Arturo Tamayo studied at the Conservatory of Music in Madrid, his hometown, following simultaneously law studies at the Universidad Complutense, which he left later on to devote himself entirely to music. He finished his studies with Honor Award in Composition. His teachers in conducting have been Pierre Boulez in Basel, Francis Travis in Freiburg, Witold Rowicki in Vienna and in composition, Wolfgang Fortner and Klaus Huber in Freiburg. He obtained his Diploma of Orchestral Conducting at the Higher School of Music in Freiburg with the highest qualifications. 1979/1998: professor in interpretation of the twentieth century music in Freiburg’s School of Music.
He has to his credit world premieres of important composers like Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Franco Donatoni, Sylvano Bussotti, Friedrich Cerha, José Luis de Delas, Giacinto Scelsi, Mauricio Klaus Huber, Brian Ferneyhough, Wolfgang Rihm ....and collaborated with soloists like Plácido Domingo, Teresa Berganza, Jessie Norman, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Alicia de Larrocha, Aldo Ciccolini, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Vladimir Repin, Christian Tertzlaff, Tabea Zimmermann, and has been a regular guest of the major European festivals (Salzburger Festspiele, Luzerner Festspiele, Wien Modern, Venezia Biennale, Holland Festival ...). He conducts the most important european orchestras, such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Radio Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphonie Orchester, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, WDR Orchester Köln, Stuttgart Rundfunk Symphony, Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Wien, orchestras BBC- Symphonie-Orchester, Orchestre Nationale de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Orchestre de l'Opera de Lyon, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Orchestra Nazionale della RAI di Torino, Orchestra dell'Accademia Santa Cecilia di Roma, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, the Residence Orchestra of the Hague, Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hilversum, Prager Symphony, Philarmonisches Orchester Oslo, and almost all the spanish orchestras.
As opera conductor, he has performed in major theaters, among them the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Wiener Staatsoper, Covent Garden in London, the Paris Opera Palais Garnier, the Opera of Rome, Teatro de la Zarzuela and the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Opera Comique of Paris, Basel Opera, Opera of Tokyo, ... offering an interesting and varied repertoire ranging from Mozart to premieres of Bellini Rihm, Ohana, Bussotti or Huber.
His discography has won numerous international awards including several "Diapason d'or" and the Amadeus Annual Award in 2006. Lately he has been awarded the "Deutsche Schallplattenpreis" for his recordings of the works of Iannis Xenakis. He is an Academician of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Granada. He has also been awarded the National Music Prize 2002.