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The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (the name may be translated "Academy of Ancient Music" or, to avoid confusion with the British group of that name, "Academy of Early Music") is one of the leading period instrument ensembles, and probably the first from the former Soviet bloc. Its founders were young players in various East Berlin orchestras. In 1982, they began acquiring and practicing on historic instruments (either actual instruments built during the Baroque and Classical eras, or modern replicas of such instruments), and were ready for their first concert in the Schauspielhaus in 1984. Formally, the group was a cooperative, and therefore able to conduct a concert series independent of state music organizations. They were an instant success locally, where the "original instrument sound," when as well-played as in the Akademie's case, was a novelty. They played at the Tage Alter Music (Early Music Days) festivals in Herne and Regensburg, the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Festival in Duisberg, and the Handel Festival in Hallé. Soon they gained European renown and were invited to perform in various European venues, including Utrecht (in the Holland Festival) and the Bachtage in Aachen. This led to a variety of broadcast performances and to recordings on a number of labels, as well as to collaborations with such leading early music musicians as Monica Huggett, Ton Koopman, René Jacobs, Renhard Goebel, Andreas Staier, and Marion Vergruggen. The reunification of Germany under the Federal German Republic allowed wider travel and an exclusive recording contract with the French company Harmonia Mundi; their first release on that label was Bach's secular cantata Pheobus and Pan. They have also recorded the Brandenburg Concertos and the Orchestral Suites, a set of Bach secular oratorios, Baroque operatic scenes by Cavalli, Charpentier, Monteverdi, Lully, Rameau, Telemann, Purcell, Handel, and Graun; and Keiser's Croesus. The scope of their repertory has expanded to include later works, such as Rossini's Stabat Mater.