Thursday 24 June 1971


The following article is an overview of the career of Serbian conductor Radivoje Spasić. The main source of information is an exchange of letters and emails between Radivoje Spasić and Bas Tukker in the summer of 2010. The article below is subdivided into two main parts; a general career overview (part 3) and a part dedicated to Radivoje Spasić's Eurovision involvement (part 4).

All material below: © Bas Tukker / 2010

  1. Passport
  2. Short Eurovision record
  3. Biography
  4. Eurovision Song Contest
  5. Other artists about Radivoje Spasić
  6. Eurovision involvement year by year
  7. Sources & links

Born: July 6th, 1932, Belgrade, Serbia (Yugoslavia)
Nationality: Serbian


In the 1960s, Radivoje Spasić was the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of RTV Sarajevo, the Bosnian broadcaster in former Yugoslavia. As such, he was commissioned to conduct the two Yugoslavian Eurovision Song Contest entries in those years which were originally submitted by Bosnian song writing teams, ‘Život je sklopio krug’ in 1964 and ‘Čežnja’ in 1965. These songs were performed by Sabahudin Kurt and Vice Vukov respectively.


Radivoje Spasić was born and raised in Belgrade. At Belgrade’s Music Academy, he studied the piano, solfège, counterpoint, musical form, score playing, instrumentation, harmony, conducting, singing technique, history of music, and history of art. As a student, he was given the chance to follow a two-month conducting course at the International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum University in Salzburg (1954). There, his talents were quickly recognized by two renowned musicians who taught the master classes in Austria, Igor Markevich and Volker Wangenheim. Thanks to this, back in Yugoslavia, the Sarajevo Opera offered Spasić the opportunity to conduct an opera. Satisfied with the performance of the promising young student, Sarajevo Opera decided to give him a scholarship, upon which Spasić moved to the Bosnian capital in 1955; there, he finished his music studies two years later.

Spasić continued working for the Sarajevo Opera until 1963, when he was appointed chief conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of RTV Sarajevo, the broadcaster of Bosnia-Herzegovina within former Yugoslavia. With the orchestra, he recorded over 4000 minutes of music for RTV Sarajevo. On top of that, on many occasions, he conducted it during concerts with music by Haydn (‘The Creation’, ‘The Seasons’), Beethoven (Symphony no. 9), Liszt (‘Faust’ Symphony), Shostakovich (‘The Execution of Stenka Razin’), Gershwin (‘Cuban Overture’, ‘Rhapsody In Blue’, extracts from ‘Porgy and Bess’), and many more. 

Occasionally, jazz musicians were added to the orchestra in order to be able to accompany pop and jazz performances for radio and television, most importantly Vaš Šlager Sezone, an annual music contest which was first held in Sarajevo in 1967. Moreover, Spasić conducted in the Opatija Festival for popular artists such as Arsen Dedić and Dragan Stojnić, as well as waving the baton during studio sessions with Sabahudin Kurt, Indexi, and Bele Vrane.

During his spell as chief conductor in Sarajevo, Spasić was often invited to conduct other classical orchestras as a guest, both in the former Yugoslavia and abroad: he made appearances in France, Italy, Greece, West Germany, Romania, Poland, and Slovakia. He worked extensively in the former Soviet Union, receiving invitations from Odessa, Vilnius, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Spasić had the opportunity to collaborate on the concert platform with some of the world’s most praised classical music soloists, such as violinists Leonid Kogan, Igor Oistrakh, and Stefan Milenković, cellist André Navarra, pianists Shura Cherkassky and Alexander Uninsky, and operatic tenor Luigi Alva.

In 1976, Spasić moved to his native city of Belgrade to become the artistic leader and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of RTV Belgrade, which was later renamed the Symphony Orchestra of RTV Serbia. This exclusively classical ensemble was managed and conducted by him until 1990. During the nearly fifteen years he was in charge of this orchestra, he worked on countless TV productions and numerous theatre concerts with music by, amongst others, Liszt (Symphony to Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’), Tchaikovsky (‘Manfred’ Symphony), Borodin, Prokofiev, Sibelius, and Saint-Saëns (Cello Concerto no. 1). He also worked with several other classical ensembles, including the RTV Belgrade Female Octet, which he conducted in their 1979 performance at the Zagreb Music Biennale. In 1980-81, Spasić was the president of UMUS, the Association of Musical Artists of Serbia.

From 1990 onwards, Radivoje Spasić worked as the Director of Music Production at RTV Serbia, having the responsibility for not only the symphony orchestra, but for the RTV Belgrade Jazz Band (led by Zvonimir Skerl), the mixed chorus, two child choruses, two folk music ensembles, the music library, and the recording department of the broadcaster as well. After his retirement in 1997, Spasić moved to Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Rehearsing with the orchestra in Copenhagen at the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest


In the 1960s, twice a song from Bosnia-Herzegovina represented Yugoslavia in the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1964, Sabahudin Kurt won the Yugoslavian heats with ‘Život je sklopio krug’; one year later, Vice Vukov, a Croatian artist, won the national pre-selection with another brilliant ballad submitted by Bosnian authors, ‘Čežnja’. On both occasions, Radivoje Spasić accompanied the winning artists as their conductor to the Eurovision finals, in Copenhagen (1964) and Naples (1965) respectively. Quite undeservedly, both songs did badly in the voting, finishing 13th and 12th; nevertheless, the 12th position obtained by Vice Vukov in 1965 is the best result of a Bosnian Eurovision entry submitted by the former Yugoslavia.

For Spasić, his two appearances in the Eurovision Song Contest were not exactly the highlight in his career, “My great love has always been classical music. I have never been fond of listening to pop or rock – not even to jazz. As a young conductor at RTV Sarajevo, I was given all kinds of commissions, ranging from operas, oratorios, and symphonies to popular music, for example the Eurovision pre-selections and the international Eurovision Song Contest. Conducting and recording popular music was, what I would call, showing professional attitude towards my job. That is the reason why I accompanied Sabahudin Kurt to Copenhagen and Vice Vukov to Naples, one year later."

"Although, of course, there was a language barrier, I did not find it extremely difficult to work with the Danish and Italian orchestras. As a conductor, you do not always need words – you can resolve most problems by simply using your hands. Moreover, the music was very easy. I mean, conducting classical works such as Schuman’s ‘Piano Concerto’ or the ‘Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso’ by Saint-Saëns is infinitely more complicated than leading the orchestra for a 3-minute popular song! When we scored so few points, that did not come as a surprise to me and it certainly did not hurt me personally. For me, this was just another job.”

The Yugoslavian pre-selection of 1965 was marred by two scandals. Originally, nothing pointed to Spasić conducting in the contest in Naples; he was not even included on the list of invited musicians for the Yugoslavian pre-selection. What was more, a shortlist containing the vocalists, arrangers, and conductors, from which the participating song composers could choose, did not include a single name from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because of this, the Union of Bosnian Composers organized a protest, as a result of which Radivoje Spasić, in the end, was added to the list of conductors. 

In the Yugoslavian pre-selection held in Zagreb, he led the orchestra during the rendition of the two songs which had been submitted by Bosnian composers. One of those songs, ‘Čežnja’, was chosen as the Yugoslavian representative for the international contest. Prior to the pre-selection in Zagreb, ‘Čežnja’ had nearly been disqualified, when it transpired that composer Julijo Marić had written the orchestration to his work himself; as he was not included in the previously mentioned shortlist of arrangers, this was considered as a breach of rules. In the end, however, because Marić’s orchestration was generally thought of as good, it was decided upon to not disqualify the song and publish the arrangement under the name of one of the short listed musicians, Vojislav Simić from Serbia.

Spasić never returned to the Eurovision Song Contest podium after 1965, although there were two more Bosnian songs to represent Yugoslavia in the 1970s. Spasić about this, “After some years at RTV Sarajevo, my reputation as a conductor grew. This meant that, sometimes, I had the option to give some of my commissions to other, younger musicians. For them, this was an opportunity to advance their own careers. As I was not fond of working on pop music, I decided to give away the particular job of working on Eurovision to Esad Arnautalić, who was a staff arranger for Bosnian radio and television at that time.”

Sabahudin Kurt (left) and Radivoje Spasić at the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen


So far, we have not gathered memories of other artists who worked with Radivoje Spasić.


Country – Yugoslavia
Song title – “Život je sklopio krug”
Rendition – Sabahudin Kurt
Lyrics – Stevan Raičković
Composition – Srđan Matijević
Studio arrangement – Srđan Matijević
Live orchestration – Srđan Matijević
Conductor – Radivoje Spasić
Score – 13th place (0 votes)

Country – Yugoslavia
Song title – “Čežnja”
Rendition – Vice Vukov
Lyrics – Žarko Roje
Composition – Julijo Marić
Studio arrangement – Julijo Marić / Vojislav Simić
Live orchestration – Julijo Marić / Vojislav Simić
Conductor – Radivoje Spasić
Score – 12th place (2 votes)

  • Heartfelt thanks to Radivoje Spasić himself for providing us with minute details about his career in music in an exchange of letters (2010)
  • Heartfelt thanks to Jasna Lubura of the Netherlands Embassy in Sarajevo for helping us to get in touch with Radivoje Spasić, and to Amina Šišić for translating some Bosnian source material
  • All photos courtesy of Radivoje Spasić

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)

Saturday 19 June 1971


Born: February 5th, 1913, Lisbon (Portugal)
Died: August 18th, 1967, Lisbon (Portugal)
Nationality: Portuguese

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


Studying at the National Conservatory in Lisbon, Fernando de Carvalho was taught by, amongst others, Luís de Freitas Branco (1890-1955), perhaps the most important classical composer Portugal has ever produced. During his relatively short life, De Carvalho wrote quite a stunning number of works, ranging from more than twenty operettas to over one-hundred revue songs; amongst those the complete score of ‘Cala o bico!’ (1954). Some of his songs were interpreted by the legendary fado queen Amália Rodrigues, most notably ‘Tudo isto é fado’ (lyrics by Aníbal Nazaré) and ‘Fui ao Baile’ (lyrics by Amadeu do Vale). From 1946 onwards, he was regularly commissioned to work as a conductor for Portuguese radio, and later television, broadcasts.


In 1965, Fernando de Carvalho was commissioned by the Portuguese broadcaster to be the musical director of the Grande Prémio, as the preliminaries in Portugal were then referred to. He conducted all eight songs in the competition, to all of which he had, moreover, penned the original orchestration. The participating artists were António Calvário (three songs), Simone de Oliveira, Artur Garcia (each two songs) and Madalena Iglésias. The winning song was ‘Sol de inverno’, arranged by Thilo Krasmann and performed by Simone de Oliveira. De Carvalho also conducted this effort in the subsequent international Eurovision final, staged in Naples, Italy. It was Portugal’s second participation in the contest; because, however, the year before no conductor had been sent along with soloist António Calvário, Fernando de Carvalho became the first ever Portuguese conductor to perform on the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The year after, in 1966, Fernando de Carvalho changed roles, this time participating in the Portuguese heats as a composer. Teaming up with lyricist Jerónimo Bragança, he submitted ‘Rebeldia’, a thrilling melody which is a lasting testimony to his composing talent. Performed by Madalena Iglésias, the song came third.


Jorge Costa Pinto played as a drummer in Fernando de Carvalho’s big band for some time in the 1950s. “It was special for me to join Fernando de Carvalho’s orchestra, as he had been a fellow-student of my father at conservatory in the 1920s. Maestro de Carvalho was a nice man as well as a very good conductor and composer. Some of the songs he wrote are very interesting; 'Rebeldia' is a good example - a fine ballad.” (2018)


Country – Portugal
Song title – "Sol de inverno"
Rendition – Simone de Oliveira
Lyrics – Jeronimo Bragança
Composition – Carlos Nóbrega e Sousa
Studio arrangement – Thilo Krasmann
(studio orchestra conducted by Thilo Krasmann)
Live orchestration – Fernando de Carvalho
Conductor – Fernando de Carvalho
Score – 13th place (1 vote)

  • Many thanks to Jorge Costa Pinto for sharing with us his memories of working with Fernando de Carvalho

Friday 18 June 1971


Born: November 3rd, 1911, Fristad (Sweden)
Died: April 14th, 1995, Bollnäs (Sweden)
Nationality: Swedish

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


William Lind’s debut in the world of music was when he started playing the piano in a bar at age 13. Four years later he first conducted an orchestra at the Borås Revue. Between 1933 and 1936, he studied at the Stockholm Conservatory. In 1939, he got a job as the pianist of the Radiotjänst Orchestra.

In 1945, he became the musical director of the Kabaretorkester. Several years later he took over the baton of the SR Underhållningsorkester. For decades, Lind was a household name in Sweden with radio music programmes, in which he featured nearly on a daily basis. His orchestra was always introduced by a radio speaker with the lines: ‘Ute blåser sommarvind, inne spelar William Lind’ (or, in English, 'Summer wind is blowing outside, William Lind is playing music inside'), after which the orchestra played Lind’s signature melody ‘Life Is Nothing Without Music’. In 1959, Lind combined his work for the radio orchestra with the function of Head of Music at ST, Swedish Television.

Meanwhile, William Lind worked as an arranger and conductor in the record studio with many artists, such as the Finnish singer Maire Ojonen. He composed hit melodies, amongst which ‘Jag är så glittrande glad’ by Sickan Carlsson, and scores for films, which include Utan gränser (1957) and Tillsammans (1964). ‘Sir William’, as he was nicknamed, was pensioned in 1976.


In 1961 and 1963, Lind shared the musical directorship of the Swedish Eurovision preselections, ‘Eurovisionschlagern’, with Göte Wihelmson. Lind led his Underhållningsorkester, while Wilhelmson was responsible for the quintet which played all songs in different arrangements. On both occasions, William Lind also conducted the winning song of the heats in the international contest. In 1961, ‘April april’, sung by Lill-Babs, came 14th in Cannes; two years later, in London, he accompanied Monica Zetterlund in her intriguing rendition of ‘En gång i Stockholm’, one of the 4 entries that year not to win any votes. 

Two years later, in 1965, Lind together with Mats Olsson and Hans Wahlgren arranged the six songs performed by the classically trained vocalist Ingvar Wixell in the Swedish preselection. One of the two entries for which he was responsible as both orchestrator and conductor, ‘Annorstädes vals’, won, as a result of which Lind for the third and last time made an appearance in the Eurovision finals, this time in Naples. This time, Wixell sang the entry in English, ‘Absent Friend’, but it made little impact on the international juries, placing 10th in a field of 18.


Country – Sweden
Song title – “April, april”
Rendition – Lill-Babs
Lyrics – Bo Eneby
Composition – Bobbie Ericsson
Studio arrangement – Bengt Hallberg
Live orchestration – Mats Olsson
Conductor – William Lind
Score – 14th place (2 votes)

Country – Sweden
Song title – “En gång i Stockholm”
Rendition – Monica Zetterlund
Lyrics – Beppe Wolgers
Composition – Bobbie Ericsson
Studio arrangement – Mats Olsson
(Philips Studio Orchestra conducted by Georg Riedel)
Live orchestration – Mats Olsson
Conductor – William Lind
Score – 13th place (0 votes)

Country – Sweden
Song title – “Absent Friend (Annorstädes vals)”
Rendition – Ingvar Wixell
Lyrics – Alf Henriksson
Composition – Dag Wirén
Studio arrangement – Dag Wirén
(studio orchestra conducted by Hans Wahlgren)
Live orchestration – Dag Wirén
Conductor – William Lind
Score – 10th place (6 votes)

Friday 11 June 1971


The following article is an overview of the career of Belgian guitarist, arranger, and conductor Gaston Nuyts. The main source of information is an interview with Mr Nuyts, conducted by Bas Tukker in Deurne, Antwerp, January 2010. The article below is subdivided into two main parts; a general career overview (part 3) and a part dedicated to Gaston Nuyts's Eurovision involvement (part 4).

All material below: © Bas Tukker / 2010

  1. Passport
  2. Short Eurovision record
  3. Biography
  4. Eurovision Song Contest
  5. Other artists about Gaston Nuyts
  6. Eurovision involvement year by year
  7. Sources & links

Born: March 26th, 1922, Deurne, Antwerp (Belgium)
Died: February 27th, 2016, Deurne, Antwerp (Belgium)
Nationality: Belgian


Gaston Nuyts participated in the Eurovision Song Contest on one occasion, leading the orchestra for the Belgian entry in 1965, ‘Als het weer lente is’, which was performed by Lize Marke.


Initially, Gaston Nuyts pursued a career in trade, studying at a commercial school and working as an office clerk. He experienced many of the cruelties of war after he had been recruited for the Belgian army upon the German invasion of 1940. From his early youth onwards, Nuyts had developed a love for music, mastering the guitar. In 1935, he started taking private theory courses; in the years that followed, he graduated in harmony, counterpoint, fugue, composition, music analysis, and conducting.

In 1942, he decided to give up on his office job altogether and joined various Antwerp nightclub orchestras as a guitarist and double-bass player, most notably in the Bali club in Borgerhout (Antwerp). He had already been working as a guitar teacher for some years by then. As a guitarist, he imitated the style of Django Reinhardt, with whom he was well acquainted. In 1943, a particularly unpleasant episode ensued, when he was forced into the Robert Gaden Orchestra, consisting of forty non-German musicians (including a Jewish oboist, Roland Dufrasne). The orchestra performed in occupied parts of the continent with a programme entitled The History Of Dance Music; Nuyts toured with Gaden in as far away as Berlin, Sudetenland, Poland, and the occupied Czech territories.

During those same war years, Nuyts gained valuable experience as a composer, conductor, and arranger, writing scores for all kinds of ensembles. Later onwards, after war’s end, he penned his first arrangements for fully-fledged symphonic orchestras. As a guitar soloist, he worked with many important conductors, including Nino Nardini, Georges Prêtre, Elehazar de Carvalho, Pierre Boulez, Robert Stolz, Bruno Maderna, and Vinko Globokar. Nuyts performed with the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Royal Flanders Philharmonic, and, most importantly, the NIR Symphonic Orchestra. Between 1948 and 1955, he worked as a guitarist and arranger for the Alhambra Theatre Orchestra, Brussels.

From 1950 until 1983, Nuyts worked for Flemish national broadcaster NIR (later renamed BRT), initially mainly as a guitarist in various radio ensembles, including the Entertainment Orchestra of Francis Bay (1955-56). In 1956, he was part of the Benero’s Orchestra led by Jozef Verhelst, which represented NIR at the Golden Gondola Festival of Venice and won first prize by beating the West German entry, performed by the Helmut Zacharias orchestra. Moreover, the Belgian team walked away with the Silver Gondola for best song of the competition as well, ‘Venezia’ (composed by Hans Flower and sung by Jean Walter). Nuyts wrote a considerable part of the arrangements for the victorious Belgian show programme.

Besides his work as an arranger, gradually, Nuyts was given more and more commissions as a composer and conductor for national radio and television, working on – amongst other things – the TV concert series World Melodies (1960-61), for which he arranged and conducted all music and in which he accompanied international stars from the United States, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Israel, and South Africa. Nuyts received ample laurels for his work on this series, being awarded the Bert Leysen award for the music he arranged for one of the programmes, Deep River. One year before, a TV Oscar had been conferred upon him for his contribution to another part of the series, Hemelhuis, highlighting the compositions of Emiel Hullebroeck. 

Gaston Nuyts, seated on a platform, conducting the recording session for TV special 'Deep River' (1961)

Nuyts conducted music programmes such as De melodieën van Armand Preud’homme, Close-ups van Vlaamse componisten, and Cocktail. In the course of his long career with Belgian television, he accompanied Flemish artists such as Bob Benny, Jo Leemans, Will Ferdy, Louis Neefs, and Jacques Raymond, as well as international stars including Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer, Eddy Calvert, Anita Kerr, Dalida, Conny Froboess, Esther Ofarim, Udo Jürgens, and Engelbert Humperdinck.

As a result of fruitful contacts between the Belgian and Dutch delegations during the 1958 World Expo in Brussels, an exchange programme was initiated in which musicians of Dutch broadcaster NTS were given the opportunity to work temporarily at NIR, and vice versa. Gaston Nuyts was one of the Belgians who worked in Hilversum for some time. The quality of his work did not go unnoticed there and he became a regular in the Netherlands TV industry; for more than 15 years, Nuyts was often called upon by several of the Dutch broadcasters, especially the Roman Catholic KRO, to conduct their TV orchestras. Working under the pseudonym of Tony Vess, he was the musical director of Zaterdagavondakkoorden (1961-62) and Tijd voor Teddy (1962-63), popular live music show programmes produced by Jos van der Valk and hosted by none other than 1959 Eurovision winner Teddy Scholten. For these shows, he conducted the orchestra for such internationally acclaimed artists as Frankie Vaughan, Vera Lynn, Josephine Baker, and many others. He also was the conductor of the Boyd Bachmann Shows as well as a string of other programmes.

Most famously, with a combo of twelve musicians of which he was the conductor, Nuyts worked on the immensely popular televised KRO circus show Piste, which ran for 16 years (1959-1975) and was broadcast in Belgium and Switzerland as well. Moreover, he worked with studio orchestras in England, Denmark, and Sweden, with which he recorded music used for radio and television shows in the Netherlands, Belgium, and West Germany. He performed as a guest conductor at Sender Freies Berlin.

With one of his children

Gaston Nuyts’ professional activities were not confined to TV and radio. He conducted orchestras in theatrical performances in Belgium and the Netherlands. He ranks among Belgium’s most experienced choir conductors, as well. Besides, he arranged and conducted studio orchestras during recording sessions with some of the most renowned Flemish and Dutch light entertainment artists, such as Bobbejaan Schoepen, Corry Brokken, Bob Benny, Louis Neefs, Jo Leemans, Jacques Raymond, Nicole Josy, Jan Verbraeken, and Jean Walter.

As a composer, Nuyts has been immensely productive, with an oeuvre to his name of hundreds of orchestra pieces, chamber music, music for wind bands, light entertainment songs, fifteen children’s musicals, and a large number of classical and light choral works.

“I’m interested in music in the broadest sense of the word, no matter if it is pop, classical music or anything in between, as long as it is good and genuine,” Nuyts explains. He wrote the popular schlager classic ‘De Kaspische Zee’, which was recorded by Jaak De Voght; the song reached the number one spot in the Flemish charts in 1956. Some of the work Nuyts composed, most notably ‘Vlaanderen’ (lyrics by Louis Verbeeck) and the suite ‘Tyl Ulieden Spieghel’, has been among the most popular at folk song festivals in Flanders. The former song was originally performed in 1970 at the 7th Europeade, an annual festival of European folk culture, in Herzogenaurach (West Germany). Among the classically orientated choral compositions Gaston Nuyts wrote, ‘Mária Lécina’ (for mixed choir, 2007), an adaptation of the eponymous poem by J.W.F. Werumeus Buning, deserves special mention.

In 1966, Nuyts was awarded with the Franz Andelhoff Prize for his folk song arrangements. Ten years later, the Province of Antwerp Composition Prize for Chamber Music was conferred upon him for his piece Bi-Triptychon for flute, violin, bassoon, and harpsichord. His 2002 composition ‘Canticum Canticorum Salomonis’, which he wrote for the mixed choir Musica Nova, won the 2005 Golden Tuning Fork, an award he received from the European Choral Society (AGEC). In 2010, an honorary concert, organized by the City of Antwerp, was bestowed upon him.

Apart from his work as a creative musician, Nuyts developed a wide range of other professional activities. From 1971 until 1987, he taught tone technique at the Royal Conservatoire of Brussels. Between 1955 and 1997, he served the Belgian Association of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (SABAM) in many capacities; commission member, board member, secretary of the board, vice-president, and (1990-97) managing director. Until 2001, he was president of the Belgian Society of Performance Rights (URADEX). Moreover, he was a member of the World Council of the International Performance Right Organisation (CISAC). 

Among many other functions, he served as the Musical Advisor of the province of Antwerp (1983-93) and as vice-president of the Belgian Air Force Royal Symphonic Band Foundation (ASBF). Nuyts was invited as a juror of composition and performance contests in Belgium and abroad, amongst which choral festivals in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, France, and the Netherlands and orchestral contests in Bulgaria, Austria, and the former Yugoslavia.

Nuyts in his office, January 2010


Being a staff conductor of Flemish national TV, Gaston Nuyts was an obvious choice for the panel which judged all compositions that were submitted for the Belgian Eurovision preselection. He was a member of this selection committee on many occasions. “Not an easy job,” Nuyts recalls, “since, usually, 99 percent of the material submitted turned out to be humbug – in other words, absolutely useless.”

Until the late 1970s, BRT usually gave Francis Bay the task of being the MD of the Flemish Eurovision heats and, subsequently, that of conducting the selected entry in the Eurovision Song Contest proper. In 1965, however, the BRT board chose the Light Symphonic Orchestra (LSO) to accompany the preselection in Belgium and its conductor Gaston Nuyts as the musical director of the show. The 1965 Belgian Eurovision heats were televised on the 13th of February. For the occasion, Nuyts had composed a slow called ‘Eurosong’, which was used as the intro music of the broadcast. All six competing entries were performed by Lize Marke (pseudonym of Liliane Couck) and ‘Als het weer lente is’, written by Jef van den Berg and Jaak Dreesen, turned out to be the runaway winner. The orchestration to this song was written by Oscar Saintal, the principal arranger for Adamo at the time.

As a member of the Belgian delegation, Nuyts travelled to Naples for the Eurovision Song Contest. It was not really a relaxing week for the Belgian conductor, however, "In the run-up to the contest, contractual problems arose. During the festival week, a Piste show had to be recorded in the Netherlands and my Dutch employers were reluctant to allow me to travel to Naples. The BRT board of directors, on the other hand, was adamant that I would conduct the Belgian item in the contest. In the end, it was decided upon that I would first record the Piste show in the Netherlands, upon which I would immediately catch a plane to Naples to conduct the orchestra for the Belgian entry in the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest. Fortunately, a couple of weeks before, our delegation leader had succeeded in persuading the Portuguese to swap places with us during the rehearsals. This allowed me to do my job in the Netherlands without having to miss our rehearsal.”

“In Naples, I had a good time with some of the other Belgian delegation members: Jeff De Boeck, Herman Verelst, and Josef Coolsaet. The rehearsals itself posed no problems; the Italian orchestra played the song flawlessly. It was an undivided pleasure to work on the music with them. A funny detail; Teddy Scholten, with whom I had worked extensively in the Netherlands on TV shows, was the commentator for the Netherlands. During the live broadcast of the contest, when I took the customary bow to the audience, she introduced me to the Dutch viewers saying, "Now, please pay attention, because the Belgian conductor is none other than our Tony Vess!" Of course, Tony Vess was the pseudonym which I used at that time when working in the Netherlands.”

Along with the entries of West Germany, Spain, and Finland, Belgium ended up with no points at all in this 1965 contest, which was won by Luxembourg’s France Gall and her ‘Poupée de cire, poupée de son’. 

Gaston Nuyts, trying to analyse what went wrong with the Belgian entry, “Lize Marke was a beautiful woman graced with a good voice. No, the song itself was the real problem. Of course, it was melodious and gracious, but even at that time, it sounded quite old-fashioned. Although I thought we would have deserved a couple of points, realistically, we had come up with something belonging to a genre of entertainment music that was no longer in demand. Since the early 1960s, beat music was what the public wanted and ‘Poupée de cire’ was exactly that – thus, its victory was logical. I want to stress explicitly that I have never looked down upon beat songs. The Beatles, for example, produced very good music indeed.”

Lize Marke (second from right) with four other songstresses taking part in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest in Naples, from left to right - Simone de Oliveira (Portugal), Conny van den Bos (Netherlands), Ulla Wiesner (West Germany), and Conchita Bautista (Spain)


Teddy Scholten, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1959, agreed to contribute to this biography of Gaston Nuyts - which happend to be just a couple of weeks before she passed away in April 2010. Using his pseudonym Tony Vess, Nuyts was the musical director of several TV shows in the Netherlands of which Scholten was the host. Teddy commented, “I did twelve broadcasts of Zaterdagavondakkoorden with Tony Vess, and four of Tijd voor Teddy on top of that. He was every inch a professional and it was obvious that he was versed in classical music, too. It was a pleasure to work with him. Later, I was interviewed by Tony for his radio show in Belgium, Cramique.” (2010)

Lize Marke, the singer who was accompanied by Nuyts during her Eurovision performance in Naples, comments, “For me, Gaston Nuyts was a great music professional for whom I had the highest esteem. I cannot say anything else than that working on the music with Gaston in Naples was very pleasant. He was a friendly man and we co-operated smoothly and without any problems.” (2010)

Jack Say (Jacques Ysaye), Belgian arranger and conductor of the same generation as Gaston Nuyts, “When I worked as a conductor in the record studios of Decca in the 1950s, I often asked Gaston to be the guitarist in my orchestra. He was a marvellous musician. Later, when I became involved in SABAM, I was very satisfied to meet him as my colleague once again. We got along very well, not only professionally, but also personally; I would say, for a Flemish musician, he was very Belgian… by which I imply that he was so convivial. It was not until much later that I heard one of his choral compositions, by which I was enormously impressed.” (2010)

Nuyts with his wife Juleke (in white) and lyricist Ké Riema, who co-wrote the 1959 Belgian Eurovision entry 'Hou toch van mij' (c. 2008)


Country – Belgium
Song title – “Als het weer lente is”
Rendition – Lize Marke
Lyrics – Jaak Dreesen
Composition – Jef Van den Berg
Studio arrangement – Oscar Saintal
Live orchestration – unknown
Conductor – Gaston Nuyts
Score – 15th place (0 votes)

  • Bas Tukker did an interview with Gaston Nuyts in Deurne, Antwerp, January 2010
  • Thanks to Teddy Scholten, Lize Marke, and Jack Say (Jacques Ysaye) for their additional comments
  • All photos courtesy of Gaston Nuyts

Thursday 10 June 1971


Born: August 8th, 1920, Ibbenbüren (Germany)
Died: January 14th, 2005, Hamburg (Germany)
Nationality: German

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


Alfred Hause played the violin in the Willy Steiner Orchestra between 1945 and 1948. In ’48, he was chosen as the new conductor of the Tanz- und Unterhaltungsorchester of radio broadcaster NWDR (Nordwestdeutsche Rundfunk, broadcasting from Hamburg). In course of the late 1940s and the 1950s, he became known as the ‘German king of tango’, responsible for the creation of a continental tango sound. With his orchestra, he performed in numerous radio and TV broadcasts and made a string of albums, which sold well both in Germany and abroad. In 1961, his composition ‘Bailando a dos’ became the winner of the first-ever Deutsche Schlager-Festspiele. Between 1965 and 1989, he did countless tours Japan with his orchestra. Alfred Hause was awarded with the Bundesverdienstkreuz in 1996.


In 1965, the West German Eurovision heats were held in Hamburg and Alfred Hause was the musical director of this show, which was won by Ulla Wiesner with ‘Paradies, wo bist du?’, composed by Hans Blum and Barbara Kist, with an arrangement by Paul Biste. Subsequently, Hause accompanied Ulla Wiesner to the Eurovision Song Contest final in Naples and conducted the orchestra for her; the West German entry finished joint-last without a single point.


Country – West Germany
Song title – “Für zwei Groschen Musik”
Rendition – Margot Hielscher
Lyrics – Walter Brandin / Fred Rauch
Composition – Friedrich Meyer
Studio arrangement – Friedrich Meyer
(studio orchestra conducted by Alfred Hause)
Live orchestration – Friedrich Meyer
Conductor – Dolf van der Linden (MD)
Score – 7th place (5 votes)

Country – West Germany
Song title – "Paradies, wo bist du?"
Rendition – Ulla Wiesner
Lyrics – Hans Blum / Barbara Kist
Composition – Hans Blum
Studio arrangement – Paul Biste
(studio orchestra conducted by Hans Blum)
Live orchestration – Paul Biste
Conductor – Alfred Hause
Score – 15th place (0 votes)

Tuesday 8 June 1971


Born: November 15th, 1924, Vicenza (Italy)
Died: October 21st, 2013, Rome (Italy)
Nationality: Italian

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


Gianni Ferrio was an Italian composer, arranger, and conductor. From the 1940s onwards, he has worked as an arranger and studio conductor for different record companies (including RCA Victor and CGD) and a string of artists, most notably Mina, with whom he has had a lifelong working relationship, up until her last album in 2005. He wrote some of Mina’s best-known songs, including ‘Non gioco più’ (1975). His most famous composition is arguably ‘Paroles, paroles’, which, sung by Dalida and Alain Delon, became a European hit in 1973. 

He wrote scores to more than seventy feature films, amongst which Un dollaro bucato (1965) and Tutti a squola (1979). As a conductor, he worked on many broadcasts of Italian public TV network RAI; he was the musical director of the San Remo Festival on two occasions, in partnership with William Galassini (in 1959) and Cinico Angelini (in 1962). In those days, Ferrio was considered to be a modernist conductor, because his orchestra included a prominent brass section. 

In 2007, he made a surprise return to the San Remo Festival (after an absence of 45 years!) as the composer, arranger, and conductor of Johnny Dorelli’s ballad ‘Meglio così’.


Gianni Ferrio was the musical director of the tenth Eurovision Song Contest, held in Naples in 1965. He not only conducted the Italian entry ‘Se piangi, se ridi’ (sung by Bobby Solo), but also the songs submitted by Austria and Ireland – the first ever Irish entry in the contest. 

Four years previously, Ferrio's orchestra was used to for the studio session to record Betty Curtis' San Remo winner - and Italian Eurovision entry - 'Al di là'.


Country – Italy
Song title – "Al di là"
Rendition – Betty Curtis 
Lyrics – Giulio Rapetti "Mogol"
Composition – Carlo Donida
Studio arrangement – Gianni Ferrio 
(studio orchestra conducted by Gianni Ferrio)
Live orchestration – Gianfranco Intra
Conductor – Gianfranco Intra
Score – 5th place (12 votes)

Country – Ireland
Song title – "I’m Walking The Streets In The Rain"
Rendition – Butch Moore 
Lyrics – Teresa Conlon
Composition – Joe Harrigan / George Prendergast
Studio arrangement – Johnny Spence
Live orchestration – Johnny Spence
Conductor – Gianni Ferrio (MD)
Score – 6th place (11 votes)

Country – Austria
Song title – "Sag ihr, ich lass’ sie grüssen"
Rendition – Udo Jürgens 
Lyrics – Frank Bohlen / Udo Jürgens
Composition – Udo Jürgens
Studio arrangement – Rudi Bauer
(studio orchestra conducted by Rudi Bauer)
Live orchestration – Rudi Bauer
Conductor – Gianni Ferrio (MD)
Score – 4th place (16 votes)

Country – Italy
Song title – "Se piangi, se ridi"
Rendition – Bobby Solo 
Lyrics  Giulio Rapetti "Mogol"
Composition – Gianni Marchetti / Roberto Satti
Studio arrangement – Gianni Marchetti
(studio orchestra conducted by Gianni Marchetti)
Live orchestration – Gianni Marchetti
Conductor – Gianni Ferrio (MD)
Score – 5th place (15 votes)

Friday 4 June 1971


Born: January 31st, 1919, Amposta (Spain)
Died: February 2nd, 2014, Barcelona (Spain)
Nationality: Spanish

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


Adolfo Ventas i Rodriguez was an infant prodigy and graduated from a local music school with certificates in solfège, saxophone, and violin when he was 11 years old. Two years later, he started studying the violin, clarinet, and saxophone at the Barcelona Conservatory. At fifteen, he was a professional musician, playing the saxophone in various orchestras with which he initially mainly performed abroad, touring in Europe and the Spanish and French colonies in Northern Africa during the dark days of the Spanish Civil War. In 1938, he met Joaquín Rodrigo (composer of ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’) in Paris, who taught him harmony. In 1949, Ventas was proclaimed Spain’s best jazz clarinettist. Later, he became the saxophonist in the City Band of Barcelona. 

In the 1950s, Ventas started working extensively as an arranger and conductor in the recording studio, working with artists such as Salomé, Conchita Bautista, Los TNT, Manolo Escobar, and Frida Boccara. He was appointed professor at the Barcelona Conservatory in 1969. After his retirement, Ventas wholly devoted himself to composing; his oeuvre includes many classical pieces, amongst which a concerto for clarinet and choral music.


Adolfo Ventas accompanied Conchita Bautista, when she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time – in 1965, with ‘Qué bueno, qué bueno’. Ventas had written the orchestration to it and conducted the Eurovision orchestra in Naples for her. The Spanish entry finished joint-last without a single point scored. 

Three years before, he had been responsible for writing the studio arrangement of another Spanish entry, ‘Llamame’, sung by Victor Balaguer - which was markedly different from the live version performed in Luxembourg, arranged by Antonio Moya. Moya was also due to conduct the orchestra for Balaguer, but, for some reason, Moya could not make it to the contest and was replaced by resident conductor Jean Roderes.


Country – Spain
Song title – "Llámame"
Rendition – Victor Balaguer
Lyrics – Miguel Portoles
Composition – Mario Selles
Studio arrangement – Adolfo Ventas
Live orchestration – Antonio Moya
Conductor – Jean Roderes (MD)
Score – 13th place (0 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Qué bueno, qué bueno"
Rendition – Conchita Bautista
Lyrics – Antonio Figueroa Egea
Composition – Antonio Figueroa Egea
Studio arrangement – Adolfo Ventas
Live orchestration – Adolfo Ventas
Conductor – Adolfo Ventas
Score – 15th place (0 votes)

Thursday 3 June 1971


Born: December 13th, 1908, Leeds, England (United Kingdom)
Died: July 24th, 1974, Hove, Brighton and Hove, England (United Kingdom)
Nationality: British

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


Eric Robinson studied the violin at the Royal College of Music, London. At 23, he joined the BBC as a violinist and became a member of the broadcaster’s regular TV orchestra. When normal broadcasting resumed during the latter half of World War II, Robinson was appointed conductor of the BBC Television Orchestra. Soon, he became a household name, mainly by virtue of the popular monthly show Music For You, highlighting light classical repertoire, which he both introduced and conducted. In 1952, the show was awarded with the Television Society’s Silver Medal. On top of that, he collaborated in countless other radio and TV broadcasts featuring the most popular vocalists of that time. 

Eric Robinson tried his hand at film score composing in 1947 with ‘
Old Mother Riley’s New Venture. His elder brother Stanford Robinson (1904-1984), whose musical style was more classically orientated, was a composer and like his brother conducted for the BBC for many years.


In 1956, when the United Kingdom had originally planned to submit a song for the very first Eurovision Song Contest in Lugano, Robinson was the musical director of the UK selection - although it should be pointed out that the final of that selection process took place in October 1956, months after the international final had taken place. It was not until 1957 that the United Kingdom sent a 'song for Europe' to the international final for the first time, conducted on that occasion by Eric Robinson.

Eric Robinson was the musical director of the Eurovision Song Contests of 1960 and 1963, both organised in London. On top of that, he conducted five UK entries between 1957 and 1965, coming second on three occasions. As the contest’s MD, he helped out the delegation of Luxembourg in 1960, which had not brought along a conductor to London – something he did again three years later for the Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg.


Country – United Kingdom (A)
Song title – “Ev'rybody Falls In Love With Someone”
Rendition – Denis Lotis
Lyrics – Norman Newell
Composition – Peter Hart
Studio arrangement (Matt Monro version)Malcolm Lockyer
Live orchestration – Tony Osborne
Conductor (UK final)Eric Robinson
Score – none / UK chose not to participate

Country – United Kingdom (B)
Song title – “Little Ship”
Rendition – Shirley Abicair
Lyrics – Irene Roper
Composition – Terry Roper
Studio arrangement (Jackie Lee version) – Frank Marlowe
Live orchestration – Bert Thompson
Conductor (UK final)Eric Robinson
Score – none / UK chose not to participate

Country – United Kingdom
Song title – "All"
Rendition – Patricia Bredin
Lyrics – Alan Stranks
Composition – Reynell Wreford
Studio arrangement – none
Live orchestration – Bert Thompson / Frank Chacksfield
Conductor – Eric Robinson
Score – 7th place (6 votes)

Country – United Kingdom
Song title – "Sing Little Birdie"
Rendition – Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson
Lyrics – Syd Cordell
Composition – Stan Butcher
Studio arrangement – Martin Slavin
(studio orchestra conducted by Martin Slavin)
Live orchestration – Alan Bristow
Conductor – Eric Robinson
Score – 2nd place (16 votes)

Country – United Kingdom
Song title – "Looking High, High, High"
Rendition – Bryan Johnson
Lyrics – John Watson
Composition – John Watson
Studio arrangement – Eric Rogers
Live orchestration – Dick Barrell
Conductor – Eric Robinson (MD)
Score – 2nd place (25 votes)

Country – Luxembourg
Song title – "So laang we's du do bast"
Rendition – Camillo Felgen
Lyrics – Henri Mootz
Composition – Henri Mootz / Jean Roderes
Studio arrangement – none
Live orchestration – Jean Roderes
Conductor – Eric Robinson (MD)
Score – 13th place (1 vote)

Country – United Kingdom
Song title – "Say Wonderful Things"
Rendition – Ronnie Carroll
Lyrics – Norman Newell
Composition – Philip Green
Studio arrangement – Wally Stott
(studio orchestra conducted by Wally Stott)
Live orchestration – Wally Stott
Conductor – Eric Robinson (MD)
Score – 4th place (28 votes)

Country – Netherlands
Song title – "Een speeldoos"
Rendition – Annie Palmen
Lyrics – Pieter Goemans
Composition – Pieter Goemans
Studio arrangement – Bert Paige
(studio orchestra conducted by Bert Paige)
Live orchestration – Bert Paige
Conductor – Eric Robinson (MD)
Score – 13th place (0 votes)

Country – Switzerland
Song title – "T'en va pas"
Rendition – Esther Ofarim
Lyrics – Emile Gardaz
Composition – Géo Voumard
Studio arrangement – Pierre Thomas
(studio orchestra conducted by Pierre Thomas)
Live orchestration – Pierre Thomas
Conductor – Eric Robinson (MD)
Score – 2nd place (40 votes)

Country – Luxembourg
Song title – "A force de prier"
Rendition – Nana Mouskouri
Lyrics – Pierre Delanoë
Composition – Raymond Bernard
 Studio arrangement – Robert Chauvigny 
(studio orchestra conducted by Jacques Denjean)
Live orchestration – Robert Chauvigny
Conductor – Eric Robinson (MD)
Score – 8th place (13 votes)

Country – United Kingdom
Song title – "I Belong"
Rendition – Kathy Kirby
Lyrics – Phil Peters
Composition – Peter Lee Stirling
Studio arrangement – Ivor Raymonde
(studio orchestra conducted by Ivor Raymonde)
Live orchestration – Ivor Raymonde
Conductor – Eric Robinson
Score – 2nd place (26 votes)