Born in Burgos, Spain, in 1933, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos studied violin, piano, music theory and composition at the conservatories in Bilbao and Madrid, and conducting at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik, where he graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the Richard Strauss Prize. He currently is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dresden Philharmonic.
He has served as general music director of the Rundfunkorchester (Radio Orchestra) Berlin, principal guest conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, and music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Turin, Bilbao Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Spain, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, and the Montreal Symphony. For many seasons, he was also principal guest conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo.
Each season Maestro Frühbeck returns to North America as guest conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Music Festival. In 2009-10 he also conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Toronto Symphony.
North American engagements in the 2008-09 season also included the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. In the spring of 2008, Maestro Fruhbeck led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on a six-city tour across Spain and toured the United States with the Dresden Philharmonic.
He is a regular guest conductor with most of the major European ensembles, including the London Philharmonia, the Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestras, the German Radio Orchestras, and the Vienna Symphony. He has also conducted the Israel Philharmonic and the major Japanese orchestras.
Maestro Frühbeck has made extensive tours with such ensembles as the Philharmonia of London, the London Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Madrid, and the Swedish Radio Orchestra. He toured North America with the Vienna Symphony in three different seasons and he has led the Spanish National Orchestra on two tours of the United States.
Since 1975 he has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. The numerous honours and distinctions he has been awarded include the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Bundesverdienstkreutz of the Republic of Austria and Germany, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, Spain’s most important musical award, conferred in 1997 by the Queen of Spain. In 1998 Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos received the appointment of "Emeritus Conductor" by the Spanish National Orchestra. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra in Spain.
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos has recorded extensively for EMI, Decca, Deutsche Gramophone, Spanish Columbia, and Orfeo. Several of his recordings are considered to be classics, including his interpretations of Mendelssohn’s Elijah and St. Paul, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bizet’s Carmen, and the complete works of Manual de Falla.