting to be unleashed,' says Rachel Podger, violinist and patron of Continuo Foundation. 'With increasing living costs and downward pressure on artists’ fees due to the slow return of audiences, the precarious livelihoods of freelance musicians remain under threat.'

Continuo is already working to raise the funds needed to launch the next grant round in January 2023 and has begun to create a much-needed digital hub for the UK early music scene. With the hub, Continuo aims to leverage technology to benefit musicians and the public alike, by helping ensembles bring more live music to more people in more places. This digital hub will shine a light on the UK’s outstanding period-instrument ensembles and musicians, among the best in the world.

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The 24 recipients of Continuo’s fourth round of project grants are:

Baroque In The North,

Brook Street Band

The Cedar Consort

Ceruleo

Chelys Consort of Viols

Ex Cathedra

Feinstein Ensemble

Figure Ensemble

Fiori Musicali

Fretwork (pictured top)

Galliarda

Gonzaga Band

Laudonia

Linarol Consort of Viols

Lux Musicae London

Manchester Baroque

The Mozartists

Musical & Amicable Society

Sackbut Frenzy

Solomon’s Knot

Spiritato

The TFG

The Vauxhall Band

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Yorkshire Baroque Soloists

Authors

Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.