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Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (born Rafael Frühbeck; 15 September 1933, Burgos, Spain – 11 June 2014, Pamplona, Spain) was a Spanish conductor and composer.

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 then 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.

Outside of Spain, Frühbeck de Burgos served as Generalmusikdirektor of the (1966-1971), 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 to 1983, he was principal conductor of the 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 two seasons, from 2011 to 2013.

In February 2011, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Frühbeck de Burgos as its principal conductor, as of the 2012–2013 season, with an initial contract of three 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 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.

He was buried in his home town of Burgos.

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1966 Carmina Burana Carl Orff; New Philharmonia Orchestra, New Philharmonia Chorus, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 5
1969 Weber: Clarinet Concerto No. 1 / Weber: Concertino / Rossini: Theme and Variations Weber, Rossini; Gervase de Peyer, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 1
1998 Suite española / Suite Iberia / Cantos de España Isaac Albéniz; Orquesta Nacional de España, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 1
2001 La vida breve / El amor brujo / El sombrero de tres picos Falla; Victoria de los Ángeles, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Carlo Maria Giulini, Orquesta Nacional de España, Philharmonia Orchestra 1
2005 Elgar: Cello Concerto / Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, Fantasia on Greensleeves Sir Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams; Felix Schmidt, London Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 1
2005 La Mer / Nocturnes / Prélude à l'après-midi d'un Faune Claude Debussy; London Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 1
Albéniz: Suite española / Falla: El amor brujo Albéniz, Falla; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2004 Concertos from Spain Albéniz, Turina, Montsalvatge, Surinach; Alicia de Larrocha, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 1
2005 Bizet: Symphony in C Jeux d'Enfants L'Arlésienne Suites 1 & 2 Georges Bizet; WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Dirk Joeres, London Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Barry Wordsworth 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1984 Falla: Nights in the gardens of Spain Manuel de Falla, Albéniz, Turina; Alicia de Larrocha, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos 1

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