The OAE is much more than one of the world's pre-eminent period instrument ensembles. It works regularly with conductors who specialise in both early music and the modern repertoire, and has explored the work of composers from Bach to Mahler, Handel to Borodin.
Three decades ago, a group of inquisitive London musicians took a long hard look at that curious institution we call the Orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook. Put a single conductor in charge? No way. Specialise in repertoire of a particular era? Too restricting. Perfect a work and then move on? Too lazy. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was born.