The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Famed Composer Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Announces His Retirement

Famed composer Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos announced his retirement due to his recent cancer diagnosis. Frühbeck, 80, released a statement saying, “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."

Born in Spain in 1933, Frühbeck studied violin, piano, music theory and composition at the conservatories of Bilbao and Madrid. He was named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, in addition to numerous awards and distinctions such as the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, and Spain’s most important musical honor, the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, which was conferred upon him by the Queen of Spain

Frühbeck conducted the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Music Festival during the Choir’s 2003 tour. Of the performance Frühbeck remarked, “I have heard the history of this chorus, so it was not a surprise that it was good. I would not have expected anything else.” Under the direction of Frühbeck, the Choir performed Brahms' A German Requiem. When asked about directing the Choir he added, “Glorious! Absolutely glorious! You don’t need any other word to describe it.”

The Choir is grateful for the opportunity it had to perform with such a distinguished conductor and wishes the Maestro the blessings of the Lord as he cares for his health and his family.

Photos by Steve Sherman, Columbia Artists Management Inc.