Sunday 20 June 1971


Born: July 5th, 1914, Saint Petersburg - Санкт-Петербург (Russian Empire)
Died: May 23rd, 1994, Espoo (Finland)
Nationality: Finnish

In due course, the short impression below will be replaced with a more extensive career overview


George de Godzinsky was born into a Finnish family of Polish descent living in Saint Petersburg, which was the capital of the soon-to-collapse Russian Empire of Nicholas II, of which Finland was a part at that time. His father worked as a tradesman and civil serviceman, but was a gifted amateur musician at the same time. In 1917, the year of two revolutions in the then renamed city of Petrograd, the family fled to Finland, where son George started attending lessons at the Helsinki Conservatory at sixteen. He completed several courses there, most importantly piano, between 1930 and 1937.

During his studies, De Godzinsky worked as a pianist for the Finnish National Opera. In 1935-36, he was the accompanist of world famous opera singer Feodor Chaliapin in his Far East Tour to China and Japan. In 1939, De Godzinsky took up conducting, becoming musical director of the Kristalli Tanssiorkesteri in Helsinki. Later, he worked as chief-conductor in the Swedish Theatre (Helsinki), the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Stockholm), and finally the Gothenburg City Theatre. Upon his return to Finland, he worked extensively with the orchestra of Finnish National Opera, touring the world and performing in the United States, Norway, Poland, and France. De Godzinsky continued working as a conductor up to a high age, regularly performing with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra until shortly before his death in 1994.

As a composer, De Godzinsky worked on both classical and popular music. He wrote about fifty light-classical pieces in Viennese style, as well as twelve operettas. He scored the music to no fewer than 64 films, including Tuhottu nuoruus (1947) and Kummituskievari (1954), as well as working extensively on TV projects, writing tunes for countless programmes, ranging from history documentaries to popular series such as Kippariklubi. Moreover, he composed and arranged approximately 200 light entertainment and pop songs, including ‘Roopen lemmenlaulu’ by Taunu Palo, and ‘On silmäsi tummat kuin etelän yö’ by Ansa Ikonen, as well as children’s repertoire.


In the Eurovision Song Contest, Finland had a tradition of sending the same conductor year in, year out. George de Godzinsky was the regular Finnish musical director from 1961 (when the country made its debut in the competition) until 1965. In both 1962 and 1964, the Finnish entries, sung by Marion Rung and Lasse Mårtenson respectively, came seventh, which were to remain the best scores for the country until 1973. In 1966, De Godzinsky ceded the baton to a young musician called Ossi Runne, who was to go on to conduct the Eurovision orchestra for Finland on more than twenty occasions.


Country – Finland
Song title – "Valoa ikkunassa"
Rendition – Laila Kinnunen 
Lyrics – Sauvo 'Saukki' Puhtila
Lyrics – Eino Hurme
Studio arrangement – Jaakko Elias Salo
(studio orchestra conducted by Jaakko Elias Salo)
Live orchestration – Jaakko Elias Salo
Conductor – George de Godzinsky
Score – 10th place (6 votes)

Country – Finland
Song title – "Tipi-tii"
Rendition – Marion Rung
Lyrics – Kari Tuomisaari
Composition – Kari Tuomisaari
Studio arrangement – Pentti Kalevi Lasanen
(studio orchestra conducted by Wille Katz)
Live orchestration – Pentti Kalevi Lasanen
Conductor – George de Godzinsky
Score – 7th place (4 votes)

Country – Finland
Song title – "Muistojeni laulu"
Rendition – Laila Halme
Lyrics – Börje Sundgren
Composition – Börje Sundgren
Studio arrangement – Pekka Toivanen
Live orchestration – Pekka Toivanen
Conductor – George de Godzinsky
Score – 13th place (0 votes)

Country – Finland
Song title – "Laiskotellen"
Rendition – Lasse Mårtenson
Lyrics – Sauvo 'Saukki' Puhtila
Composition – Lasse Mårtenson
Studio arrangement – Lasse Mårtenson
(studio orchestra conducted by Lasse Mårtenson)
Live orchestration – Lasse Mårtenson
Conductor – George de Godzinsky
Score – 7th place (9 votes)

Country – Finland
Song title – "Aurinko laskee länteen"
Rendition – Viktor Klimenko
Lyrics – Reino Helismaa
Composition – Toivo Kärki
Studio arrangement – Nacke Johansson
(studio orchestra conducted by Nacke Johansson)
Live orchestration – Nacke Johansson
Conductor – George de Godzinsky
Score – 15th place (0 votes)

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