LONDON (AP) — Conductor Christopher Hogwood, who pioneered the performance of 18th-Century composers like Bach and Handel on historically authentic instruments, has died. He was 73.

His website said he died Wednesday at home in Cambridge following an illness lasting several months.

In 1973, Hogwood founded the Academy of Ancient Music, an ensemble that played on period instruments and in period style as discerned from historical research. The result was a lighter, clearer sound now considered to better represent what the composers intended.

Hogwood made more than 200 albums with the academy, including a 1980 performance of George Frideric Handel's much-loved oratorio "Messiah" that BBC Music Magazine ranked as one of the top 50 recordings of all time. He also had served as artistic director of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston.