Jesús López Cobos (1940–2018)
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Jesús López Cobos at the age of 78.
Spanish-born López Cobos’s illustrious career took him to centres of symphonic and operatic music around the world, where he was renowned as a conductor of sensitivity, elegance and authority, particularly in the many cities where he held long-standing Music Directorships, including the Teatro Real in Madrid (2003-10), Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (1991-2000), Deutsche Oper Berlin (1981-90), Spanish National Orchestra (1984-89) and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1986-2001). Under his leadership for fifteen seasons, the CSO earned international acclaim for its extensive recordings and significant touring activity in Europe, Asia and the US, including annual sell-out performances at Carnegie Hall.
He was regarded as one of the great interpreters of bel canto Italian opera conducting regularly at the Wiener Staatsoper and Grand Théâtre de Genève, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. His years at the Deutsche Oper Berlin included a major Ring Cycle at the Berlin Festival, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and the first ever complete performance in Japan.
López Cobos conducted extensively in Europe including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, and Israel Philharmonic orchestras, and at the Salzburg and Verbier festivals. After his first concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1978, he toured extensively with the orchestra and held the post of Principal Guest Conductor 1981-86. In North America, he conducted the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Boston Symphony orchestras, and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He was also much-loved in Japan including regular performances with the NHK Symphony.
His 26 critically acclaimed Cincinnati recordings for Telarc began with a 1987 release of de Falla The Three-Cornered Hat and included Bruckner, Strauss and Wagner, ending with Music of Turina and Debussy, nominated for a Grammy Award. Alongside these were distinguished releases of operatic and symphonic repertoire for Philips, London/Decca, Angel/EMI, RCA Victor and the LPO label. Among his most recent releases was Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor with Diana Damrau and Joseph Calleja, and he conducted and recorded with many of the world’s top singers including Luciano Pavarotti, Bryn Terfel, Jonas Kaufmann, Renée Fleming and Plácido Domingo.
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.
Among his many awards, López Cobos received the Cross of Merit, First Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany for his outstanding contributions to German culture, and the government of France inducted him as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati and has been honoured by his own country for his artistic achievements on two occasions; once 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, and more recently, in 2001 he was presented with the Medal of Bellas Artes.
He was much-loved by singers and orchestral players as a true ‘musician’s musician’, with great integrity and humility on and off the podium, and inspired another generation of young conductors who started as his assistants.
There is a street named after Jesús López Cobos in Seville, and a school and a park in Toro, Zamora, Castile-León, where he was born on 25 February 1940. He died on 2 March 2018 following a battle with cancer, surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by his wife Brigitte, sons Jesús, Manuel and Antoine.
Jesús López Cobos & Evelino Pidò return to the Wiener Staatsoper
Jesús López Cobos and Evelino Pidò both return to the Wiener Staatsoper this month; López Cobos on 23 October to conduct Margarethe Wallmann’s production of Tosca, and Pidò for Donizetti L'elisir d'amore on 24 October and Rossini L'italiana in Algeri on 26 October.
López Cobos recently conducted Lucia di Lammermoor for Opera de Lausanne, and following his performances of Tosca, he returns to the Wiener Staatsoper in November to conduct Un ballo in maschera.
Pidò is a regular guest at the Wiener Staatsoper and conducts several productions there this season. In November he returns to conduct Adriana Lecouvreur and Don Pasquale, while in the new year he conducts I puritani, La fille du regiment and Simon Boccanegra.
Jesús López Cobos conducts Lucia di Lammermoor at Opéra de Lausanne
Jesús López Cobos begins the new season at Opéra de Lausanne, where he conducts Lucia di Lammermoor from 29 September 2017. The production is directed by Stefano Poda with Lenneke Ruiten in the title role.
Other highlights of the 2017/18 season include returns to Wiener Staatsoper for Tosca and Un ballo in Maschera and Grand Théâtre de Genève for Gounod Faust.
Lucia di Lammermoor runs until 8 October.
Jesús López Cobos conducts Carmen at the Baths of Caracalla with Opera di Roma
Jesús López Cobos returns to Italy this month to conduct Bizet Carmen with the Opera di Roma at the Roman Baths of Caracalla from 28 June 2017. Valentina Carrasco's new production stars Veronica Simeoni in the title role with Roberto Aronica as Don Josè and Alexander Vinogradov as Escamillo.
López Cobos recently conducted Verdi Un ballo in maschera at Opera di Roma, which he also conducted at Wiener Staatsoper. His interpretation received critical acclaim:
"Jesus Lopez Cobos delivered a dynamic, impressive performance."
Der Neue Merkur, April 2017
Carmen will run from 28 June until 14 July.
Jesús López Cobos returns to the Chicago Symphony
Jesús López Cobos returns to the Chicago Symphony this month for concerts at Symphony Center on 25, 27 and 30 May 2017.
Dvořák Symphony No.6 forms the backbone of the programme, which also features pianist Inon Bartanan in Gershwin Piano Concerto in F and opens with Turina Danzas fantásticas.
López Cobos recorded this and other works by Turina alongside Debussy as part of his 26-CD discography with the Cincinnati Symphony during his 15-year tenure as Music Director.
Current highlights for López Cobos in the USA also include returns to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony and LA Philharmonic, where he returned in January, also with Dvořák, alongside works by Brahms and Cristóbal Halffter.
Jesús López Cobos conducts Un ballo in maschera in return to Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Jesús López Cobos returns to the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma on 16 October 2016 to conduct Verdi Un ballo in maschera. This production is directed by Leo Muscato and the cast includes Francesco Meli as Gustav III and Simone Piazzola as The Captain Anckarström.
López Cobos received great praise for his conducting in the Wiener Staatsoper production earlier this year:
“An experienced man standing on the podium of the Staatsopernorchester is cause for inspiration. Jesús López Cobos operated in a very clear but also reserved way, demonstrating developed poetic lyricism as well as martial firmness. As a result he found the ideal mix of energy and flexibility so the singers were able to develop extensively.”
Der Standard, April 2016
Performances run until 30 October.
Leonidas Kavakos & Daniil Trifonov perform Smetana & Jesús López Cobos conducts Falstaff at Verbier
On 29 July 2016, Leonidas Kavakos joins forces with Daniil Trifonov at the Église de Verbier and Jesús López Cobos conducts Bryn Terfel in Verdi Falstaff.
Kavakos and Trifonov join cellist Gautier Capucon at 11am to perform Smetana Piano Trio, Op.15. Trifonov and Capucon also perform R. Schumann Fantasiestücke and Rachmaninov Cello Sonata in G minor.
Jesús López Cobos joins the Verbier Festival Orchestra at the Salle des Combins at 7pm for a concert performance of Verdi Falstaff, with Bryn Terfel in the title role.
Both concerts will be streamed live on Medici.tv.
Intermusica artists star at the 2016 Verbier Festival
Intermusica artists appear throughout the 2016 Verbier Festival, with all performances streamed live by Medici.tv. Set in the scenic mountain resort of Verbier, Switzerland, the festival draws the most respected names in classical music each year. See performance times, dates and venues below:
Baráti then performs two back to back solo recitals at the Église de Verbier Village on 26 July. At 11am, he performs Bach Sonatas for Solo Violin Nos 1, 2 and 3, and at 2.30pm he performs Bach Violin Partitas Nos 1, 2 and 3.
Daniil Trifonov joins forces with Leonidas Kavakos at the Église de Verbier at 11am on 29 July to perform Smetana Piano Trio, Op.15 alongside Gautier Capucon. Trifonov and Capucon also perform R. Schumann Fantasiestücke and Rachmaninov Cello Sonata in G minor.
Leonidas Kavakos then performs with Yuja Wang, Martin Fröst, Gautier Capucon, Roman Simovic and Blythe Teh Engstroem at the Salle des Combins at 7pm on 30 July, playing a programme of Bartók, Brahms and Robert Schumann.
Daniil Trifonov gives his third and final performance at the festival on 31 July, joining the Verbier Festival Orchestra and conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy at 7pm at the Salle des Combins to perform his own Piano Concerto.
Leonidas Kavakos performs the Brahms Double Concerto with cellist Alexander Buzlov and the Verbier Festival Orchestra and conductor Paavo Jarvi at the Salle des Combins at 7pm on 1 August.
George Li joins Emmanuel Krivine and the Verbier Festival Orchestra at the Salle des Combins at 7pm on 6 August. Li performs as soloist in Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No.2, in addition to Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No.3 with Joshua Bell and Bizet Symphony in C major.
Joshua Weilerstein conducts the Verbier Festival Academy Orchestra in a performance of Mozart Don Giovanni at 2.30pm on 7 August at the Salle des Combins.
Visit Medici.tv for broadcast links to each concert.
Jesús López Cobos returns to Wiener Staatsoper for Un ballo in maschera
Jesús López Cobos returns to Wiener Staatsoper on 19 April 2016 to conduct Un ballo in maschera, following an earlier run of the production in January this year. A revival of the production by Gianfranco de Bosio, López Cobos leads a new cast that includes Piotr Beczała as Gustaf III, Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Count Anckarström, Krassimira Stoyanova as Amelia and Nadia Krasteva as Ulrica.
López Cobos received great praise for his conducting in the January production:
"At the podium Jesús López-Cobos created for a balanced Verdi sound with so many finely differentiated moments accompanying the singers."
Der Neue Merkur, January 2016
Further performances of Un ballo in maschera take place on 23, 26 and 29 April, after which López Cobos joins Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León for a programme of Fauré, Dvořák and Ravel.
Jesús López Cobos returns to the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall
Jesús López Cobos returns to the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall on 29 January 2016, conducting a programme featuring Paul Hindemith Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet at the piano and Mahler Symphony No.4 completing the second half.
Later in the season, he conduct Un ballo in maschera at Wiener Staatsoper and makes numerous concert appearances with the Orchestre de Paris, Orquesta Nacional de España, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, in addition to a return to The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Jesús López Cobos returns to Wiener Staatsoper for Un ballo in Maschera
Jesus Lopez Cobos returns to the Wiener Staatsoper on 12 January 2015 to conduct Un ballo in Maschera. Lopez Cobos made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1980 with L’elisir d’amore and has since returned to the opera house for La bohème, Tosca, Nabucco, Manon, La forza del destino, and last season’s Don Pasquale.
In this production by Gianfranco de Bosio, Ramón Vargas sings Gustaf III, George Petean as Count Anckarström, Kristin Lewis as Amelia and Monika Bohinec as Ulrica.
Further engagements in the 2015/16 season include concerts with the BBC Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, LA Philharmonic as well as revival performances of Un ballo in Maschera at the Wiener Staatsoper.
Jesús López Cobos conducts Guillaume Tell at Grand Theatre de Genève
Jesús López Cobos returns to the Grand Theatre de Genève for a new production of Guillaume Tell on 11 September 2015. In this production, directed by Welsh National Opera Artistic Director David Pountney, the title role is performed by Jean-François Lapointe and John Osborn sings the role of Arnold.
Further engagments in the 2015/16 season include concerts with the Orchestra de Paris, Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orquesta Nacional de España, LA Philharmonic and The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as well as performances of Un Ballo in Maschera at the Wiener Staatsoper and Lucia di Lammermoor at Opéra Royal de Wallonie.
Performances in Genève run until the 21 September.
Jesús López Cobos conducts Don Pasquale starring Valentina Naforniţa at Wiener Staatsoper
Jesús López Cobos returns to Wiener Staatsoper on 26 April to conduct a new Irina Brook production of Don Pasquale, starring Valentina Naforniţa as Norina. This will be the first time that Don Pasquale has been performed at Wiener Staatsoper in three decades, and also marks 25 years since López Cobos made his debut at the opera house.
As well as Naforniţa, the cast includes Juan Diego Flórez as Ernesto, Alessio Arduini as Dr. Malatesta and Michele Pertusi in the title role.
Also in the 2014/15 season López Cobos will conduct concerts with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and will be the president of the jury of the Géza Anda International Piano Competition in Zurich.
This season, Naforniţa has sung Gilda Rigoletto, Adina L’elisir d’amore, Musetta La bohème, Najade Ariadne auf Naxos for the Vienna Staatsoper, garnering praise for performances in which “she steals the show” (Merker Online).
After opening on 26 April, Don Pasquale runs until 11 May.
Jesús López-Cobos joins Intermusica for worldwide management
We are delighted to announce the signing of Spanish conductor Jesús López-Cobos for worldwide management.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Jesús López-Cobos has regularly conducted ensembles such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony and Vienna Philharmonic. With his career equally balanced between operatic and orchestral engagements, he has conducted at The Met, Covent Garden, La Scala and most of the other major opera houses throughout the world. He has served as Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1981-1990), Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (1991-2000), Teatro Real Madrid (2003-2010) and the Cincinnati Symphony (1986-2001), where he maintains the title of Conductor Emeritus.
Among the many awards bestowed upon him, Jesús López-Cobos has received the Cross of Merit, First Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany for his outstanding contributions to German culture, and the government of France has inducted him as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. He has also been honoured by his own country for his artistic achievements on two occasions; once as the first recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award, which was presented to him by the Spanish government and the Royal House in 1981, and more recently, in 2001 when he was presented with the Medal of Bellas Artes. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.
Highlights this season include Massenet Werther at Theatro dell’Opera di Roma (18 – 29 January), concerts with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León throughout February and the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln at the Kölner Philharomine in March, and L’italiana in Algeri (18 – 20 April), Don Pasquale (new production) (26 April – 11 May) and Nabucco (10 – 22 May) at Wiener Staatsoper.