Conductor Jesus Lopez-Cobos

Jesus Lopez-Cobos, the longest-tenured music director in the history of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, has died.

The Vienna State Opera said he died Friday in Berlin of cancer. He was 78.

Lopez Cobos was born in Toro, Spain, on Feb. 25, 1940. He was a graduate of Complutense University of Madrid with a degree in philosophy and studied conducting at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

He was general music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1981-90, music director of the Orquesta Nacional de Espana from 1984-88 and in Cincinnati from 1986-2001. He led the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in more than 500 performances, including in 1990 on its first Far East tour since 1967 and in 1990 on its first U.S. West Coast tour.

He made his debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1978, conducting Montserrat Caballe and Jose Carreras in Cilea’s “Adriano Lecouvreur” and led 38 performances there through 2008.