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Arts Desk

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Tribute to the Late Conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos

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Spanish conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos (1933-2013)

Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, who passed away in June, 2014, had a longtime relationship with The Philadelphia Orchestra. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, The Philadelphians performed a concert dedicated to his memory last February, led by someone for whom the late conductor was a mentor.  WRTI will broadcast that concert on Sunday, May 24th, 2015.

Susan Lewis: In late 2013, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos conducted two weeks of concerts that marked his 150th performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and expressed his joy in making music with this ensemble.

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Philadelphia Orchestra Conductor-in-Residence Cristian Macelaru.

Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos: They are fantastic musicians, but I said something more...after so many years, I told them, you are awfully nice people.

Cristian Macelaru: The orchestra absolutely loves him...and for me personally, this is also special and poignant.

SL: Philadelphia Orchestra Conductor-in-Residence Cristian Macelaru studied and worked with Fruhbeck, who had planned this Sunday’s program to include the music of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.  Macelaru conducts with Fruhbeck’s teachings in mind.

CM: He was such an honest man and a perfect  gentleman. So I loved being around him, and learning music from him, and seeing how he saw the great details, and the incredible care he’d take to make the music just perfect. The greatest compliment a conductor can get  is when a musician says, "Boy, this maestro really let us play." Which is a wonderful thing. It’s a difficult thing to achieve as a conductor. How do you lead and allow the musicians to be themselves? It's where the really fine line is. He was a master of this.

SL: This Sunday’s concert includes Falla's Suite No. 2 from The Three-Cornered Hat, and Nights in the Garden of Spain, as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6. 

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Listen to Philadelphia Orchestra Conductor-in-Residence Cristian Macelaru talk with WRTI's Susan Lewis about Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos.