Support our musicians during the COVID-19 response

by La Serenissima
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Support our musicians during the COVID-19 response
Support our musicians during the COVID-19 response
Support our musicians during the COVID-19 response
Camilla & Adrian, July 2022
Camilla & Adrian, July 2022

Dear Supporter,

I'm writing to you now to thank you for your contribution to La Serenissima's Artist Relief Fund.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the UK, closing public spaces and live events, we have raised more than £20,000 for the ARF - thanks to the generosity of our friends and followers. Whilst in many ways this figure might seem like a drop in the ocean in the context of our team of musicians and the financial challenges that they all faced during the period of lockdown and subsequent months of phased reopening, the creation of the fund was a significant act of empowerment for the organisation. It enabled us to help those individuals who needed support, particularly those who fell through the cracks of the government support package when it arrived. We continue to steward ARF monies and offer flexible grants to those musicians who need a helping hand, as well as make payments to those affected by the cancellation of concerts. This is a great boost to morale as the cost of living crisis continues to loom large in the UK.

Adrian and I remain hugely appreciative of all those who have shown their support to La Serenissima and its team of talented musicians. Without these guys, we can't make our recordings or create the performances that have won so many of our followers over. It has never been a harder time to make ends meet for professional musicians.

We have made the tough decision to close the ARF now and focus on the mounting challenges which face us as we try to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity. This means that fundraising going forwards will support the organisation's artistic activities which will benefit our musicians through increased opportunities to work. We hope this will be a positive step for everyone involved in our mission.

La Serenissima continues to operate from a remote office in rural Gloucestershire with a pared-down team of 2 running everything from sales, schedules and fixing to fundraising, marketing and fulfilling governance requirements. We are the same team that are researching and editing the music that you hear, performing in the concerts as violinists and dreaming up new strategies and programming plans. It's a tough act these days because promoter budgets are pinched beyond recognition and the number of classical music series and festivals are greatly reduced compared to 5 or 10 years ago. The charity's earned income has consequently dropped dramatically, making it necessary to fundraise to support the majority of the group's activity. 

At this point, I'd love to remind fans that a little support goes a long way with our lean organisation. If you love what we do, now is the time to renew your commitment to La Serenissima! We have created a new GlobalGiving campaign to underpin our project plans and we would encourage you to donate to that if possible. We would also love to hear from anyone wishing to donate directly to La Serenissima as a new Patron - for more information, please email camilla@laserenissima.co.uk It will also be possible to donate to our website using Stripe - two new Support pages will be made live this week. Watch this space!

We know that these are concerning times for many throughout the world. Thank you for your support to La Serenissima's work: with your help, we will continue to enrich lives through sharing our passion for Italian baroque music.

Camilla & Adrian

La Serenissima, July 2022
La Serenissima, July 2022

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Our new album
Our new album

Dear Artist Relief Funders,

Thank you for your ongoing support to La Serenissima's musicians. Times are not easy here and opportunities to perform remain difficult to secure. This is largely because promoter confidence remains low and funding for the Arts is extremely limited in the UK.

Many of you will know that our next concert was due to take place in London on 2nd July. Unfortunately this performance has been postponed because the organisers of a major event in Trafalgar Square decided belatedly to extend their programme into the evening. This would have made it impossible for artists and audience to hear the La Serenissima concert inside St Martin in the Fields; we felt we had no choice but to cancel the date. Thanks to the ARF, we have been able to offer cancellation fees to all affected artists.

 

We continue to look at different ways of creating outlets for our music and of making employment for artists. Since writing to you in March, the group has had a prolonged absence from public-facing events. This is challenging for everyone - not least for Adrian, who didn't work so hard to be a violinist in order to play in a practice room... We have released our first podcast under the series title Lost & Found, exploring the life and legacy of Antonio Vivaldi and there has been a great deal of internal development as we try to find new ways of operating and secure funding for future projects.

Later today, Adrian will talk to the In Tune studio on BBC Radio 3 about the group's long-awaited album Vivaldi's Women. The album features our outstanding ensemble alongside singers Claire Booth, Renata Pokupic and Jess Dandy in a programme of music written for the Ospedale della Pieta. We are excited to be releasing this album on the Signum label in August. Do buy a copy: the instrumental playing is La Serenissima at its absolute best!

With thanks for your support & best wishes from La Serenissima

Camilla

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Dear Artist Relief Funder,

We are writing to you to thank you for your continued support to La Serenissima and its artists.

The year has got off to a positive start. We launched a new series of concerts in partnership with St Martin-in-the-Fields in February with style: the band played music by Brescianello and a string of Vivaldi double concertos with great gusto to a highly receptive audience. The group's founder, director and violinist Adrian Chandler was awarded the honour of 'Cavaliere' of the Star of Italy for services to the promotion of Italian culture by the Italian Ambassador in London; this is a fantastic achievement which has helped to highlight the value of the group's work on the international stage. We also created a set of recording sessions in Cedars Hall, Wells which gave employment to 16 artists and several freelance technicians and will form the basis of the final volume of Brescianello's Opus 1 for release on Signum next year. 

Looking ahead, we continue to strive to keep the group going against a backdrop of promoter uncertainty. Concert bookings are far harder to come by now than ever before and we are having to find new ways to make performances possible and bridge funding gaps. It's worth saying at this point that if you would like to see the group play in your local venue, then please make some noise about it! Promoters are far more attuned to audience desires than artist approaches for future engagements. 

The Artist Relief Fund remains ringfenced for those artists who need support and we predict this need will continue for some time. Alongside this appeal, we have created the Serene Recovery Fund which aims to raise the £100,000 needed to run a number of projects (creating work for our team and getting our music out there) and keep the organisation running. This is the second year that such a fund has been necessary and we are hugely grateful to everyone who has given to this. Please contact camilla@laserenissima.co.uk if you would like to know more.

If you haven't already done so, please visit our website and ensure you are signed up to receive newsletters from us - we do love to keep in touch. We are throwing new energy into our digital marketing too, so do find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to join the conversation. Look out for our first podcast which is nearing completion - created with support from Arts Council England and Continuo Foundation. Finally, catch up on recent music-making via YouTube - there are many clips from the latest recording sessions created by keyboard player Robin Bigwood to come.

As ever, we are hugely grateful to all our supporters.

With our thanks and best wishes

Camilla & Adrian

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Dear Artist Relief Funder,

Here we are, it's November and a good moment for us to take stock and reflect on the state of our working lives at this stage of the UK's recovery. The ARF continues to grow and we have been able to direct funding to a number of artists in need. We continue to be grateful for the support that you and other donors have given.

Since the summer, La Serenissima has delivered a variety of performances across the country, taking part in Longborough Festival Opera's The Return of Ulysses (under musical director Robert Howarth), playing concerts in Beverley, Cheltenham and Chipping Campden festivals and returning to venues in Oxford and Southampton. The group delighted clients of Kirker Holidays in Eastbourne - the first departure in a new partnership with the specialist travel provider. We recently made our debut with Vivaldi's Women at Saffron Hall - a fabulous venue which was filled with appreciative audience. We have also recorded the Vivaldi's Women programme at Cedars Hall, Wells in an extraordinary set of sessions produced remotely by Simon Fox-Gal from his new home in Greece. This project had been severely delayed by rising Covid-19 cases in the UK and travel restrictions which affected several key artists; having started to fundraise for this venture in 2017, it's extraordinary that it's only just 'in the can' now!

We were reminded at those sessions of the very great value of our musicians. Every single one of the instrumentalists booked for that project gave of their absolute best and Adrian came away feeling immensely proud of the group and everyone on board. Post-production work on the album will start soon. You can see some shots from the sessions here, taken by keyboard player Robin Bigwood. 

You may have seen that we have a new release out: Behind Closed Doors / Brescianello Opus 1 Vol. 1 is available on the Signum label. The album has attracted favourable attention from BBC Radio 3 Record Review and Scala Radio and was given a double 5 star review in BBC Music Magazine this month:

The performances by this accomplished ensemble are polished and invigorating. Chandler’s solo violin playing is articulate, warm toned and communicative, and he is supported throughout by his disciplined and responsive players, among whom the continuo group excels…In summary, a rewarding issue.” – BBC Music Magazine

If you haven't listened to the album yet, we hope you will enjoy discovering a composer who deserves to get out a bit more!

Whilst the diary has felt pretty jam-packed over recent weeks with Adrian juggling a hugely demanding performing schedule and a mountain of logistical operations, with limited support from me (I'm just emerging from a period of so-called Maternity Leave) we are conscious that everything that is happening at the moment has merely been postponed - ie. it should have happened last year. In fact we are facing over a year of arrested development. There are only small signs of new ventures on the horizon and we know it will take huge effort to get back to the level of concert performances that we had prior to the pandemic. It is for this reason that we have been glad to keep the ARF alive and it is also for this reason that we aim to step up recording activity where possible in the future.

Words from one recipient of a major gift from the Artist Relief Fund:

The gift from the ARF was a lifeline to me at an incredibly difficult time and I am so grateful to all who enabled it. Apart from the critical financial help it gave me it was also a hugely precious acknowledgement of the value of our work, a ray of hope amidst the devastation which Covid has brought on our profession.

Whilst musicians continue to face uncertainty about future work, there will come a time when we will close the Artist Relief Fund campaign. This is because at present, La Serenissima can best support artists through work creation - ie. planning and delivering recording projects, making digital outreach and driving resources to off-set performances that are under-funded. When we eventually end this campaign, we hope that you will consider supporting the organisation directly so that we can continue to nurture our team of talented musicians. Thank you for your generosity. 

With our gratitude 

Camilla & Adrian 

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Unwinding over a coffee, June recording sessions
Unwinding over a coffee, June recording sessions

Dear Artist Relief Funder,

This is first and foremost a reminder that La Serenissima remains massively grateful to you, our generous crowd, for supporting the Artist Relief Fund. As life begins to reopen, a huge level of uncertainty continues to surround our profession and all who rely on live events for their livelihood. It has been terrific to be able to offer meaningful grants to artists in need, as well as reassurance to all our musicians that the fund continues to grow and will be available in the future to anyone in need of extraordinary support. Thank you for your part in supporting our wonderful team.

At La Serenissima basecamp, Adrian continues to power ahead with his editing work providing endless possibilities for future programming. This work has uncovered fabulous music by Ariosti, Brescianello and Zavateri (amongst others) – all composers that are little-known to audiences. This evening the group played some of this music to a packed (if socially-distanced) Cheltenham Town Hall as part of the Cheltenham Festival. The group was buzzing and there was a wonderful atmosphere as everyone enjoyed the thrill of collective music-making – both onstage and off. We hope these live experiences will continue to go ahead and that opportunities to perform will open up over the coming months and years. 

We were immensely fortunate to receive funding in Round 2 of the Culture Recovery Fund, which funded basic operations during April-June 2021 and contributed to the cost of our June recording patch where work was created for 17 musicians and 3 freelance engineers/producers. During these sessions content was created for a new album (with a football-themed title, watch this space…), our first foray into podcasting and two short films to develop our digital outreach. This project was also funded with support from Continuo Foundation and we are thrilled to be amongst the first recipients of funding from this new trust. You can see some pictures of the sessions, seen through the eyes of one of our multi-talented violinists Agata Daraskaite.

We continue to fundraise through our Serene Recovery Fund to support the organisation in the next phase of this post-Covid world, where live events remain limited and our sector attempts to recover, in the hope of continuing to support and nurture our talented team.

Thank you for your ongoing support. We hope to see you at a live concert one day very soon!

 

Warming up
Warming up
Tuning
Tuning
A happy team at work
A happy team at work
Over the Artistic Director's shoulder
Over the Artistic Director's shoulder

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Organization Information

La Serenissima

Location: Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @laserenissimaUK
Project Leader:
Camilla Scarlett
Woodstock, United Kingdom

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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