He was an orchestral conductor born in Burgos, Spain, who was educated at the Bilbao and Madrid Conservatories, studying piano, theory, composition and violin and later concentrated on conducting at the Munich Hochschule fur Musik.
He was a Principal Conductor of orchestras that include Bilbao Orchestra, Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester, Berlin. As a guest conductor he led orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington.
From 2004 to 2011 he was the Dresden Philharmonic’s music director and he went directly to become the Creative Director of the Masterworks Series of concerts at Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he stayed for two seasons, as well taking on the position of Principal Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra with a tenure until 2015. This tenure was cut short on 4th June 2014 when he resigned his position and announced his conducting retirement and that he was suffering from cancer.
A week later he passed away in Pamplona, Spain, on 11th June 2014 and was taken back to his native Burgos to be buried.
With over 100 recordings to his credit he won many awards including an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra in Spain, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and in 2001 he was honoured with the Grand Cross of Civil Merit from the German Federal Republic.
New Philharmonia Recordings
Suite Espanola ( Isaac Albeniz)
London 417 786 – 2 (CD: Albeniz: Suite Espanola; Falla: El Amor Brujo)
Conductor – Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos (This version has “Cuba” replaced by a piece entitled ” Cordoba”)