Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, eminent Spanish conductor, was born to a Spanish mother and a German father.
He was educated at the Music Academy of Bilbao and the Munich Conservatory, and completed his studies at the University of Madrid. His first post as conductor was with the Municipal Orchestra of Bilbao. In 1962, Frühbeck de Burgos began a lifelong association with the National Orchestra of Spain, and was its chief conductor from that time until 1978. His international reputation began with the success of his first appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He served as music director for the Montreal Symphony (1974-1976), the Dusseldorf Symphoniker (1966-1971), and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin (1992-1997). Frühbeck de Burgos was also named chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony and held guest conductorships with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Japan.
Frühbeck de Burgos never recorded in the work of Mahler, but his broadcasts of Mahler's symphonies were highly respected, and in 1996 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the International Gustav Mahler Society in Vienna. From the late 1990s, he toured the world with the National Orchestra of Spain as its conductor emeritus, and had also been principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra until he announced his full retirement due to health reasons in June 2014, passing away shortly thereafter.