Jesús López Cobos was born in Toro (Zamora). He graduated in philosophy at the Madrid Universidad Complutense, in composition at the Madrid Conservatory, and in choral and orchestral conducting at the Vienna Academy of Music. A winner of competitions at Besançon and Copenhagen (Nikolai Malko), he made his debut in 1971 in Prague as an orchestral conductor and in Venice as director of opera. Engagements at the Berlin Opera led to his appointment in 1981 as music director, continuing to 1990 with productions in Washington and in Japan, where he conducted the first Ring cycle. His career brought a period as principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic, with which he toured Japan and Spain. He conducted major European and American orchestras and appeared at leading international festivals, including Edinburgh, Salzburg, Berlin, Prague, Lucerne, Montreux and Tanglewood. His career brought various appointments and honours, as well as a distinguished list of recordings for major labels. Awards include the German First Class Cross of Merit, the French rank of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Spanish Gold Medal of Merit of the Fine Arts. In 2012 he was awarded the Castilla and León Arts Prize and named conductor emeritus of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León. Jesús López Cobos died on 2 March 2018.