Eurovision 2020 broadcasters AVROTROS, NPO and NOS announced that fans of the old-school Eurovision orchestra should get excited. The Netherlands is promising to bring a symphony orchestra to the Eurovision 2020 grand final for a special performance.

With the appointment of classical composer Eric van Tijn as the musical director, the Dutch Eurovision broadcasters already seemed to be hinting at something involving classical music.

It’s no surprise that AVROTROS loves combining Eurovision with classical music. In a specially Eurovision-themed broadcasted of Maestro — a show in which celebrities battle to be the best orchestral conductor — famous Dutch Eurovision tunes were given an orchestral makeover.

What will the orchestra at Eurovision 2020 look like?

AVROTROS, NPO and NOS aim to create a new symphony orchestra, made up of talented students and young professionals, for a special performance during the grand final of Eurovision 2020.

To find musicians for the orchestra, AVROTROS will be holding auditions in February. Every student who is at a third-year bachelor level or master level is allowed to participate, alongside recent graduates. More information can be found here.

Head of Show, Gerben Bakker told the broadcaster, “With these auditions, we want to give young Dutch musical talent the chance to present themselves in a unique way to the world. With a special performance by a large symphony orchestra, we aim to show what the Netherlands is capable of in this area, so we call all these young music professionals and students to apply to us.”

The orchestra returns to Eurovision

Between 1956 and 1999, the orchestra was one of the prime characteristics of Eurovision. However, just before the turn of the century, the EBU decided to say farewell to the live instruments as well as the national language rule.

Competing artists are no longer allowed to use live instruments and must perform to a backing track. Musical instruments can only be used as silent stage props.

Since the end of the orchestra, more traditionally-orientated Eurovision fans have been calling for the return of the live instrumentation. In 2015, when the contest was held in classic music capital Vienna, we saw a glimpse of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the opening of the grand final.

Are you excited that the orchestra will make a comeback for a special performance at Eurovision 2020? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more Eurovision 2020 news here

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Hyunwoo
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Hyunwoo

Want BTS!!

beccaboo1212
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Let’s just hope the orchestra doesn’t back all the competing performances. I have a strong feeling the songs will be performed to prerecorded instrumentation.

Hanne
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Hanne

I wanna see Martin Garrix …

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

I am of the opinion that live instrumentation should be allowed but that it’s only optional. A live orchestra or live instrumentation would help certain songs a lot, however it would also harm a lot of uptempo songs because certain sounds can’t be reproduced live as easily with actual instruments. But having parts of your performance performed live should be an option, with Belarus 2015 being a very clear example of a song were it could have really helped with the song.

Ana
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Ana

And now explain us how do you plug in and do a sound check to different instruments in 40 seconds? And then watch Adeles performance in the grammies when the microphone fell on the piano strings and sounded f^cked up through the whole song. Live instruments will take way more time to plug in and proof that everything is working correctly. With so many different performers in such a short time, it will be 100% chance of an instrument fail or sound completely off on live tv. That’s why EBU don’t want that.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Nope. The EBU said that the orchestra is only for the grand final’s interval act. 😉 All 41 songs will be performed to prerecorded instrumentation.

ESC Jonathan
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ESC Jonathan

Great news! Always something special to hear an orchestra in Eurovision

Dr. Eurovision
Guest

I am happy that I had the chance to experience Eurovision with a live orchestra in the 1990’s. It’s something completly different, and even if the songs might not sound like the studio version, the fact that you experience the music with all your senses is overwhelming. And it works with modern ESC songs, too, as the UNESCON 2019 proved: http://bit.ly/unescon2019.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Actually, the orchestra is an interval act.

L’oiseau
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L’oiseau

YES!!! That os great News.

Robbert
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Robbert

Eric van Tijn is no classical composer. He makes just modern music, often using real instruments. And well, a lot of producers use no real instruments because of lack of money, not because it’s more modern. Real strings sound warmer, just like real trumpets. And e.g. ballads can profit enormously from live instruments. But not only ballads. Btw, there are orchestras in the field of live music (e.g. dutch Metropole orchestra) that have synths and keyboard players too. Not old at all.

Tin
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Naturally agree. I made a video about this subject already 6 month ago 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlDYT2ROFcE

HarpyDarper
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HarpyDarper

Great news!
Although I’m surprised they wouldn’t use the Metropole orchestra

Ana
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Ana

I don’t get why some fans get so horny from orchestras. A lot of music today doesn’t use much live instruments. And if it does, those are simple ones like a guitar or a piano. So only few songs would actually benefit from having an entire orchestra on stage. I remember Soldi using orchestra just to do the Clap Clap in San Remo. That’s a joke. Nobody really needs that.

Joe
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Joe

They did more than just the claps

James
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James

Did you really watch Sanremo that time?

Mr X
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Mr X

that´s not a joke – another commentar without any importance.

Ana
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Ana

LOL another douchebag that thinks that only his opinion matters. No, you’re as important as me and my opinion.

Azaad
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Azaad

This is wonderful. It would be nice to allow acts to use live instruments if they wish, as a sort of compromise.

Ana
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Ana

The orchestra is an interval act. It’s like saying ”it would be nice of 2019 organizers to allow acts to use Madonna in their performances, since she’s already there”..

(UK)ame 2020
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(UK)ame 2020

They really need to bring the live orchestra back to Eurovision! It should at least be optional, songs such as “Rise Like a Phoenix” would’ve been breathtaking with an orchestra.

It’s just like karaoke nowadays!

Joe
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Joe

I feel like calling it karaoke is doing a disservice to the performers, considering how many live performers, Eurovision or otherwise, performing to backing tracks since that suits the songs.

Joe
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Joe

Maybe it isn’t quite having the orchestra accompany all or most of the entries, but it ain’t nothing! And seriously, can you imagine the logistical hassle of learning and conducting 40-odd songs, on top of getting conductors that might not even get a chance to conduct their songs again in the final and how they’d fit in a space that already has to be big enough to accommodate 10,000 or so fans and the 41 delegations? I’d love to have live music at Eurovision again as much as the next guy, but given how much bigger and more complicated organizing… Read more »

Jonas
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Jonas

Professional orchestras are up to the task. They don’t have to “learn” the songs – just put the sheet music in front of them and they play. Sure, they need rehearsal with the conductors but for a three-minute piece, how hard could it be? These people play symphonies. I don’t realistically expect the orchestra to ever return, though – not least because it doesn’t really suit the style of today’s songs. I do think live instruments should be allowed, though. How hard could that be? Imagine Italy 2011 live. Miming is stupid. Douwe Bob’s band, for example, could not take… Read more »

Joe
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Joe

That I’d agree with. Maybe it’s the complications of mic’ing/amplifying a whole ton of instruments and keeping track of them? (2016, the year of Douwe Bob, would require amplification for a whole load of instruments. The full bands of the Netherlands, Georgia, the UK, and Cyprus – Georgia would also need something for the wah-wah pedal they love so very much – Poland had all the violins, there was the cellist from Bosnia and Herzegovina…)

Joe
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Joe

I can think of songs each year that would sound great with an orchestra and some where it wouldn’t work at all. Like last year, here’s how I’d break it down:
Definitely would work: Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain (at least the horn section), United Kingdom
Maybe would work: Armenia, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland (THAT would be interesting), Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino (that would be majestic), Sweden, Switzerland
Probably wouldn’t work: Belarus, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Portugal

James
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James

They would still need to rehearse and given the nature of today’s ESC, the orchestra would prove to be too costly.

A live band however would be a whole different story.

Robbert
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Robbert

If only we could get rid of the playback instrumentalists on stage! And a lot of ’empty’ stage-acts could profit from backing singers on stage. Why hide them? Although it’s another subject don’t hide the rare live elements, I would say.

James
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James

Hiding back-up singers have been an option way before the orchestra was ditched in favor of playback, as far back as the 1980’s. Depending on how delegations want to stage their songs, their inclusion should at least make sense as a cohesive part of the live performance.

For example, Belgium in 2017 was originally meant to have backing singers on stage alongside Blanche (hence why Surie and a fellow back-up were all dressed up for the occasion). Upon rehearsals, it was decided that the performance would work better with Blanche singing alone on stage, with her backers tucked behind the background.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Other than that, all the competing songs in Rotterdam will still be sung to prerecorded instrumentation.

willchrisiam
Guest
willchrisiam

It would be nice to have the option to chose, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen again. The logistics would be a nightmare. We already have sound mixing issues almost every year. Plus the venue and stage size would have to increase and add additional dressing rooms on top of that.

beccaboo1212
Guest

That’s why the competing songs are performed to prerecorded instrumentation nowadays. 😉 Don’t worry, the orchestra will not be in the semi-finals. It’s only for a special performance in the finale. In fact, the competing ESC entries will ALWAYS be sung to prerecorded instrumentation, even if a symphony orchestra performs during the interval act.

Jonas
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Jonas

There are many great things about modern Eurovision, but the lack of live music is not one of them. Bands and backing musicians look stupid miming along to a pre-record. Maybe it’s a large part of the “credibility” problem in some people’s minds? Anyway, I’ll be glad to see an orchestra back on the Eurovision stage in Rotterdam.

beccaboo1212
Guest

But only in the grand final.

James
Guest
James

ESCLiveMusic will be pleased when they hear about this news.

I wonder if this is a hint that they’ll also take part in this year’s Young Musicians.

Joe
Guest
Joe

AVROTROS sadly already confirmed that they wouldn’t be returning this year. But hey, maybe they’ll change their minds.

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Damn, it’s the start of january and we know almost everything except for the songs xD

Joe
Guest
Joe

Listen to Shaj again, we’ve got that.

Robbert
Guest
Robbert

It’s part of the good Dutch planning skills