Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Ailing, Retires from Conducting

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Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, the Spanish conductor whose worldwide career has included numerous appearances with the New York Philharmonic, announced on Wednesday his immediate retirement from the concert stage, including resignation from his post as chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony.

The 80-year-old conductor, who has been beset with health problems in recent months, wrote in a statement released by his manager at Columbia Artists Management: "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."

Frühbeck de Burgos has been hospitalized for months at a clinic in Pamplona, sources close to his family told the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

On March 14, Frühbeck de Burgos fainted during a performance with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC. That was his last concert. Prior to that, he has been notably active, having last appeared in New York with the New York Philharmonic in December, when he led a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 and Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.

Below: Frühbeck de Burgos conducts music from Bizet's Carmen [Youtube].