Friday 31 December 1999



Who holds sway in the land of the blind?
Who maintains his dignity, even when the song is a complete flop?

These are two lines from a comical song by Frans Halsema honouring the involvement in the Eurovision Song Contest of the Netherlands' Dolf van der Linden, a conductor who appeared regularly in the early years of the festival. It evokes a time when live music was the norm and all contestants were accompanied by the Eurovision orchestra conducted by a dignified chef d’orchestre from their respective countries. It was also a time when, before each song, the musical director was introduced, “... and the conductor is...”. Applause! One, two, three... and the music starts... 

Unfortunately, these days are long past. The last Eurovision Song Contest with live orchestral accompaniment was in 1998. Subsequently, the European Broadcasting Union decided the show would be better off with backing tracks and without real music.

We strongly disagree with the EBU’s decision. As a way of protest, we have built this website. It aims to applaud the careers of nearly 350 musicians, who conducted the Eurovision orchestra between the first festival in 1956 and 1998. Some of them became legends in the contest’s history: what to say of Noel Kelehan and Ossi Runne, who waved the baton in more than twenty editions? Many others took part only once. There is, however, one element that unites them all: they were all accomplished musicians in their own right. By clicking one of the indexes above, you can find your way to extensive information about all of them.

This website is the successor of 'And The Conductor Is...'. The project is a labour of love if ever there was one. The articles, enough to fill thousands of pages in print, are the result of extensive research and, if possible, interviews with conductors - we have done over 100 since 2006 - and people who worked with them. 

Moreover, there is an historical survey of the Eurovision orchestra and the developments of live music in the contest, while separate indexes give you access to extensive sections about the San Remo Festival and the Nordring Festival

Very much a work in progress, the website is being enriched with further information almost on a weekly basis, so keep coming back! We hope you will enjoy this website.

No comments:

Post a Comment