The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra began in 1981 and has been offering a variety of musical performances to the community ever since. The orchestra performs classical, baroque and early romantic pieces and has been directed by Nicholas McGegan since 1986. The mission of the Philharmonia is to "present great music that enriches lives, inspires passion for period-instrument performance, connects audiences to history, preserves tradition, and celebrates creative genius." This is done by using instruments and performance practices from various periods in classical music history, ranging from the baroque to the early-romantic times. Audiences are invited to enjoy these performances with friends and family, on tours, during community outreach and through musical recordings. The Bay Area benefits from the goals of the Philharmonia through community performances and a variety of educational events. Discounts are offered to groups of five or more. The orchestral performances are a great idea for field trips, as well as for groups of music students who want to learn more about period music. Those looking for a sophisticated night on the town or a chance to celebrate a special event with friends might enjoy an orchestral performance following a dinner out in downtown San Francisco. Those planning a group event or special outing should contact the offices of the Philharmonia to schedule their outing beforehand.