Sunday 21 August 1977


Edition number - 5
Date - August 17-21, 1977
Location - Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen (Denmark)
Orchestra - Danish Radio Orchestra (DR Underholdningsorkestret)
Musical director - Robert Cornford
Number of participating countries - 9
Jury president - unknown
Overall winning entry / best production - Netherlands / Erik van Reijendam
Award best solo vocalist - Keeley Ford (United Kingdom)
Award best solo instrumentalist - Michala Petri (Denmark)
Award best conductor - Dolf van der Linden (Netherlands)

The Dutch Nordring team for 1977: standing, from left: Jerry van Rooyen, Dolf van der Linden, Ferdinand Povel, Ack van Rooyen, Jasper van 't Hof, and Erik van Reijendam. Seated, from left: Petra Bartlett, Joanne Brown, and Jacquie Stillwell


Programme - “A Two-Dimensional Life-Story”
Rendition - Ann Christy / Sien Eggers / John Terra / Vik De Wachter
Composition & lyrics - Staf Knop / Ward Bogaert
Arrangement - Koen De Bruyne
Additional arrangements - Jack Say
Conductor - Jack Say
Production - Ward Bogaert
Note - Jack Say replaced Koen De Bruyne as conductor of the Belgian entry, while also adding the finishing touch to his arrangements, upon the latter’s unexpected death shortly before the festival was due

Programme - "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue"
Vocals - Daimi / Mona Larsen / Eddie Skoller 
Violin - Svend Asmussen
Clarinet - Jesper Thilo
Recorder - Michala Petri
Composition & lyrics - Ida Bjørn Nielsen
Arrangement - Robert Cornford
Conductor - Robert Cornford
Production - Birger Arntzen / Niels Rothenborg

Programme - “Give your hand to the child”
Presenter - Eva Arrhenius
Rendition - Maarit / Kirka / Eero Koivistoinen / Mikko-Ville Luolajan-Mikkola
Script - Kai Nieminen
Arrangement - Eero Koivistoinen / Esko Linnavalli
Conductor - Esko Linnavalli
Production - Erkki Lehtola

Programme - “The Axeman Cometh”
Presenter - Valerie McGovern
Rendition - Tony Kenny / Kathryn Kinsley / Louis Stewart
Arrangement - Noel Kelehan
Conductor - Noel Kelehan
Production - Johnny Devlin

Programme - “A Simple Song – Variations on a theme from ‘Mass’ by Leonard Bernstein”
Vocals - Petra Bartlett / Joanne Brown / Jacquie Stillwell
Bugle - Ack van Rooyen
Soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone & flute - Ferdinand Povel
Piano - Jasper van ‘t Hof
Arrangement - Jerry van Rooyen
Production - Erik van Reijendam

Programme - “A Norwegian Radio Newsical”
Narrator - Else Michelet
Vocals - Ellen Nikolaysen / Kirsti Sparboe / Odd Børre / Per Müller
Composition & lyrics - Else Michelet / Torkjell Berulfsen / Rolf Kirkvaag
Arrangement - Sigurd Jansen
Conductor - Sigurd Jansen
Production - Rolf Kirkvaag

Programme - “Musical Postcards from Nine Countries”
Rendition - Arne Domnérus / Rune Gustafsson / Bengt Hallberg
Arrangement - Bengt Hallberg
Conductor - Gustaf Sjökvist
Production - Hasse Telemar

Programme - “Pieces of Dreams”
Rendition - Foggy Lyttle / Nick Curtis / Keeley Ford
Arrangement - Peter Knight
Conductor - Peter Knight
Production - Mel House / John Meloy

Programme - “3xF: Film, Folklore, and Fascinating Rhythm”
Rendition - Ingrid Peters / Johnny Hill / Hans Haider / Johnny Müller / Milo Pavlović
Arrangement - Karl Heinz Loges
Conductor - Karl Heinz Loges
Production - Tim Bontjes van Beek

The unofficial prize for best conductor awarded to Dolf van der Linden by the musicians of the Danish Radio Orchestra

Saturday 7 May 1977


Born: September 9th, 1942, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Greater Paris (France)
Died: March 7th, 2019, Paris (France)
Nationality: French

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


Raymond Donnez (often credited under his pseudonym: Don Ray) was discovered as an arranger at a young age; in the 1970s, Donnez worked in the studio with famous francophone artists including Michel Sardou, Linda De Suza, Claude François, and Patricia Lavila. He arranged Jeane Manson’s 1976 international success ‘Avant de nous dire adieu’. Donnez was best known, however, for his work on disco music: amongst other things, he produced Santa Esmeralda’s new version to ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ as well as their LP ‘House Of The Rising Sun’. Moreover, Donnez himself recorded a solo album with disco tracks, including the hit single ‘Standing In The Rain’. He was the keyboardist on several recordings by Cerrone. In the 1980s, Donnez seems to have left his work in the recording studio altogether, and apparently he later worked as a singer/pianist in a piano bar in Paris.


Raymond Donnez has quite an impressive track record in the Eurovision Song Contest, having arranged four entries, amongst which two winners and two other top four contenders. In 1973, he wrote the arrangement to Anne-Marie David’s Luxembourg entry ‘Tu te reconnaîtras’, which won the contest; because of the fact that the contest was held in Luxembourg, RTL's resident conductor Pierre Cao led the orchestra for David’s performance. 

One year later, in 1974, Donnez made his debut as a conductor in the festival with ‘Celui qui reste et celui qui s’en va’; this Monegasque entry, a typical French chanson, sung by Romuald, came fourth. In 1976, Donnez again was involved in arranging and conducting the Monaco entry, ‘Toi, la musique et moi’, a song with clear disco elements in the arrangement; Marie Cristy was the singer and she came third in The Hague. In 1977, Donnez participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the last time, conducting France’s Marie Myriam to victory in London with her ‘L’oiseau et l’enfant’ – the last French Eurovision victory to date.


Country – Luxembourg
Song title – "Tu te reconnaîtras"
Rendition – Anne-Marie David
Lyrics – Vline Buggy
Composition – Claude Morgan
Studio arrangement – Raymond Donnez
Live orchestration – Raymond Donnez
Conductor – Pierre Cao (MD)
Score – 1st place (129 votes)

Country – Monaco
Song title – "Celui qui reste et celui qui s’en va"
Rendition – Romuald Figuier
Lyrics – Michel Jourdan
Composition – Jean-Pierre Bourtayre
Studio arrangement – Raymond Donnez
Live orchestration – Raymond Donnez
Conductor – Raymond Donnez
Score – 4th place (14 votes)

Country – Monaco
Song title – "Toi, la musique et moi"
Rendition – Marie Cristy 
Lyrics – André Barse / Gilbert Sinoué
Composition – Georges Costa
Studio arrangement – Raymond Donnez
Live orchestration – Raymond Donnez
Conductor – Raymond Donnez
Score – 3rd place (93 votes)

Country – France
Song title – "L’oiseau et l’enfant"
Rendition – Marie Myriam 
Lyrics – Joe Gracy
Composition – Jean-Paul Cara
Studio arrangement – Raymond Donnez
Live orchestration – Raymond Donnez
Conductor – Raymond Donnez
Score – 1st place (136 votes)


Born: 1931, Barcelona (Spain)
Died: January 13th, 2003, Madrid (Spain)
Nationality: Spanish

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


Rafael Ibarbia (full name: Rafael de Ibarbia Serra) was a pianist and conductor for countless programmes for Spanish state broadcaster TVE. He also worked as a musical director for numerous music festivals, amongst which Benidorm, OTI, and even the 1974 Portuguese Eurovision heats. As a studio arranger, he worked with Raphael Martos and Isabel Pantoja.


Rafael Ibarbia conducted six Spanish Eurovision entries, the first ones being ‘Algo prodigioso’ (sung by José Guardiola in 1963), 'Caracola' by Los TNT, and the quite spectacular ballad ‘Yo soy aquel’ (by Rafael Martos in 1966). In 1968, Ibarbia was part of the Spanish team which won first prize in the Eurovision Song Contest in London: Massiel’s ‘La, la, la’ (co-written by Ramón Arcusa) surprisingly beat home favourite Cliff Richard by one single point. Shortly before the festival, Ibarbia had reworked the original arrangement to make sure the music would sound even more up-beat than that of the record version. After this, Ibarbia had to wait six years before climbing the Eurovision stage again: in 1974, the arranger and conductor of Peret’s ‘Canta y se feliz’, Juan Carlos Calderón, had fallen ill, upon which Ibarbia was flown in to substitute him. Rafael Ibarbia made his last Eurovision appearance in 1977, when he led the orchestra for Mickey and his entry ‘Enseñame a cantar’. It is a striking coincidence that four of Ibarbia’s six participations in the contest took place in the United Kingdom.


Country – Spain
Song title – "Algo prodigioso"
Rendition – José Guardiola
Lyrics – Camillo Murillo Janero
Composition – Fernando Garcia Morcillo
Studio arrangement – unknown (possibly Josep Casas Augé)
Live orchestration – unknown (possibly Josep Casas Augé)
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 12th place (2 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Caracola"
Rendition – Nelly feat. Tim & Tony (Los TNT = Argentina Croatto / Edelweiss Croatto / Hermes Croatto)
Lyrics – Fina de Calderón
Composition – Fina de Calderón
Studio arrangement – unknown (possibly Victor Buchino)
Live orchestration – unknown (possibly Rafael Ibarbia)
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 12th place (1 vote)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Yo soy aquél"
Rendition – Raphael Martos Sánchez
Lyrics – Manuel Alejandro
Composition – Manuel Alejandro
Studio arrangement – Manuel Alejandro
Live orchestration – Manuel Alejandro
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 7th place (9 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "La, la, la"
Rendition – Massiel 
Lyrics – Ramón Arcusa / Manuel de la Calva
Composition – Ramón Arcusa / Manuel de la Calva
Studio arrangement – Bert Kaempfert / Juan Carlos Calderón
Live orchestration – Bert Kaempfert / Juan Carlos Calderón
Rafael Ibarbia
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 1st place (29 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Canta y se feliz"
Rendition – Peret
Lyrics – Pedro Pubill Calaf 'Peret'
Composition – Pedro Pubill Calaf 'Peret'
Studio arrangement – Juan Carlos Calderón
Live orchestration – Juan Carlos Calderón
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 9th place (10 votes)

Country – Spain
Song title – "Enséñame a cantar"
Rendition – Micky (Miguel Ángel Carreño Schmelter)
Lyrics – Fernando Arbex
Composition – Fernando Arbex
Studio arrangement – Fernando Arbex
Live orchestration – Fernando Arbex
Conductor – Rafael Ibarbia
Score – 9th place (52 votes)


The following article is an overview of the career of Swiss pianist, composer, arranger, and conductor Peter Jacques. The main source of information is an interview with Mr Jacques, conducted by Bas Tukker in Ebmatingen, July 2013. The article is subdivided into two main parts; a general career overview (part 3) and a part dedicated to Peter Jacques's Eurovision involvement (part 4).

All material below: © Bas Tukker / 2013

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

Born: May 17th, 1935, Františkovy Lázně / Franzensbad (Czechoslovakia)
Nationality: Swiss


Peter Jacques, co-kapellmeister of the big band of German-Swiss radio with Hans Moeckel in the 1970s and early 1980s, conducted several editions of the Swiss Eurovision pre-selection. In 1975 and 1977, he also accompanied the Swiss Eurovision hopefuls to the international contest, held in Stockholm and London respectively. Both songs, Simone Drexel’s ‘Mikado’ and ‘Swiss Lady’, interpreted by the Pepe Lienhard Band, landed a sixth position on the scoreboard.


Peter Jacques was the son of a Swiss mother and a Belarusian father, a violinist who was the concertmaster of the Winterthur Municipal Orchestra, but he worked as a violin soloist in the Czech spa Františkovy Láznĕ during the summer seasons. It was here that Peter was born in 1935. This town, Franzensbad in German, was occupied by the Nazis as part of the Sudetenland in October 1938. 

“According to the Germans, it was a liberation,” Peter Jacques comments, “but to my parents it meant they were stuck and could not return to Switzerland. Being a Russian, my father was in fact quite lucky to escape imprisonment or worse, but his violin was no longer in demand and he was put to work in an aeroplane factory in Eger (nowadays Cheb in Czechia - BT). That is how he got through the war. Though these were difficult years, my parents allowed me to take piano lessons. One way or another, I had taken up an interest in this instrument at a very early age. I was only four when I became the student of Herr Kernich, who used to be my father’s piano accompanist in Franzensbad. In 1942, I performed on stage for the first time. The following year, I was lucky to be smuggled out of Germany by the Red Cross, back to Winterthur where my grandparents lived. It was only in 1948 that I was reunited with my father and mother, who had had to wait for three more years until being repatriated to Switzerland.”

Peter Jacques (far left) with three Swedish composers/arrangers, from left to right: (at the piano) Gunnar Svensson, Georg Riedel (bass player), and Bengt-Arne Wallin (trumpeter) (c1960)

Between 1945 and 1955, Peter Jacques studied the piano with Professor Pina Pozzi at the Winterthur Conservatory, while he also took private piano lessons with Edwin Fischer. 

“Initially, it was my ambition to become a concert pianist, but, thank goodness, there was Edwin Fischer, who was farsighted and explained me it would be virtually impossible to make a career as a classical pianist. When I was twelve, he bluntly told me, “You can learn to play thirty piano concerts, or, when you are diligent, even forty… then you can play them in different ways, a little slower or faster, slightly softer or louder – but make sure you get married to a rich wife! Otherwise, for the rest of your days, you will have to work as a teacher and lie to parents about how talented their son or daughter is. Um Gottes Willen, you are a creative guy; find your niche in the music business, but forget about that whole concert pianist thing!” 

"A little later, a fellow student at the conservatoire drew my attention to some jazz records. It was not the first time I had heard jazz, because the Americans who liberated Franzensbad late in 1944, brought the tunes of Glenn Miller and others with them, but it was only in Winterthur that I started trying my hand at playing that kind of music myself. Before long, I was more passionate about jazz than about the classical music I was supposed to be focusing on. All my teachers at the academy knew about my predilections, but, in all fairness, they were far more open-minded than most classical musicians back then or even today and never chastised me about it. However, when I indicated I wanted to play Gershwins 'Concerto in F' as my exam, this proved a bridge too far. At that time, Gershwin’s music was considered negro music - and therefore unacceptable. I refused to compromise and decided to forget about the conservatoire altogether.”

Jacques with Swedish singer and actress Bibi Johns, c. 1969

Upon graduating from high school, Peter had taken up studying graphics at Zürich’s Art Academy. Meanwhile, in 1953, he won major recognition as a jazz pianist by winning first prize as a solo pianist at Zurich’s Jazz Festival, whilst, with guitarist Peter Breithaupt and bass player Erich Peter, he was awarded with a second prize in the bands’ competition at the same event. In the following years, Jacques remained heavily involved in Zürich’s small jazz circuit. He accompanied trumpeter Chet Baker at one concert in Milan (Italy, 1954). In 1956, with Peter Breithaupt, he decided to join Danish bass player Niels Foss on a year’s tour in Denmark and Sweden. In 1957, this Niels Foss Trio became the nucleus of the band of Kurt Weil (1932-2012), a Swiss trombone and vibraphone player who worked in Sweden. 

“Though I was only 21 at that time, going to Scandinavia was less radical than it might seem at first sight. The US and England aside, Sweden was the place to be for jazz musicians. With its many jazz cafés and extensive summer tour circuits, it was possibly the only country in mainland Europe with a reasonable possibility to make a living in jazz – and that was exactly my ambition! The Kurt Weil Orchestra first played at Berzelii Terrassen, a dance-palace in Stockholm. In the summer months, we toured all of Sweden to perform in Folketsparks, open-air venues where people gathered for an evening of live entertainment. You could drive for hours on end through the endless woods in some faraway corner of Sweden without seeing a living soul and then all of a sudden there was a giant square in the middle of nowhere, on which 7,000 people gathered in the evening hours for a night of entertainment… incredible!”

In the end, Jacques worked and lived in Sweden for eight years (1956-64). He played the piano in many different jazz combos, including the Jørgen Gottlieb Orchestra, and the bands of Ernie Englund and Putte Wickmann. 

“Especially the Gottlieb Septett was important. We were the house band at the Nalen Jazz Club in Stockholm. Regularly, international jazz artists were invited to perform at Nalen and we accompanied them. These included the big names from America; Lester Young, Lee Konitz, Stan Getz, Paul Gonsalves, and Benny Bailey - I got to work with all of them! I also met Toots Thielemans there. In 1962, I recorded the first version of Toots’ classic ‘Bluesette’ on the Hammond Organ, and, the following summer, we toured Sweden together. Apart from playing the piano in Gottlieb’s band, I also started singing and gradually writing the vocal arrangements myself.” 

With German singer Katja Ebstein, mid-1970s

In the live circuit, Peter Jacques – or Pete Jacques, as he was commonly referred to by his Swedish colleagues – also accompanied Sarah Vaughn in Copenhagen’s Tivoli and Mel Torme in Stockholm’s Gröna Lund Open Air Park. In June 1963, he led a ten-piece all star band with musicians of his own choice at the Stockholm Festspel, a summer festival.

Gradually, Jacques started receiving commissions in other fields of the music industry as well. In the recording studio, he worked as a background singer for the likes of Povel Ramel and Alice Babs, whilst he accompanied revue star Karl Gerhard and troubadour Evert Taube on stage. For the Knäpp-Upp label, he composed and produced a series of recordings with singer Ruth Linn, in which the duo sang up to ten voices together using the first multiple recording technique. In 1960, radio producer Olle Helander signed Jacques as one of the arrangers for Harry Arnold’s Radio Big Band. 

“Of course, I said yes to Helander. Who would have turned down working for Harry Arnold? To be honest, though, I was at a loss about how to proceed. I was a jazz pianist, which is probably why I had been asked, but I had never written an orchestral jazz arrangement in my life; and at the academy, they didn't have classes in arranging for jazz big bands either! In the end, I bought several textbooks, teaching myself the range of every instrument – diese ganze Elementarscheisse! Slowly, with trial and error, I began writing."

"Around the same time, I met Russell Garcia, who happened to be in Stockholm. What a stroke of luck that was! He was one of America’s best-known film composers and arrangers for the biggest recording artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra, and many others. Russell and I became the best of friends and he invited me over to Los Angeles, suggesting teaching me arranging privately. I spent most of 1962 and 1963 in L.A. This was one of the key moments in my professional life, because, thanks to Russell’s lessons, I was able to make a career as an arranger and conductor in the following decades.”

On stage in the DRS radio studio in Zürich, providing the piano accompaniment to a performance by Toots Thielemans (c. 1975)

“In many respects, Sweden was a nice country to live and work. The jazz scene was the best on the European mainland and people were open-minded and modern in their outlook. The main problem, however, was the ridiculous taxation system, which deducted up to eighty percent of your income. Some people only worked for half a week to avoid losing money. In the early 1960s, I had begun writing some film scores, but usually as a ghost writer to avoid having to give away all my profit to the taxman. While I was underway in Sweden with Toots Thielemans and bass player Jimmy Woody, Jimmy suggested coming along with him to Germany to do a tour with Bibi Johns, a Swedish singer and actress with a successful career over there. Bibi mostly worked in Munich and I settled down there, as well. That was in 1964. I left Sweden really only because at that time you could not afford being successful!”

Based in Munich, Peter Jacques worked as a freelance studio musician and arranger for nine years (1964-73), developing a wide range of professional activities. First and foremost, he became heavily involved in writing arrangements for almost all of the West German broadcasting orchestras, such as those of Alfred Hause and Franz Thon (NDR, Hamburg), Rolf-Hans Müller (SWF, Baden-Baden), Erwin Lehn (SDR, Stuttgart), Kurt Edelhagen (WDR, Cologne), Paul Kuhn (SFB, West Berlin), and Max Greger (ZDF, Mainz). 

For NDR television, Peter Jacques co-produced two big jazz work shops with Swedish musicians and a broadcast of the Ruhrfestspiele in Recklinghausen, whilst he also wrote arrangements for big television shows with pop stars such as Katja Ebstein as well as for a programme featuring American jazz trumpeter Art Farmer. Moreover, Jacques penned the orchestrations to studio albums for Horst Jankowski and Rolf Kühn and released instrumental compositions of his own in collaboration with Heinz Kiessling which were later rereleased on the Sonorama label.

In the second half of the 1960s, some interesting international jobs came Jacques’ way. In 1965-66, he first appeared as a conductor on stage on a one-month-tour with Alice and Ellen Kessler in Japan, and he was invited to the Netherlands to be the arranger and musical director of Houdoe Philippine, a musical comedy production commemorating the 75th birthday of electronics multinational Philips (1966). In 1969, he was the musical director of a TV special broadcast recorded in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) featuring the biggest stars of Brazilian music, such as Sergio Mendes, Jorge Ben, Vinicius de Moraes, and Tom Jobim. 

Peter Jacques (far left) with German band leader Horst Jankowski and Austrian star singer Udo Jürgens (c. 1976)

“Musically speaking, that was one of the highlights of my career,” Jacques comments. “I had long been fascinated by the bossa nova phenomenon. Michael Pfleghar, a German TV director who was a friend of mine, caught the virus and I convinced him to film a documentary about Brazilian music. Sergio Mendes hosted the programme. It was truly inspirational to meet Sergio, Jobim, Elis Regina, Gal Costa and all those other geniuses – if it had not been for this TV special, I would never have had the opportunity to work with them. The tour with the Kessler Twins in Japan was also very special, conducting the five best big bands of the country. The Kesslers were joined by a host of Japanese supporting acts, who I got to conduct as well. Communication with local musicians was not always easy, but they were amongst the best professionals I have ever worked with.”

For the Bavaria Film Production Company in Munich, Peter Jacques composed the soundtracks to several movies, but, more significantly, he was involved as an arranger in many TV broadcasts which were co-produced by Bavaria Film and the BBC. As such, he worked with the likes of comedians Rolf Harris and Millicent Martin as well as with pop vocalists such as Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, and Engelbert Humperdinck. 

“One of the managers at Bavaria Film was fond of British comedy, particularly The Goon Show and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He even got the Monty Pythons to do a production at the Bavaria studios in Munich. One thing led to another, more specifically: Bavaria Film was regularly commissioned to co-produce entertainment programmes for the BBC in the early 1970s. I arranged for many of these programmes and, what was more, I had the opportunity to work with the very best English session players while recording these arrangements in London.”

In 1973, after seventeen years abroad, Peter Jacques returned to Switzerland, accepting the offer to become Second Kapellmeister at the DRS Radio Big Band, the orchestra of German Swiss radio in Zurich. 

Interviewed in a TV talk show (1977)

“In 1972, when the Olympic Games were held in Munich, at the request of Cédric Dumont of DRS, I organised an evening of entertainment for the Swiss participants to the games. Dumont was Head of Entertainment at the radio service and he was about to be promoted to Head of Radio. He wanted a second kapellmeister behind Hans Moeckel, who had succeeded him as the musical director of the orchestra some years before; and he wondered if I was interested. Though it meant a decline in income, I decided to accept the offer to come to Zurich. I had had enough of travelling around anyway and a steady nine to five job; well, why not? Hans Moeckel was an excellent musician and I got along with him very well. In practice, we worked together on the same level and shared the arranging and conducting job on a 50-50 basis.”

With the orchestra, Jacques recorded concerts featuring international jazz greats including Eddie Daniels, Kai Winding, Sal Nistico, Bill Holman, Art Farmer, and Toots Thielemans. He also released some albums with the radio band, including a tribute to Michel Legrand (1986). After Moeckel’s untimely death in 1983, Peter Jacques took over the musical directorship of the orchestra until it was disbanded in 1986. 

“Though the orchestra was coined the Radio Big Band, we often performed for television as well, as Schweizer Fernsehen (SF) didn't have an orchestra of its own. Given the high level of the musicians in the orchestra, working with it was a joy. American soloists who came over to perform with the radio band were always impressed by its quality. As I usually had to write some four arrangements a week myself, there was hardly any time left for freelance work during my years with the DRS orchestra, though I composed a soundtrack for a Swiss film production in 1976, Die plötzliche Einsamkeit des Konrad Steiner. The orchestra was disbanded due to the machinations of a new radio chief who was extremely hostile to us. As I more or less foresaw our fate, I encouraged the musicians to look for freelance work – and in fact we did a successful tour of 45 concerts for UBS, one of Switzerland’s main banks; that was in 1985. Unfortunately, once the orchestra players had been fired, they lacked the initiative to survive on their own. Most of them weren't use to being freelance and couldn't cope with the challenge.”

Jacques meeting up in Zurich with his old friend and mentor, American master-arranger Russell Garcia (early 1980s)

Peter Jacques himself hopped from radio to television, working as a music editor at German Swiss Television (SF) for seven more years (1986-93). His entrance at SF was facilitated by the fact that he had already been hosting a late night jazz show, Jazz In Concert, since 1983. This programme, later renamed Jazz-In, ran for ten years (1983-93) and featured countless international jazz stars, including Klaus Doldinger, Horst Jankowski, Toots Thielemans, Palle Mikkelborg, Ack van Rooyen, Allan Botschinsky, Art Farmer, and Randy Brecker. 

“It was great working on that show. Thanks to our connections in Sweden and America, we succeeded in getting virtually all jazz musicians we wanted on our programme, even though we worked with a limited budget. Our aim was to create unique concerts of European and American soloists collaborating. My years at SF were particularly happy, as my work as an editor consisted solely of jazz projects. Among other things, I worked on broadcasts of jazz festivals in Bern, Montreux, and Lugano.”

Away from broadcasting, Peter Jacques was the musical director and co-host of Bernhard-Apero, a weekly live show in a small theatre in Zurich featuring Swiss and international singers, actors, and comedians, for seven years (1981-88). In a one-off stint, he played the mad pianist in BBC's TV version of Scott Fitzgerald’s play Tender Is The Night, which was filmed in Switzerland (1985). In 1993, he made the step to S Plus, the new second channel of Swiss German television, where he worked as the Head of the Classical Music Department and was responsible for selecting and buying foreign music programmes to be broadcast in Switzerland. 

Playing keys in a jazz club performance (1991)

Two years later, he decided to go into retirement, winning back his status as an independent musician, composer, and arranger. Since, he has been invited to perform at several jazz festivals, while he has immersed himself in electronic music and became one of the first to start to work with electronic sampling and computer programming to be able to sing live and at the same time play any type of big orchestra or big band with a minimum of technical equipment. In this way, in 1999, he gave a command performance at the private residence of Walter Esposito in Accra, Ghana for Kofi Annan, at that time UNO’s Secretary-General. 

Jacques also worked as an arranger and piano accompanist on two Christmas tours with Marie Louise Werth (2005-06). "Marie Louise Werth is a singer-songwriter who performs in the Romansh language. I really enjoyed working with her and her singers, because it allowed me to write choral arrangements - and make no mistake, some of this was really complicated stuff, hard to sing, but they did a good job on it. Those two Christmas tours were mainly in the Canton of Grisons, up in the Alps - where the chamois and hares wish each other goodnight! Those concerts were nice, but after two of those tours you find yourself having enough of fighting your way through two metres of snow."

"These pop commissions are few and far between. Some years after the tours with Marie Louise, I was invited to do a one-off concert with Michael von der Heide, Sina, and the Zurich Symphony Orchestra. I didn't conduct it, but all arrangements were mine and I played the piano on stage with the orchestra. Of course, all of this has little to do with jazz, but I found I liked those two singers and their ideas. I accidentally met them; and they explained to me they had the ambition of doing a symphonic concert. I agreed to work with them - and I never gave it a thought if it was jazz, rock, world music, or whatever. My first love in music was jazz, but throughout my career I've always been someone who can enjoy working on all kinds of music."

At work in his subterranean home studio in Ebmatingen, 2013


From 1973 onwards, Peter Jacques was the Second Kapellmeister of the DRS Big Band, the orchestra of German-Swiss radio, and, in that capacity, he was the musical director of Switzerland's Eurovision pre-selection on several occasions. Apart from that, he was twice requested to conduct Switzerland’s contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest, the first time being in 1975. The Swiss pre-selection in Lausanne had been won by a young girl from Sankt-Gallen, Simone Drexel, with a particularly catchy song called ‘Mikado’, composed by Drexel herself; and arranged by Sylvester Levay. In the international final held in Stockholm, Sweden, this Swiss entry did quite well, picking up seventy-seven points and a sixth place. 

"Sadly, in spite of her good result, Simone didn't have any career to speak of in Switzerland afterwards. What happened to her was the fate of so many young musicians, then and now; people start speaking of them as future stars, and then their career falls flat. Frankly, I've never heard of her again after that contest in Sweden. Having said that, her song wasn't that bad and I had no reason whatsoever to be ashamed being associated with her performance. I genuinely did my best to help her getting the best possible result. I never really considered the possibility of winning. I was always convinced that every song in such a competition could be the winner, as they sounded so much alike!"

"Because the festival was held in Stockholm, where I had lived for eight years, I had the advantage of speaking the language, being able to communicate with the orchestra musicians easily. I even recognised one or two familiar faces in the band from my time in Sweden, which was nice. Because I had had a career in Sweden, they treated me as one of them - which is typical of the mentality of Swedish musicians. I liked that. Mats Olsson, who was the resident conductor of the contest, was a familiar face as well, although I had never worked with him. Because the nucleus of musicians in Sweden is rather small, though, we knew each other's face - and he received me cordially."

Simone Drexel, Switzerland's representative in the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm (promotional photo taken from Swiss TV's press kit for the festival)

Two years later, in 1977, Peter Jacques conducted the Swiss Eurovision pre-selection show in Zurich. Subsequently, he joined the winners of these heats, the Pepe Lienhard Band, to the Eurovision Song Contest, making his second appearance in the event, this time conducting ‘Swiss Lady’, composed by Peter Reber. This unusual song, featuring parts for alphorn and piccolo, managed to obtain a respectable sixth position for Switzerland in the festival final, held in the Wembley Conference Centre in London. Before that, a studio version of the song had been recorded. The single release included ‘Warum’, a song written by Peter Jacques and Hansjörg Bahl, as its B-side. 

“It is purely coincidental that I wrote the B-side of the single release," Jacques explains. "In those days, I occasionally wrote pop songs when requested. Hansjörg Bahl was someone with connections in the record business and he was probably the one who succeeded in drawing Pepe Lienhard’s attention to our creation.”

In a nice coincidence, for his second Eurovision performance, Peter Jacques again found himself on familiar ground, as he had extensively worked as an arranger in London’s recording studios in the early 1970s. 

“The drummer and the alto saxophone player in that Eurovision orchestra had featured on virtually all my sessions. They were amongst the very best session players in England. For this particular song, ‘Swiss Lady’, the orchestra wasn't particularly important, as all main instruments in the arrangement were played by Pepe and his band. In fact, we only used the orchestra because it was obligatory to involve it in the performance. That's where I came in: at the band’s request, I wrote a tiny string arrangement and this made me the obvious choice to conduct it in London as well. The record version of ‘Swiss Lady’ does not include these strings!"

"I couldn't help being enormously impressed by the guy in Pepe’s band who played the alphorn (an Iranian musician called Mostafa Kafa’i Azimi, BT). With a mouthpiece on the horn, he was able produce the most amazing sounds. For the Eurovision performance, his parts were pre-recorded, but I can assure you he could just as well have done it live, which in fact he had to do on many occasions in Switzerland after the contest, as the song did quite well in the charts and the poor devils had to play it night after night wherever they performed.”

Jacques recalls an incredible anecdote involving Pepe Lienhard, the band leader who played the piccolo on stage for ‘Swiss Lady’. “A couple of days before the contest, I was awoken in my hotel room by Pepe. He telephoned me from his room, which was down the corridor, simply to have a chat about music. All of a sudden, he asked me, “Does the sun shine so awkwardly into your room as well? I can hardly see a thing!” I thought it was a weird question, as I didn't notice anything abnormal. Shortly after we had finished our conversation, I heard the alarm sound. What had happened? Before calling me, Pepe had filled the bath, but he had forgotten to close the tap and the water had started flowing into his room! Being extremely near-sighted and not yet having inserted his contact lenses, he didn't even see the water in the room when the sun reflected heavily in it. When fire-fighters entered the building, the water had already started flushing onto the corridor and down the stairs into the main reception. When I later told the band’s manager what had happened, he could hardly believe it, as it was such an improbable story.”

The Pepe Lienhard Band recording the promotional video for their Eurovision entry in the Swiss Alps

In the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest, the gaps between the songs were not bridged by films, as was customary, but by shots of the audience and piano improvisations in the background. Peter Jacques remembers why. 

“That contest was directed by Stewart Morris, quite a high-handed and tyrannical character of which the English crew liked saying behind his back, "Hitler is alive and doing very well in the body of Stewart Morris”. This chap actually had a good idea; he organised a banquet and invited all delegations to attend. While the cocktail party was going on, a camera crew filmed the various delegations with the intention of using these images in between the participating songs. What Morris had not realised, though, was that several television and radio chiefs from across Europe attended the party with someone else than their own wife. As the evening progressed, more and more people got quite drunk and there was a lot of flirting going on."

"As a result, literally on the day of the broadcast, some of the most important TV managers of Europe gathered at Stewart Morris’ desk, imploring him not to use the images, "Um Gottes Willen, nicht senden!" Morris could do little else than skip the items. Instead, he asked the pianist of the orchestra to play instrumental bridges in between all songs. This pianist doubtlessly made more money than anyone else from this contest. All pieces he played were compositions of his own and they were broadcast in over twenty countries. He literally earned a fortune!”

"Like in Sweden two years before, I met quite a lot of guys in the orchestra I had worked with before; the drummer and the alto saxophonist, but there were more. I had never lived in the UK, but in the 1960s, when I worked for Bavaria Film in Munich, we worked on quite a lot of co-productions with the BBC. Most of those scores were recorded in the UK, where the famous contractor Nat Pack assembled the superb studio orchestras I got to work with. He did the same job for Michel Legrand. Nat wasn't around for the Eurovision Song Contest, but some of the musicians he worked with were. It was nice to have a chat again after not having seen them for so many years."

Looking back, Peter Jacques doesn't think of his two Eurovision participations as career highlights. “To be honest, Eurovision wasn't my kind of entertainment and I didn't really want to go there, but as an employee of the television service you were doing a job. Hans Moeckel, my conducting colleague at DRS, felt the same way about the festival. It was kind of ambivalent; on the one hand, it was a nice idea to help some young artist on his or her way on what perhaps would turn into a wonderful career in pop music, but, on a more realistic note, we realised that this almost never occurred. The contest was and still is a stage which destroys artists’ careers before it has even begun. On the other hand, I found the contest was enjoyable in another sense - you got to meet music professionals from other European countries. It was nice to move in those circles for a couple of days."

The Pepe Lienhard Band and songwriter Peter Reber (with beard) being awarded with a gold record for 50,000 sold copies of 'Swiss Lady'


So far, we have not gathered memories of other artists about Peter Jacques.


Country – Switzerland
Song title – "Mikado"
Rendition – Simone Drexel
Lyrics – Simone Drexel
Composition – Simone Drexel
Studio arrangement – Sylvester Levay
Live orchestration – Sylvester Levay
Conductor – Peter Jacques
Score – 6th place (77 votes)

Country – Switzerland
Song title – "Swiss Lady"
Rendition – Pepe Lienhard Band 
(Pepe Lienhard / Bill von Arx / Pino Gasparini / Christian von Hoffmann / Mostafa Kafa’i Azimi / Georges Walther)
Lyrics – Peter Reber
Composition – Peter Reber
Studio arrangement – Peter Reber / Rolf Zuckowski / Pepe Lienhard Band
Live orchestration – Peter Jacques
Conductor – Peter Jacques
Score – 6th place (71 votes)

  • Bas Tukker interviewed Peter Jacques in Ebmatingen (Switzerland), July 2013
  • All photos courtesy of Peter Jacques


Born: January 19th, 1942, Thessaloniki (Greece)
Nationality: Greek

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


George Hatzinassios (Γιώργος Χατζηνάσıος) studied composition and arranging in Thessaloniki, Athens, and Paris. From the early 1970s onwards, he composed songs for Marinella, Giannis Parios, Tania Tsanaclidou, Nana Mouskouri, Evridiki, and Alexia. He wrote soundtracks to various Greek motion pictures, including I Aliki dictator, Esy kai ego, and Knock Out. Hatzinassios won various awards for his compositions, including the Rose d’Or for his song ‘Otan gyro nychtonei’.


George Hatzinassios composed, arranged, and conducted the 1977 Greek entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, ‘Mathema solfege’. The song was interpreted by Pascalis, Marianna, Robert, and Bessy in the contest final in London and finished on a respectable fifth spot – the best result for Greece in the contest until 2001.


Country – Greece
Song title – "Mathema solfege"
Rendition – Pascalis / Marianna / Robert / Bessy 
Lyrics – Sevy Tiliacou
Composition – George Hatzinassios
Studio arrangement – George Hatzinassios
(studio orchestra conducted by George Hatzinassios)
Live orchestration – George Hatzinassios
Conductor – George Hatzinassios
Score – 5th place (92 votes)


Born: September 24th, 1930
Died: October 27th, 2007
Nationality: British

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


Johnny Arthey started his career as a pianist, but became a much sought-after arranger in the 1960s and 1970s, working with Engelbert Humperdinck, Blue Haze, Joe Dassin, and many more. He wrote the orchestration to hit records such as ‘Eloise’ by Barry Ryan and ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ by Desmond Dekker. As a producer, he helped Jamaican reggae artists trying to force a breakthrough on the British market. With his Johnny Arthey orchestra, he released a string of instrumental recordings of popular titles. He conducted orchestras for various BBC broadcasts.


In 1970, Johnny Arthey was the musical director of A Song For Europe, the UK Eurovision heats, in which Mary Hopkin sang all entries. He travelled to the contest final in Amsterdam with Hopkin to conduct her song ‘Knock, Knock (Who’s There)’, which came second for the UK behind Dana (Ireland). One year later, Arthey did not have any part in A Song For Europe (Norrie Paramor was the musical director), but he arranged the winning song from that competition, ‘Jack In The Box’ by Clodagh Rodgers. He conducted the song in the Eurovision final, held in Dublin that year. In 1977, Arthey made a surprise return to the contest as the arranger and conductor of that year’s Luxembourg entry, ‘Frère Jacques’, sung by Anne-Marie B.


Country – United Kingdom
Song title – "Knock Knock (Who’s There)"
Rendition – Mary Hopkin
Lyrics – John Carter / Geoff Stephens
Composition – John Carter / Geoff Stephens
Studio arrangement – Johnny Arthey
Live orchestration – Johnny Arthey
Conductor – Johnny Arthey
Score – 2nd place (26 votes)

Country  United Kingdom
Song title – "Jack In The Box"
Rendition – Clodagh Rodgers
Lyrics – David Myers
Composition – John Worsley
Studio arrangement – Johnny Arthey
Live orchestration – Johnny Arthey
Conductor – Johnny Arthey
Score – 4th place (98 votes)

Country – Luxembourg
Song title – "Frère Jacques"
Rendition – Anne Marie B. 
Lyrics – Guy Béart / Pierre Cour
Composition – Guy Béart / Pierre Cour
Studio arrangement – Johnny Arthey
Live orchestration – Johnny Arthey
Conductor – Johnny Arthey
Score – 16th place (17 votes)