Spanish-born Jesús López Cobos’s illustrious career has taken him to centres of symphonic and operatic music around the world, where he is renowned for his performances of sensitivity, authority and true musical integrity. A musician of authority and humility, he conducts the world's top orchestras and has held a number of prestigious Music Directorships, including: the Teatro Real in Madrid (2003-2010), Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (1991-2000), Deutsche Oper Berlin (1981-1990), Spanish National Orchestra (1984-1989) and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1986-2001), where he maintains the title of Conductor Emeritus. Under his leadership for 15 seasons, the orchestra earned international acclaim for its extensive catalogue of recordings and significant touring activity in Europe, Asia and the US, including annual sell-out performances at Cargegie Hall.
After his first concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) in 1978, he toured extensively with the orchestra and held the post of Principal Guest Conductor 1981-1986. With his career equally balanced between symphonic and operatic engagements, he has conducted at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. His years at the Deutsche Oper Berlin included a major Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle, performed at the Berlin Festival, Kennedy Center and in Japan (the country’s first complete ‘Ring cycle').
López Cobos has conducted and continues to conduct such European orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic orchestras, and regularly appears at the Salzburg and Verbier festivals. In North America, orchestras include the Cleveland, Philhadelphia, New York Philharmonic, Boston and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras, and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
Recent and forthcoming highlights this season include performaces with the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, NHK Symphony and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia. In opera he conducts productions of Guillaume Tell at Grand Théâtre de Genève, Un Ballo in Maschera at Wiener Staatsoper and Opera di Roma, where he also conducts Carmen at the Baths of Caracalla, and Tristan und Isolde at Tokyo Nikikai Opera.
His 26 critically acclaimed recordings with the CSO for Telarc began with a 1987 release of de Falla Three-Cornered Hat and included thereafter recordings of Bruckner symphonies, Strauss and Wagner, ending with 'Music of Turina and Debussy', nominated for a Grammy Award. Alongside these are distinguished releases of both operatic and symphonic repertoire for Philips, London/Decca, Angel/EMI, RCA Victor and the LPO label.
López Cobos graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Madrid and studied conducting with Franco Ferrara in Italy and Hans Swarowsky in Vienna, winning First Prize in the International Besançon Competition. Among his many awards, López Cobos has received the Cross of Merit First Class (Germany) for outstanding contributions to German culture, Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters (France), and has been honoured in his own country with the Medal of Bellas Artes and as first recipient of the Prince of the Asturias Award. López Cobos holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.
Seen and Heard International, October 2016
López Cobos must be among the greatest conductors of Verdi on today’s scene. His excellence is more along the lines of Abbado, than Muti. It is distinctly gentle-manly: solid in a firm, masculine way, but applied with such gentleness as to be breathtaking.
Tiempo de Música
The experienced Spanish conductor Jesús López Cobos, in one of his last appearances as music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, managed to extract from the pool, profuse and abundant musicality contained in the music of Strauss.