Spanish-born JESÚS LÓPEZ-COBOS began his 14th season as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in September 1999. Under his leadership, the orchestra has earned international acclaim for its tour performances and its growing catalogue of recordings. As General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1981 to 1990, he became one of Europe’s leading operatic conductors and also appeared regularly with the most prestigious European orchestras. Since 1991, he has also been Music Director of the famed Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland.
López-Cobos’ illustrious career has taken him to centers of music around the world. He regularly conducts such ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. After his first concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1978, he toured extensively with that orchestra and held the post of Principal Guest Conductor from 1981 to 1986.
With his career almost equally balanced between operatic and orchestral engagements, he has conducted at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and the Metropolitan Opera. His years at the Berlin Opera included a major Ring cycle, performed at the Berlin Festival, in Japan (where it was that country’s first complete Ring), and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The conductor’s distinguished recording career includes releases of both operatic and orchestral repertoire for Philips, London/Decca, Angel/EMI, and RCA Victor. For Telarc he has made numerous recordings with the Cincinnati Symphony, beginning with a 1987 release of Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat that was named a Record of the Year by Stereo Review.
Jesús López-Cobos graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Madrid. Although he had received no formal musical training, he began to conduct the university choir. His talent was immediately evident and led to studies in conducting with Franco Ferrara in Italy and, by 1966, with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. Three years later he won First Prize in the Besançon Competition and made his debut as a professional conductor in opera at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. His American operatic debut came in 1972 at the San Francisco Opera. He made his North American orchestral debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1978 and has since appeared in this country with the principal orchestras of New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
López-Cobos has received the Cross of Merit, First Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany for his outstanding contributions to German culture. He was also honored by his country for his artistic achievements as the first recipient of the Prince of the Asturias Award, which was presented to him by the Spanish government and the Royal House in 1981.