Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
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Frühbeck came from a family of German ancestry. His father had been wounded in World War I, and during his employment after the war for the Spanish section of a German company, decided to settle in Spain in order to reduce the need to travel. He sent for his fiancée in Germany, and the couple reunited in Spain. His mother introduced him to the violin, and he had become concertmaster of the local orchestra by age 14. As a youth, he continued violin studies, along with piano, and composition, at the conservatories of Bilbao and Madrid. He first took up conducting while on military service in the Spanish Army. He graduated summa cum laude from the Hochschule für Musik in Munich in conducting and won the Richard Strauss Prize.
Frühbeck was principal conductor of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra from 1958 to 1962. During this time, the orchestra's manager persuaded Frühbeck to use a name that would more clearly indicate his Spanish identity. He subsequently took the professional surname Frühbeck de Burgos as his artist name, to include the name of his birth city. He served as principal conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra from 1962 to 1978.
Frühbeck de Burgos served as music director of the Rundfunkorchester Berlin, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, artistic director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony. He also was principal guest conductor for various orchestras in Europe, Japan, and the United States, including the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC from 1980 to 1988. He made his American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in February 1969. From 1980–1983, he was principal conductor of Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo, of which he was later named honorary conductor.
From 2001 to 2007, Frühbeck de Burgos was principal conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra. He was music director of the Dresden Philharmonic from 2004 to 2011. In January 2011, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Frühbeck de Burgos as the Creative Director of its Masterworks Series of concerts, starting with the 2011-12 season. He held the post for 2 seasons, from 2011 to 2013.
In February 2011, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Frühbeck de Burgos as its next principal conductor, as of the 2012-2013 season, with an initial contract of 3 years through 2015. However, on 4 June 2014, he resigned as chief conductor of the orchestra, with immediate effect. In parallel, Frühbeck de Burgos announced his retirement from conducting and that he had cancer. His final concert as a conductor had been in Washington, DC on 14 March 2014, with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Frühbeck de Burgos recorded on a number of labels, where his recordings include Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah (oratorio), the Mozart Requiem, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and Georges Bizet's Carmen. He was known as well for his recording of the complete works of Manuel de Falla and a series of complete zarzuela recordings. Frühbeck orchestrated a suite from Isaac Albéniz's Suite española and conducted the New Philharmonia Orchestra in a commercial recording of this arrangement. His work in contemporary music has included conducting the world premiere production of Gian Carlo Menotti's opera Goya. He was a member of the Academy of Fine Arts and History Institución Fernán González. His honours include the 2011 "Conductor of the Year" award from Musical America.
Frühbeck de Burgos died on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in Pamplona, Spain. His wife, María del Carmen Martínez de Frühbeck, whom he married in 1959, survives him, as do their two children, Rafael Frühbeck Martinez and Gema Frühbeck Martínez.
- Amón, Rubén (11 June 2014). "Muere Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, patriarca de todos los directores de orquesta de España". El Mundo. Retrieved 11 June 2014. (Spanish)
- "Mor el director d'orquestra Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos als 80 anys". El Periodico. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014. (Catalan)
- "Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos - obituary". Telegraph. 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
- Adam Bernstein (2014-06-11). "Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor known for his subtle interpretations, dies at 80". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
- "La Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao lamenta la muerte de Frühbeck de Burgos". El Correo. 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
- Anne Midgette (5 June 2014). "After faltering, conductor steps down". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos to Lead His 150th Performance of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia" (Press release). Philadelphia Orchestra. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "CSO Announces 2011-2012 Season", Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (30 January 2011).
- Janelle Gelfand (2014-06-17). "In memoriam: Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, 80". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
- "The Danish National SO goes for experience". Gramophone. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Nicolai Michelsen (6 June 2014). "DR Symfoniorkestret mister chefdirigenten". Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- Mellor, Andrew (4 June 2014). "Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos resigns from Danish National Symphony Orchestra". Gramophone. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- Philip Kennicott (14 March 2014). "Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos finishes concert despite apparent health issue". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- Donal Henehan (17 November 1986). "Menotti's 'Goya' in Washington Premiere". New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Margalit Fox (2014-06-12). "Rafael Frühbeck, 80, Dies; Conductor Made the World a Podium". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
- Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at the Internet Movie Database
- Columbia Artists Management biography of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
- El Asere.com page on Frühbeck de Burgos
- Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at AllMusic
- Danse Espagnole (Video clip) on YouTube from La vida breve of Manuel de Falla, performed by dancer Nuria Pomares and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducting, in Tel Aviv, 6 June 2009
- Institución Fernán González, "Miembros de la Institución Fernán González"
- Profile, zarzuela.net (Spanish)
- Norman Lebrecht, "Sad news: Spain's greatest maestro has died" Slipped Disc blog, 11 June 2014
|Principal Conductor, RAI National Symphony Orchestra
|Principal Conductor, Danish National Symphony Orchestra