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Jesús López-Cobos - CSO Music Director Emeritus  

Jesús López-Cobos is Music Director Emeritus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. As Music Director of the CSO from September 1986 until September 2001, Maestro López-Cobos was the second longest tenured Music Director in the history of the orchestra and the third longest tenured of all music directors currently at major U.S. orchestras. During his 15-year tenure as Music Director, Maestro López-Cobos led the CSO in 564 concerts, more than any previous music director, and made 26 recordings with the CSO, more than any previous music director.

Mr. López-Cobos and the CSO’s recordings on the Telarc label met with critical and listener acclaim, including his 26th and final recording as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Music of Turina and Debussy, which was released in 2001 and nominated for a Grammy Award as “Best Orchestral Performance.” A 1998 release of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 was nominated for a Grammy Award as “Best Engineered Classical Album.”


A busy conductor here and abroad, Maestro López-Cobos is Music Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid, a post he took up in September 2003. Recent guest engagements for López-Cobos included Lucia di Lammermoor and Rigoletto at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and La traviata at Opéra Bastille in Paris. Currently he is conducting the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Manon with Rénee Fleming in the title role.

In his distinguished career, Maestro López-Cobos has led the major orchestras of New York, Cleveland, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Oslo, Gothenberg and Israel, and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

A native of Spain, Maestro López-Cobos studied at the University of Granada and Madrid, where he earned a doctorate in philosophy. He had received no formal musical training when he began conducting the university choir, but his talent was obvious, and he began studying conducting with Franco Ferrara in Italy and later with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. In North America he made his operatic debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1972 and his orchestral debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1978.

Maestro López-Cobos was awarded the Medalla de Oro de las Bellas Artes (“Gold Medal of the Fine Arts”) by Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia in 2001 and the first Prince of the Asturias Award in 1981, given by the Spanish government and the Royal House for outstanding contributions to the arts. In France, the Ministry of Culture named Maestro López-Cobos an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2001. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal First Class in 1989 from the German government for contributions to musical culture; and an Honorary Doctorate in 1996 from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

October 2005

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