British conductor Christian Curnyn has been best-known as the director of the Early Opera Company, which he founded, and which, true to its name, specializes in Baroque and early Classical operatic repertory. He has also been noted as a daring stage director who introduced sexual and other unconventional themes into operatic productions. A 2012 production of Rameau's Platée in Stuttgart, Germany, featured Curnyn himself on-stage, having sex acts performed on him as the curtain rose, while an assistant conducted the orchestra. Curnyn is a native of Glasgow. His interest in avant-garde theater preceded his forays into early music, occurring for the first time when he visited Scotland's Edinburgh Festival as a teen and saw productions directed by experimental German choreographer Pina Bausch and others. Curnyn attended the University of York, majoring in music, and his specialization in early music began with graduate studies in harpsichord at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Finding few British organizations that devoted themselves to early dramatic music, Curnyn founded the Early Opera Company in 1994. In addition to theatrical operatic productions, the group has frequently appeared at the likes of Wigmore Hall the BBC Proms, and St John’s Smith Square in London, and has performed at the London Festival of Baroque Music, Cheltenham Festival, Spitalfields Festival, York Early Music Festival, London Festival of Baroque Music, and the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Its productions attracted attention from other British opera companies including Opera North, the Scottish Opera, the Grange Park Opera, and especially the English National Opera, which shares his experimentalist bent. He has most often devised and led new productions of Handel's operas but has also ranged widely across the music of the 17th and 18th centuries and some productions by other experimental directors including After Dido, the contemporary realization of Purcell's opera by director Katie Mitchell.