Frans Brüggen is considered amongst the foremost experts in the performance of eighteenth and early nineteenth century music. He was born in Amsterdam and studied musicology at the university there. At 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and later held the position of Erasmus Professor at Harvard University. Yet, as Luciano Berio wrote, he is ‘a musician who is not an archaeologist but a great artist’.
In 1981 he founded the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, which consists of some sixty members from nineteen countries. Three times a year the orchestra assembles to go on tour. The musicians, who are all specialists in eighteenth and early nineteenth century music, play on period instruments or on contemporary copies. The wide-ranging repertoire this orchestra has recorded for Philips Classics includes works by Purcell, Bach, Rameau, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn. Many of their recordings have received international awards.
Frans Brüggen's conducting activities in recent seasons have included collaborations with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Northern Sinfonia, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Munich Philharmonic, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), New Japan Philharmonic, Chicago Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.
In recognition of the services to music, Frans Brüggen was awarded the Gold Medal for Arts & Sciences in the private order of the House of Orange by the Dutch Royal House in September 2010.