Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century


The Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century is a Dutch orchestra that consists of fifty top musicians, all specialised in eighteenth century and early nineteenth century music. It was founded in 1981 by the conductor and recorder player Frans Brüggen and violinist Lucy van Dael. In its current form, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century consists of nearly sixty musicians from around the world. All play on period instruments or modern reproductions thereof. In terms of its makeup and size, the orchestra approaches the larger orchestras as these existed in London, Paris, and Vienna in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The orchestra specialises in music by composers such as Bach, Rameau, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and their contemporaries.

Since 2011, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century has realised a variety of semi-staged opera productions such as, among others, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, and La clemenza di Tito, as well as Beethoven’s Fidelio. The orchestra tours regularly and has recorded a great many CDs with both Philips Classics and Glossa. Several of the orchestra’s recordings have received international awards. In 2010, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century was awarded the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prijs. In 2018, it received the Klassieke Muziekprijs from the Vereniging van Schouwburg- en Concertgebouwdirecties for its rendition of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with Cappella Amsterdam. Since Frans Brüggen’s passing in August 2014, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century has kept with its tradition of doing five projects each year with various guest conductors, such as Kenneth Montgomery, Ed Spanjaard, and Jonathan Darlington.