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Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos was born in Burgos in 1933. He studied violin, piano, theory and composition at the conservatories of Bilbao and Madrid, followed by conducting classes at the Munich Hochschule für Musik, graduating summa cum laude. From 1958 to 1962 he was conductor of the Bilbao Orchestra, then, for sixteen consecutive years from 1962 to 1978, of the Madrid National Orchestra, of which, in December 1998, he became emeritus conductor. From 1966 to 1971 he was permanent conductor of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra and of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1974 to 1976. He was chief guest conductor, for ten years, of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, and, from 1980 to 1990, of the Nippon Yomiuri Orchestra in Tokyo, of which he became honorary conductor in 1991. From 1991 to 1996 he was chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, from 1992 to 1997 music director (generalmusik-direktor) of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and from 1994 to 2000, permanent conductor of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. In September 2001 he became chief conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI (Italy) and in the 2004/2005 season he became chief conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. Following his début with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, he conducted all the major American orchestras, he was a regular guest conductor of orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Munich and Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as various German Radio orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the five big London orchestras. He frequently guest conducted in Italy, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, as well as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the major Japanese orchestras. He made over a hundred acclaimed recordings with leading record companies.

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos was the recipient of numerous decorations, including the Grand Cross of Civil Merit and the Encomienda de la Orden de Alfonso X el Sabio (1966), the Larios Foundation CEOE Prize of Musical Performance (1992), an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarre (1994), the gold medal of the City of Vienna (1995), the Jacinto Guerrero Spanish Music Foundation Prize (1996), the gold medal of Merit of the Austrian Republic (1966), and the gold medal of the Gustav Mahler International Society in Vienna (1996). In 1975 he became a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid, and in 2004 received the Spanish Gold Labour of Merit Medal.

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos died on June 11, 2014.

Role: Conductor 
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