Frans Brüggen founded the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, 50 members from 23 countries, in 1981.
Three, four or sometimes even more times a year the Orchestra gathers for an international tour. The musicians, all specialists in eighteenth and early nineteenth century music, play on period instruments or on contemporary copies. It is their intention to try to achieve the most authentic as possible performances of the masterpieces of the late baroque and classical era.
Frans Brüggen's wide ranging repertoire with his Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century includes works by Purcell, Bach, Rameau, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn.
In its structure and size, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century resembles the luxurious "Classical" orchestras of the period as we know them from London, Paris and Vienna.
At the time of its foundation the Orchestra was supported by friends throughout the world and the Prince Bernhard Foundation. From 1983 to 1988 the orchestra was sponsored by IBM Europe. From 1989 till 1997 Deloitte and the VSB Fonds took over the sponsorship. Subsidies from the Dutch Government guaranteed the Orchestra's continuation from 1985 till now.