Spain’s foremost conductor lays down his baton

In the week that King Juan Carlos announced his abdication, the country’s senior conductor has declared his retirement.

Rafael FrĂĽhbeck de Burgos, 80 and still chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, has confirmed that his recent collapse in Washington and cancellations elsewhere were the consequence of cancer treatment. His dignified statement reads:

‘After meeting with my doctors, I have come to the following conclusion: I have to recognize publicly that I have cancer and that in this state of health and with deep sorrow I am not able to conduct at my standards and the moment to quit professional matters has come.’


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  • A very sad day for the music world.A really great conductor and musician.Hope he will recover soon,and,well,return to the stage again…

  • I’m so glad I finally got to see him in action with the LA Philharmonic in Disney Hall seven years ago. He’s been a special favorite of mine and he leaves behind a wonderful legacy of recordings and memorable performances in so many cities around the world. He will be missed.

  • Though not a noted Mahlerian I vividly recall his Mahler 8 at the Royal Albert Hall in 1971. A pretty spectacular evening.

  • I met him at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin years ago. I was there with the New London Consort to perform a 40 minute selection of some of the original Carmina Burana songs, with RFdeB conducting the Oper & Ballet in a staged performance of the Carl Orff Carmina Burana in the second half of the evening.
    He was a charming, funny, generous man to meet for the first time, and he was extremely pleased when I told him that I held (and loved) his recording of the Carl Orff on EMI (with an unbeatable performance from Lucia Popp, and a last minute jump in from the immensely underrated John Noble)above all others. For me it is musically and artistically the benchmark recording.
    I will always remember those ten minutes chatting backstage at the Deutsche Oper. It was a real honour to meet him, one of myconducting heroes. 🙂

  • Sad news indeed.

    Over the past number of years RFdeB spent much time at Tanglewood not only with the BSO as a regular guest conductor, but also as a teacher at the Tanglewood summer school.

    I was was privileged to sit in on a conducting master class he held with several students there taking them through the paces of the Beethoven seventh, as I recall. Very enlightening experience for me.

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