Jože Privšek

Born: March 19th, 1937, Ljubljana (Yugoslavia, nowadays Slovenia)
Died: June 11th, 1998, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Nationality: Slovene

Jože Privšek proved his talent as a pianist and vibraphone player from a very early age onwards, founding his own five-man jazz orchestra, ‘Ansambel Jožeta Privška’. In 1961, when he was only twenty-four, he took over the baton of the Plesni Orkestar Radio Ljubljana (the dance orchestra of the Slovenian broadcaster) from Bojan Adamič.

Under the leadership of Privšek, this band, which was later renamed Ljubljana Radio and Television Big Band, became an internationally much-acclaimed ensemble, performing abroad and winning the prize of the Deutsche Phono Akademie in 1978 for best recording of the year, beating the orchestras of world stars Max Greger and James Last. During his time as the musical director of the big band, Privšek wrote more than 4000 arrangements for it. Under his aegis, talented jazz musicians, including Emil Spruk, Petar Ugrin, and Ladislav Rebrek, got the opportunity to excel as soloists with the orchestra. Upon his retirement in 1992, Privšek was succeeded by Lojze Krajnčan.

In the 1960s, Jože Privšek was one of the most sought-after composers and arrangers in the light entertainment business of his country. Songs of his, interpreted by artists such as Betty Jurković, Alenka Pinterič, and Berta Ambroz, participated in the countless music festivals in the former Yugoslavia, including Opatija and Slovenska Popevka. Other artistst with whom Privšek worked in the recording studio during the 1960s and 1970s, include Edvin Fliser, Neca Falk, Oto Pestner, and Majda Sepe. Moreover, his big band was called upon regularly to record orchestrations for other artists, including the 1970 and 1971 Yugoslavia Eurovision entries sung by Eva Sršen and Krunoslav Slabinac.

Among all conductors of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jože Privšek has perhaps the most peculiar record. In 1961 and 1962, when he was in his early twenties, he was composer, arranger, and conductor of the very first Yugoslavian entries to the festival, ‘Neke davne zvezde’ and ‘Ne pali svetla u sumrak’, sung by Ljiljana Petrović and Lola Novaković respectively, and both musically quite original tunes. More than thirty years later, in 1993, he returned to the competition as the conductor and arranger of the very first entry of Slovenia as an independent state, ‘Tih deževen dan’, which, in the rendition of the 1X Band, scored badly, but has a very distinctive and pleasant jazzy arrangement to it. Until his untimely death in 1998, Privšek orchestrated and conducted two more Slovenian Eurovision entries, the beautiful ‘Prisluhni mi’ in 1995 and, one year later, ‘Dan najlepših sanj’.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Jože Privšek will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1961: Neke davne zvezde
1962: Ne pali svetla u sumrak
1993: Tih deževen dan
1995: Prisluhni mi
1996: Dan najlepših sanj