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Nov 21, 2016

André Rieu Sets Event Cinema Record

André Rieu Sets Event Cinema Record

Deadline Hollywood November 21, 2016 - André Rieu has done it again. The Dutch violinist’s CinemaLive holiday special, André Rieu: Christmas With André, has topped his own previous box office record, becoming the highest-grossing single-day music concert event of all time at UK and Irish turnstiles. 

Screening at 480 locations on Saturday, the concert grossed £1.162M ($1.45M), beating Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht concert which had sold £1.034M in UK/Ireland tickets. Saturday’s event featured a never-before-seen recorded Christmas concert, a personal live tour of Maastricht and a live Q&A with Rieu, aka “The King of Waltz,” who’s known for his energetic and festive live performances. 

The concert also screened in 223 cinemas across Europe, including in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. On November 27, encore screenings will be held at 290 cinemas across the UK & Ireland, plus 57 more in Europe and at select dates in Australia and New Zealand. Canada celebrates Christmas with André on December 1.

Oct 5, 2016

André Rieu Performing on ABC's DWTS!

From André's Facebook Page Today: USA mark your calendars! 
André Rieu will be performing on ABC's Dancing With The Stars next Monday at 8/7c!

André Rieu, "King of the Waltz” 
To Perform On Dancing With The Stars

ABC's Dancing With The Stars: International phenomenon André Rieu, known to millions around the world as “The King of the Waltz,” is set to perform. Rieu is the first artist to appear on the show along with a full 60-piece orchestra to perform a major opening number with “My Heart Will Go On.”

Sep 29, 2016

Free Rieu Concert Tickets Gone in Less Than Two Minutes

Free Rieu Concert Tickets Gone in Less Than Two Minutes

De Limburger - September 2016: On Tuesday, the 630 available seats for Rieu’s free mini-concert for 30 September on the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Plein (Our Dear Lady’s Square) were gone within two minutes, so says director Sione Götte of the Derlon Hotel which oversaw the ‘pre-sale’.

Over Booked

"Within 7 minutes we had receive 997 requests, so we had to turn our web site off real quick. That also meant that we had to disappoint a lot of people. And to keep everything in order attendees will not be assigned a seat until they have received a confirmation from us.

Australians

The vast majority of the reservations according to Götte went to the residents of Limburg. "It is a real Limburg party. Yet there are also a few people from Belgian Limburg scattered throughout. They come from places like Bree and Bocholt. However, most strikingly is the family Francis from Cranbourne in Australia who managed to get through. All the way from Australia, just for thirty minutes, that is hard to believe."

Re-opened 42 Times

Another notable fan was Melanie Burchartz from Heerlen. "She really wanted two tickets so she reopened our page 41 times. But rest assured, she will only receive 2 tickets and not 82," Götte laughs.

Max

The Rieu concert and his entire orchestra was an initiative of Broadcasting Company Max. This company travels throughout the country with "the Time Max" caravan and broadcasts a week long from the Vrijthof. The broadcasts began on Monday, September 26th every day. The final Friday Max broadcast was moved to the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein (Our Dear Lady’s Square) specifically for the Rieu concert..
The last time the Maastricht violinist performed on the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein was in 1999.

Thanks to John for the Translation

Huge Trees Force Rieu To Creativity

Preparations For The Mini Concert

Huge trees force Rieu to creativity by L1 news - A mini concert by Andre Rieu will be aired live from the OLV (Our Dear Lady’s) square on Friday by broadcast station MAX. Two huge trees at the OLV square are creating a few headaches. Right in the center where the stage needs to be are namely two huge trees.

Cut Them Down

A problem for which Rieu already had a solution. "I told the city to cut them down and make violins out of the wood; they turned white. Of course it was a joke. I am a lover of trees. They will be receiving a place of honor on the stage. The orchestra members will be placed nicely around them.

Procession

And so, nothing more stands in the way of the mini concert – the violin virtuoso will probably perform for a half hour. Rieu might be performing a surprising repertoire. "As a youngster I often walked in a procession. The song that was often sung was "Sterre ter Zee" (Star of the Sea). Wouldn’t that fit just right on this square? The older Maastricht residents know the text by heart, just like I, so who knows whether or not I might play that."

Free

The concert on the square is part of the TV series "Time for MAX" which airs daily from 17:00 – 18:00. On Friday a large part of the program will consists of Rieu’s concert. Admittance to the square for the concert is free. There are a few restrictions: people are not allowed to bring chairs and umbrellas are also not permitted.


Thanks to Ineke for the article and John for Translating it.

Sep 20, 2016

Rieu: Preferably One Sip Of a Good Red Wine


Rieu: Preferably One Sip Of a Good Red Wine

Seventeen years after his last concert on the Onze Lieve Vrouwe plein (Our Dear Lady's Square) André Rieu and his entire Orchestra will return there albeit for only thirty minutes. From Argentina the orchestra leader let it be known that he would love to perform longer. "If possible, but not for three hours."

Maastricht by Ronald Colée - "It is not always the best" André says laughingly on the telephone from Buenos Aires. "It is the same with wine. I am happier with a sip of a good red wine, than an entire bottle of port. " The Maastricht orchestra leader is currently in the Argentine capital where he and his Johann Strauss Orchestra are performing six concerts in the Luna Park Stadium, while referring to the free mini concert which he will perform on the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Plein (Our Dear Lady's Square) in Maastricht on 30 September.

"I was approached by the broadcasting company 'Max' and they asked me if I wanted to close the Maastricht week of the "Time" by the MAX caravan with a concert on the Vrijthof. I did not see that materialize. I just finished seven concerts in a row there for 18,000 people per concert. That square is too large for a program like this. In addition I know what it entails to perform a concert like that. Just think about all the preparations for instance, but also the closing off traffic. That is why I suggested to change to the Our Dear Lady's Square. That is much more intimate and cozier. Initially it was not possible, but in the end it became reality."

Complete Orchestra

Rieu does not expect that the surprise performance will lead to a stampede. "This concert is in no way comparable to a Vrijthof concert, even though we are performing with an entire orchestra. A Vrijthof concert lasts three hours, this one only forty minutes, including an introductory conversation. So that will actually only leave us thirty minutes." If it was up to the orchestra leader, he would like to play a little longer. "But I understood from my studio manager that there would be another broadcast by MAX right after mine. So I think we can only play at the most for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes." For lovers of his Vrijthof series who were hoping this would become a yearly event, the orchestra leader has to disappoint them.

One Time

"I am now 66 and have always said that I will live to be 120, so I will go on with the Vrijthof for a while longer" Rieu laughs. "Or it could be that broadcast station MAX is going to ask us every year. But that is not the case. I see this as a onetime event where I can show the rest of the Netherlands the most beautiful Our Dear Lady's Square in the world. I like to linger there when I am in town. I just hope it will become a cozy half hour. And I am not at all worried about the weather. Because when I and my orchestra perform in Maastricht it is always good weather."

Thanks to John for the article and the Translation of it.

Sep 12, 2016

The Stand-Alone Violinist Divided By Five

The Stand-Alone Violinist Divided By Five

Yesterday at the Cultural exhibition (Parcours)there was a first: the revival of André Rieu's Maastricht Salon Orchestra. A magical crowning at the opening of Maastricht's Cultural season.

Maastricht by Vikkie Bartolomeus: The original scores had to be restored. And the rest from the time of the 'heringenbieteconcerts" (herring bites/eating concert) has been kept as original as possible: the clothing, the setting and the famous Toselli Serenade. André Rieu was the only one absent at the revival of his own 'Maastricht Salon Orchestra'. Well, in the back ground he was more than present, and later on will be directing. "The only thing he does not do, is play along. He says, "I am too old for that and besides I do not have the time." Frank Steijns is one of the five members from André Rieu's Orchestra performing in the new Salon Orchestra. Almost forty years later Rieu gave new life to this chamber music ensemble. Steijns says, "With the big concerts, we see André's enthusiasm, now we need to do that with the five of us. That is a totally different way of making music. The five of us went into quarantine until we had the proper sound."


The idea of a revival of the Salon Orchestra came about after a small delegation of the Rieu Orchestra had performed for some foreign guests. It was an immediate hit. The music is André's, it is under his direction, and we will not imitate him."

Frank Steijns plays the piano and does the presentations, Roland Lafosse plays contra bass, Cord Meyer second violin, Tanja Derwahl cello and Gosia Loboda has the difficult task of trying to approach Rieu's violin playing. "The stand-alone violinist is being divided. Actually André is being split into five pieces." Could the Salon Orchestra be a forerunner of Rieu's eventual retirement? Steijns laughs, "No, André always says that he will live to be 120. And performances with the Rieu Orchestra have priority."

There was a huge crown at the Parcours. At more than thirty places in the city center the public could get a taste of the exhibitions participating in the new cultural season.

"A mix of tradition and newness. That is why I am so thrilled that André Rieu awarded us with this event. I never expected it would be so busy" said Tom Berghmans, member of the city center management.


Thank You to John for the article and translation of it.

Sep 1, 2016

He The King of Waltz ~ She The Crown Princess

Floating Over The Entire Vrijthof

He is the king of the Waltz, she the crown princess

Kimberly Smith from Maastricht managed 150 ballroom dance couples who transformed the Vrijthof area during the concerts of André Rieu into a large magical Viennese dance floor.

Maastricht by Vikkie Bartholomeus: Whether or not he himself can waltz? Of course André Rieu can waltz. She has already danced with him during a CD presentation." And that went fine, perfect. The king of the waltz waltzes very well!" Kimberly-Kim Smith says laughingly, although she is actually too tired. In the past weeks she has been responsible for 150 ballroom dancing couples who will be waltzing over the Vrijthof during André Rieu's summer evening concerts. She had goose bumps when she first saw 'her' dancers float on the Vrijthof. "It was magical. Magical is also the word André uses a lot to explain what he wants."

He first made contact in February. They knew a little of each other: Rieu's sons once took dancing lessons in Kim's dance studio at her house; her parents are still very active worldwide as trainers and judges in the dance world. "André asked me: "Kim would you be able to manage eighty couples? I want the entire square to be dancing. He already had a picture of that in his head. Dark, glittering gowns, magical. He has an enormous vision. That is why he has come so far." Those eighty couples actually became one hundred and fifty, presented as "the Maastricht Dance Company." They came from all over: the Achterhoek (Eastern Gelderland province), Waalwijk (City in Noord Brabant), Germany and Belgium. "We have them from all levels and all ages above eighteen." They consist of senior champions, professional dancers and world champion wheelchair dancers. We held ten couples in reserve in case of injury or illness.

The preparations were intense. Kim travelled all over to have them learn their choreography. "André plays with a lot of feeling, but does not keep to a strict tempo. He adds stops and moments which makes it quite difficult for the dancers. That is why they were all given the music so they could practice."


He already had the image in his head. Dark, glittery gowns, magical.

Only two weeks prior were there two combined rehearsals in Genk under the all noticing eyes of the maestro. "André really sees everything, and directs with humor. And finally, as sort of a director for the dancers, he is correct." For the ladies, all the glittering gowns were custom made: for gentlemen who did not have a tuxedo, one was measured and one was provided. The compilation of the choreography was also not an easy task. "There could not be too much movement since the couples would be too close together in the pathways and in front of the stage. But all together they should move very easily. During completions, dancers are used to dance across the entire floor, now they had to move in place. That took some getting used to."

Entry and exit were tightly regulated. The dancers left the Vrijthof with 'scattered chassé', skipping in high tempo. "I stood by the exit gates moving everyone along in order to prevent congestion. Every show has to be tops. You cannot afford any mistakes." During the encores, dance partners were taken from the audiences. "Very emotional things happened. One of the dancers asked a 77 year old lady who used to be a prima ballerina, but had difficulty moving. He carried her. That lady was so happy she was able to dance again for just a little while."

Kim Smit has been dancing at top levels since her youth, and has participated in world championships with her Australian partner. During the TV program 'Dancing with the Stars' she taught Bart Chabot to dance. She also participated in the Belgian variation of 'Dancing with the Stars'. In addition she was one of the choreographers for the musical "Dirty Dancing' which played in places like London, Berlin and Chicago. Kim Smit was honored that André asked her. "It is so nice that ballroom dancing has now been focused on for a bit. It is something classical, timeless, really a heritage. It is fantastic that André promotes this." What is so beautiful about waltzing? "You float, and that is a wonderful feeling."

Thanks to Al and Ineke for the article and John's translation
Photos by Berys McEvoy and Patrick Verweire

Aug 24, 2016

Teun Ramaekers - Always On An Adventure With André

Always On An Adventure With André

Teun Ramaekers plays the flute in André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra. In 1987 the famous violinist called him and asked him to go on an adventure with him. "Luckily we now receive more respect and appreciation."

Maastricht: The Limburger by Ruud Maas and Peter van de Berg - It is roughly an hour before Teun Ramaekers will leave the Theater on the Vrijthof in his tuxedo and go to the stage on the other side of the square. Dressed in a plaid shirt the 62 year old flutist sits quietly in the hall of the theater. There is no nervousness especially since playing in his own home town suits him the best. Since the end of the eighties he has been travelling with Rieu and has experienced all the successes from very close up. 

Actually Teun has known his 'boss' his entire life. His elementary school was located next to the parental house of the violinist, and so he saw the four years older future world star regularly playing in the street. Years later they learned to know each other much better when they both attended the Liège conservatory and traveled there together. After their educational training, they both went their own way, until Teun's telephone rang in 1987. Rieu called with the question if he would like to join the Johann Strauss Orchestra as flutist since the orchestra was being expanded. "Most advised me against it since the future would be very uncertain, but I was looking forward to go on an adventure," Teun said. "The enthusiasm exploded. The first years were unbelievably fun, we made it seem like a party." Ramaekers quickly realized that Rieu had the 'golden' touch. "All theater performances in the Netherlands and Belgium were sold out, which was not normal. We were just starting out, barely had two lamps for a decor, but yet every place was full. You could see the successes grow. And then, "THE HIT," the Second Waltz, which was the cherry on top of the cake.

Limburger Criticism
Meanwhile Rieu and his large-scale concerts on all the continents has become the most successful artist worldwide. "That André did all this by himself, I find it extremely special." Maybe that could be the reason why André never held back, Ramaekers thinks. "Look at the current cultural climate, lots of curtailments. And Rieu does not want to have anything to do with subsidies, for himself as well as us he has created a totally independent position." But still, there is criticism the flutist acknowledges. Aren't they not playing light classical music seriously enough? Is it so exceptional what Rieu does? "But those you hear less and less. The first years, yes, especially and typically primarily in Limburg. The last few year we now receive more respect and appreciation. And that makes me happy." In the meantime full squares and stadiums alternate. Are you getting used to that?

Concerts like here on the Vrijthof are still very unique. The atmosphere is so very special. No other orchestra can achieve that.

"The first time in the 'Ahoy' (large stadium in Rotterdam, the Netherlands) was amazing, what a crowd. We now frequently perform in such stadiums, so we are getting used to that. And yet, recently we played on the Ceausescu square in Bucharest, Romania, which holds even more people than here on the Vrijthof. Which remains so very special. The atmosphere is so very special. I dare say no other orchestra can manage to do that." Since these two have known each other for such a long time, that does not necessarily mean that they serve as each other's sounding boards. "In the beginning, yes, occasionally, but now André of course has his own family to discuss substantive issues with. When we speak quietly it is primarily about private matters. Music is then not discussed."

Pneumonia
Ramaekers who sits diagonally behind Rieu on stage finds him to be a caring individual. "We do not desert each other. Just take an extra aspirin when you don't feel 100%. We keep going unless it is really impossible. Once André sent me home when I had pneumonia. You can really feel bad, but once you are on stage it is like ecstasy."

The musician is now 62 years old, but has no plans to retire his instrument. "The periods of lengthy concert tours is now behind us. Previously we would be gone from home for four or five weeks, now no longer than two. After that we return to Maastricht and rehearse in the studio. This is an exceptional balance. I cannot predict the future, but as long as André keeps going, I will be there with him."


Thanks to Ineke for the article and John's translation

Aug 15, 2016

Frank Steijns - The Best of Two Worlds

The Best of Two Worlds

To be locked up alone in a church tower or to be fully engulfed in the spotlights during a Rieu concert.
  
July 13, 2016. Limburg Newspaper, by Ronald Colé: Maastricht citizen Frank Steijns (45) is the city carillon player and is also violinist with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. "Everything in my life revolves around music."
You don't expect it: The image you have of a carillon player is that of a lonely old man who painfully climbs the stairs of a church tower to practice an ancient and dying profession, just for a tip.

That is not true in the case of Frank Steijns from Maastricht. Born in Bilzen, he has not only been the Maastricht city carillon player since 1997, the 13th in the row since 1672, but is also carillon player for the towns of Weert and Heerlen. And a very good one too! He does not play standard tunes like "Tulips from Amsterdam" or "the Big Ben", no, he also plays current day hits.. When David Bowie passed away "Heroes" rang out over the Vrijthof, and with the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones, "Lady Jane" echoed over the Market. Last week with a tenor and a mezzo soprano, he strewed about the city of Weert the music of Westside Story. And recently during the Booch Festival in Heerlen, heavy metal music could be heard from the church tower.

Sailor Suit

Steijns was 5 years old when he was first allowed to enter the tower of the St. Servaas cathedral with his father Mathieu, to use the new carillon. "In a nice white sailor's suit. Afterwards, when I left the tower it had turned pitch-black, but I knew that my future profession would be: a carillon player". Not really too trendy for a little boy, overweight with glasses and a violin. But that did not bother him. "You just have to do your own thing in life". The English say it so nicely: "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life". I wholeheartedly agree with that.
After secondary school, Steijns choose the Conservatory in Leuven (Belgium), where he studied both violin, music theory and orchestra management, followed by the Royal carillon school in Mechelen. He had hardy received his certificates, when André Rieu called him. Early in the morning at 7.30 AM, the day after my graduation. He was looking for a violinist who could join him the same evening in Nijmegen, where the Four Days Walk festivities were taking place, and asked me if I would like to join him. I said "Yes" and I never left him.

Photographer

So hot! In the meantime Steijns has developed as a Jack-of-all-trades within the Johann Strauss Orchestra. He is not only a first violinist, but also a replacement pianist during performances, and he accompanies the singers on the piano during rehearsals, assists with writing arrangements, and composes waltzes and other new music pieces together with the orchestra's conductor.

Besides that I update the website and I am the in house photographer for the orchestra. André rather likes that, because I know exactly when I can or cannot take pictures.

The question arises as where he finds the time to do all these things. Besides traveling the world 150 days per year with the Maastricht standalone violinist he also performs some 175 carillon concerts per year. Everything I do has to do with music, therefore it is no effort. Besides I can do it at my own leisure. If my body requires it, I take some rest. Actually, when we are on tour, I just have to perform between 8 and 11 PM. So what stops me during the day from visiting a museum, or taking a nap? Or read a book with an headset on?

But it is true that I lead an intense life. Outside the André Rieu concerts I drive about 45.000 kilometers (about 28,000miles) every 6 months in my own car. Not counting the train and plane travels. This is purely for my carillon job. Once I flew to New York, and back during one weekend, where at the prestigious Yale University one of my compositions for carillon and soprano premiered.

Recently I went to a reunion of the conservatory of Leuven.
Of the fifty students, there appeared to only be three who actually still sit on the stage.

Pilot

Yet he would not trade the life he lives for for all the gold in the world. I recently attended a reunion of my conservatory education class in Leuven. It occurred to me that only 3 music students out of 50 were actually still on stage, which included me. Amongst the others were many directors of music schools, a producer of Andrew Lloyd Webber and even a pilot!

Don't even ask him to choose between his job as carillon player or violinist.. That is the same as having to chose between your father or mother. "An impossible choice."
As a carillon player you are anonymously playing in a church tower to people who do not really listen to you, while you are still fully responsible for every note you play, the planning and the repertoire. With Rieu I am just a small cog in the machine and when in a sense, I just show my face, tens of thousands of people start cheering. These two musical worlds do fit and complement each other seamlessly.

Frank Steijns would not want to trade the life he leads as carillonneur and Rieu violinist for anything in the world.

Emotions

Quietly he hopes that as a carillonneur he achieves the same success Rieu has achieved as an orchestra leader. On a smaller scale of course. "I have performed with André Rieu in a small theater with an audience of 200, and admire the vision he has: what works for 200 must also work for 2000. And if it works for 2000, than it must also work for 20.000. So if I am successful in touching 2 people with my carillon, then that must also to work with 20". 

Hence the tirelessness in which he continues to promote his instrument. "In the 18th and 19th century the carillon was the instrument of the ordinary people who could not afford a live Mozart or Offenbach concert. And it currently is still the same. And so recently I met a lady who emigrated in 1946 to Australia and had recently returned to the city of her birth, Maastricht, to attend a Rieu concert. The buildings were the same but she did not recognize the city any more. Until she walked over the St. Servaas Bridge and heard the carillon of City hall. Then she realized she was home. Doesn't that say enough?

Thanks to John for the Translation

Aug 13, 2016

Rieu Not Yet Finished With Drone

Rieu Not Yet Finished With Drone

Limburger by: Laurens Schellen

Where has it been? The in the beginning of July confiscated high-tech drone of André Rieu. Behind lock and key in a secured police depot somewhere in the Netherlands. As confirmed by the Aviation Oversight Commission.

The very much talked about drone of André Rieu which the police confiscated last month in Maastricht after one of his seven sold out performances on the Vrijthof, is still behind lock and key. In one of a specially equipped and well-guarded 'property seizure' installations of the national police according to spokesperson Dennis Janus of the Aviation Oversight Commission in Amsterdam. Janus will not reveal the exact location for security reasons.

Risky More than a month after the controversy surrounding the Rieu-drone it is still unclear whether the orchestra leader's unmanned aircraft will be returned to him. The costly little helicopter, weighing several kilos and equipped with high-tech equipment, circled in early July two evenings illegally over the Vrijthof recording the concerts for a feature film about the concert series. According to the police, flying a drone over a busy city center is by definition risky, and is therefore forbidden if flown without permission. Moreover, Maastricht is located in the approach path of arriving aircraft landing in the municipality of Beek. 

According to John Drummer, a professional drone pilot, drones cannot be flown there under any circumstances. In answer to questions by this newspaper, Janus indicated that the investigation in this matter is still ongoing. "That should be completed within a few weeks and then the case will be transferred to the public prosecutor. Ultimately it will be the national public prosecutor for aviation matters who will decide on the punishment and penalties," Janus explained. The severity of the case is not yet known. "I cannot and will not further elaborate about this case. Normally you will not go to jail for flying a drone illegally. Unless you place air traffic or people in danger." Case laws show that in most cases fines are imposed. Also permanent confiscation of a 'bad' drone is a possibility. 

Spectacular. 
Production manager and son, Pierre Rieu, was  not available for comment 
yesterday, but was able to save the spectacular recordings by the flying robot in time. By the end of July, all the Vrijthof recording done by almost thirty cameras, were aired via satellite connection as a worldwide premier to almost two thousand cinemas. Just in England alone, where the movie played in almost 550 cinemas, receipts for the just one weekend showing were nearly one and one half million pounds. A huge contrast in comparison with the minuscule price tag of that mini-aircraft, which experts estimate to be between ten and twenty thousand. 


Translation by John 

Aug 12, 2016

"Invent Design" Makes an LED-Dress for André Rieu's Concert Tour


"Invent Design" Makes an LED-Dress for André Rieu's Concert Tour

"Invent design" transformed a wedding dress into a rainbow dress with LED lighting for the new André Rieu concerts which recently took place  at the  Vrijthof in Maastricht. Soprano Mirusia Louwerse, who wore the dress, changed from a white to a colorful appearance during the song "Over the Rainbow".

In collaboration with the tailor and Maurice Verbeek lighting designer, along with André Rieu, "Invent Design" examined as to where in the dress to position the LEDs so they would present a smooth but uniform color.

"The LEDs had to present a rainbow effect horizontally, as well as vertically and diagonally. "With appropriate advice by "Invent Design" and the company's flexibility that was not a problem," said Verbeek.

Translation and Photos by John

Jul 6, 2016

Photo From Privé Magazine Today

Jul 3, 2016

André Rieu: My Father Was Mainly Concerned With Himself

André Rieu - My Father Was Mainly Concerned With Himself

Libelle July 2, 2016: His parents did not know what would become of little André (now 66). Fortunately he met Marjorie who believed in him. The rest is history: millions of CDs sold, a private orchestra, a castle of his own.

An interview about love and the waltz, which changed his life

Your father was a conductor. Did he stimulate you to go into music?
No, my father was mainly concerned with himself. He did not interfere with the children. He was hardly present in my youth. Of course his love for music did influence our family. We attended his concerts, there was always music in the house. He was immensely musical, so that is in the genes. He was of the pure "classical music", André says with posh voice. Heavy, serious music. Music that the elite has claimed. It did not make me happy. Marjorie brought the light music into my life. She brought light into my life anyway.

How was your life before you met Marjorie?
"To me it feels like my life really started when I met her. At that moment I was studying at the Conservatory in Brussels, but I did not feel any passion, I was not inspired. I did what I had to do. Till then there was no one (including my parents), who had ever believed in me. Only I did. My parents thought that I would not make it, because I was dreaming all day. But Marjorie believed in me and from that moment I started to develop. That was the start of everything".

It lasted a long time before you broke through. Did you have to work hard?
Certainly - I started from the bottom. After the Conservatory I founded the Maastricht Salon Ensemble and we played at festivities and parties. My father hated it, that I preferred the light music, but I loved it. We were playing close to the audience and every time the hall responded so well. Whether we played for a wedding or a group of lawyers, at the end of the evening everyone was enthusiastic. I saw that it worked, that it was the music that touched people. But I had to beg for seven more years before someone was willing to make an album with me. When I knocked at the door of a Record Company, they always asked what kind of music I was playing. I answered: "Operetta music and waltzes". I saw that they were thinking: Go and play for your grandmother in the south (of Limburg).

How did you keep confidence in yourself?
"It has always been my dream. I was convinced that our music could give something to people. So we continued and trudged on. I knew by the people's reactions, that it was not only in my mind. It was a matter of pushing through and having a little bit of luck. Finally I met someone from a record company who was willing to attend our concert in Harlingen, because he lived there. Afterwards he came to me and said: "I understand what you mean". He allowed me to make an album and said: "If we have sold 5000 CDs at Christmas, we are okay". That year we sold 20.000 and half a year later it was increased to 900.000. That is how it started".

Did your wife play a part in your success?
"In 1987 I founded my own orchestra, the Johann Strauss Orchestra. We started with 12 members, in the meantime we have 50 members. I remember that Marjorie and I bought the seats for the orchestra at the market and we upholstered them ourselves. We did everything ourselves, because at that time nobody believed in me. The beginning was a hectic time, with two little boys at home and my career starting to grow. From the beginning my wife and I did everything together and that is what we still do. I think that is our secret: my musical success is our joint venture. And also Marjorie is my main sounding board.

Do you intend to slow down a little now?
No, I don't think so. My son Pierre, who is the vice president of the Rieu Company, often says: "Please, quiet down you both ... " But we are like the owners of a supermarket, who have to open the door each day, put the advertisement outside.
These people become very old, because they feel a necessity. It's nice to work for your own company. At this moment Marjorie is busy to have my biography, which she wrote a long time ago, translated into Limburg dialect".

Some years ago you changed your way of living.
"Yes, that was a necessity. I believed for a long time that I could maintain the traveling, the performances, the irregular way of living, without caring for my body very well. That was stupid. My body stopped me at a certain moment. One night I woke up and everything was spinning around. It appeared to be an inflammation of the vestibular. That is caused by stress. I could not work for a few months and I had to cancel shows.

After that I hired a personal coach and a few times per week I go jogging and do power lifting with him and I changed my diet. He also travels with me when I am on tour. At present I'm the fittest and the oldest of my entire orchestra", he says laughing.

Besides the personal trainer, a doctor and two chefs join the orchestra on tour.
"Earlier everyone used to think: The King of the Waltz is going to visit us, so let's make him a Wiener schnitzel. At a certain time we had enough of Wiener Schnitzels. Often the quality was not even good. After half of the orchestra had been ill by food poisoning, we decided to take our own catering and chefs.

Thanks to Ineke for the Translation

Jul 2, 2016

André has set up a Webcam of his own. It just has this one view, 
but it plays his music while you're watching it and has a countdown to the concerts!

Jun 20, 2016

The Dream Factory of Rieu and Son Pierre

Rieu and Rieu Keep Each Other Sharp
Dream Factory of Rieu and Son


June 18, 2016 by Arno Gelder - From the Limburg News and AD Newspaper Passport: André Léon Marie Nicholas Rieu, born Oct. 1st 1949 in Maastricht. Son of a conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, studies the conservatory, founded in 1978 the Maastricht Salon Orchestra. His passion for the Viennese waltz resulted in the forming in 1987 of the Johann Strauss Orchestra. He scored a hit in 1994 with the Second waltz of Shostakovich. Travels the entire world with his orchestra. Privately: Married to teacher and author Marjorie and is father of 2 sons: Marc and Pierre.

Passport: Pierre Rieu, born June 24, 1981 in Maastricht. Studied law, but built a career at André Rieu Productions Company. There he organizes everything which is nonmusical. According to his father he is indispensible, he is an all-round genius. Privately: Married and father of the twins Linde and Lieke.
Pierre can be annoyed by his father's determination. André thinks that his son is "a very sweet boy".  Pierre does not interfere with his father's music, that is the agreement. But IF he has comments, André takes him serious. "Without one minute the CD recordings were in the trash".


First there is "Vlaai". Of course! Cherries with whipped cream. A visit to the Rieu castle, the picturesque "Huis de Torentjes" (house of the turrets) at the foot of the Pieter's Mountain in Maastricht, is not complete without the Limburg delicacy. André and Pierre receive the visitors the traditional way in the salon with the golden curls, mirrors, ornaments, paintings and pink ribbon, a part of Schönbrunn Palace in the south of the Netherlands.

André (66) and Pierre (34) are not only father and son, but also president manager and vice president of André Rieu Productions, with 110 employees. And also they are neighbors, sport partners and best friends. "I live just 20 seconds distance from dad" says Pierre. "When he returns home from far away, he passes by my house. He is not allowed to stay here too long, because then we have an issue with my mother". André admits: "Then Marjorie gets grumpy. After many weeks abroad she likes to embrace me first! But when I see Linde and Lieke ... that is a feeling of constantly being in love".

Outwardly their resemblance is striking. His other son Marc (37) father of his other 3 grandchildren and a painter, is more like Marjorie. Also inward André and Pierre have certain similarities. For sure they share one trait: Perseverance. An extremely tough kind of tenacity that defines the continuous success of the family business, which substantially lets the entire planet waltz. From Belfast and Bucharest to Melbourne and Mexico City. Everywhere fans are dancing at the romantic melodies of the Viennese waltzes. Together with a few Dutch Disk Jockeys, the Maastricht violinist and his Johann Strauss Orchestra belong to the best musical export products of the Low Lands, for many years.

Pierre: "My father is a perfectionist and a goer. That's what I admire in him. At the same time, I can be annoyed about his perseverance. Sometimes I think: Please just let it go ..."

André: "Pierre is a very gentle person. Preferably he would help the entire world. That's what I think is important. Our company cannot be without him. He is an all-around genius. He started at the bottom of the ladder, now he has reached the management level. He can do an amazing amount of things at the same time. If I say: "Did you think of this and that.." then it's already done. In a moment... at his smartphone under the table.

When André Rieu and his orchestra traveled to the United States for the first time, there were three tour busses waiting for them in New York, which had to be insured. "Nobody seemed to be crazy about the risk of insuring all three busses and an entire orchestra with all the instruments. Pierre traveled a few days earlier to the USA, searched the entire city and found an insurance company which was willing to insure us. He had just turned 19 and worked with me only 6 months. Believe me, he is a goer, like his father".


If private and business are so entwined, doesn't that cause problems?
Pierre: "In the beginning it was difficult. When I had worked through all layers of the company, my dad gave me the leadership. I got introduced to the staff. "My" staff, because suddenly I was the boss. I remember that mom and dad had tears in their eyes. And me? I almost felt like diarrhea was going to run down my legs ... I had to create my own style and system into the company. After three weeks I saw my father change into an employer: "Why is this not ready, why is that not done?" Then we had a good conversation to clear up the work balancing. I deal with everything, except the music. From the technique to the décor, to the filming by a drone.

André: "And sometimes also with the music ... " We have big plans to really conquer the United States next year. We are fully supported by our record company. To support the American tour, which will start in 2017 the proposal was to create an album with a focus on the waltz purely as a dance. Not the flamboyance of the Blue Danube, but dance music in a tight triple time. The CD was almost finished, when Pierre said: "You should not do that, dad, it's not the music of YOU". That's what I needed to hear: within one minute the CD was in the trash.

Sure we were successful at the other side of the ocean before. But it was too modest, in André's opinion. Last year they spoke to Lucian Grainge, the absolute supreme God of Universal Records, which has been Andrés record company for 20 years. The boss owes you something, he said. "We're gonna do our very best to make it work this time". In 1995 the then director of Universal Netherlands visited the American headquarters. "I have got something nice for you", he said. "A violin player who sold 900.000 CD's in Holland". They stared out of the window and said: "Holland? where's Holland?". We should first prove ourselves to another continent. We succeeded, even on multiple continents. But, as André concludes, "You do not conquer the USA in one afternoon". Pierre adds: "You have to arrange everything by yourself. Making phone calls, sending mails, being there. If you call the producer of Ellen Degeneres or Dr. Phil, they say: "André Who?". Or the usual: "Don't call us, we'll call you ..." If you talk during a conference call about Holland, they ask: "Holland Nebraska?" If you talk about Sydney, they say: "Oh, you mean Sidney Ohio?"

In early days we concluded that British people live on an island,  but also do the Americans. Only their island is much bigger!!

North Pole
From where does this urge to spread the happy waltz message all over the world come from? Even in space! André Rieu still wants to be the first man to play on the moon as he announced a few years ago. A performance on the North pole has been placed into a fridge, but don't be surprised if he suddenly plays in a gigantic igloo on the arctic continent. Pierre: "This is dad. As a young boy he had a dream: bring the music to the people. Although we sometimes cannot cope with this, he likes to realize his ultimate dream". André: "This urge comes from the way I have been raised. I come from a family where classical music dominated in its elitist form. My grandma only listened to music on the radio when she knew who played the piano. "Granny", I thought, "who cares, just enjoy". "If I come home and walk past Pierre's house, I sometimes hear one of the girls playing the piano. So nice! I then get tears in my eyes. In my days it was: "Haven't you practiced yet?" Pierre does not push them. That’s how it should be with music: don't pay attention to the musical notes and errors". Just let those kids go. Regularly I am asked as a judge in a musical contest. I decline these invitations. Music is not a contest. Teachers at the conservatory may judge. I don't tell a child that plays well, that 'John' plays even better. That’s not my style. I hated snobbism from a very young age. I cannot stand that some people feel themselves better than others. When Marjorie came into my life I felt: this is pure, without false pretentions. I have passed that on to my boys. And I hope as a grandfather to pass that on to my grandchildren as well".

Pierre: "Only for the photographer I wear this shirt. I prefer to wear a T-shirt with as many holes and stains as possible. Until my wife says: "Don't you have a meeting with an external relation in the office? Please get changed".
André: "Prejudices do not exist in my and Marjorie's life. Those are disastrous, you ruin so much with them. I never look down on people. I don’t care who is sitting in the hall. Baker, mason worker, solicitor, doctor, they are all equally dear to me. For all counts: Open your heart and enjoy".

Pierre: "The classical establishment pukes at you and the pop circuit envies your success. Classical musicians play in an orchestra which depends on subsidies. They see your ensemble travel all over the world. In packed halls without any subsidy".
André: "There are enough people from the classical world who appreciate me. I had a great compliment from the Israeli violin player Maxim Vengerov. And from Zubin Mehta, a famous Indian conductor. Those are no small names".

Meetings will take place in Rieu's home, where also the offices are located, but as minimal as possible. The top brass of the company will meet each other on the stairs or in the corridors. "If I was changing the diaper of one of my girls, we exchanged information at the dresser". Pierre said.

Health
Additional advantage of the intimate bond between father and son is that Pierre keeps an eye on his father's health. In the beginning of 2012 André was struck by a burn-out. I note that it will never happen again. It is annoying when I get a muscle strain, but when he gets a shoulder injury we'll have a big problem. We are working out together, led by a personal trainer. I may say: an executioner! Ruud Gransier is doctor, nutrition and exercise expert. Just this morning I said to Marjorie that he has kept me free of injuries for the last 4 years. Don't be mistaken: I have a standing profession, I stand on stage for hours. I cannot even sit down, with my tuxedo ...

By the way: according to him I have a body of a 40 years old. The diet has changed completely. Nowadays I eat rye bread with smoked beef. That's it."
Pierre: "Mwahhhhhh...."

André: "If I see a piece of French cheese at the catering table after the concert, I smell it and decide if it is worth to become overweight from it. Well, every now and then I can take something nice, under the condition that I keep moving. No one can constantly maintain a strict diet".

Pierre: "True. Movement is the most important. I eat seven times a day because I keep on moving all the time. In the morning I start with oatmeal, yogurt and grapefruit. In between I sometimes eat canned tuna. I feel great, I am never hungry. It only works if you are not staring on the couch at Netflix seven hours a day ..."

André: "It is wonderful to work with your son. We are grateful to live here. Earlier people asked me: "Why don't you move to Monaco?" I never considered that. From the bottom of my heart I can say that it is not fair. No tax paradises for me. When everybody should pay their taxes, everything should be solved. I could not live without the Netherlands, without Maastricht, for sure.

 Thank You to Ineke for the Translation!

Jun 4, 2016

 André Rieu in Lodz
 Thanks to Gitti Marie

May 15, 2016

Without Marjorie I would have ended up in the gutter'

Without Marjorie I would have ended up in the gutter

From the weekly paper "Party": He composed a waltz for the 90th birthday of British Queen Elizabeth, sells more concert tickets than Byoncé, employs an orchestra of 60 members and has been named the biggest musical export product of the Netherlands. André Rieu (66), the King of the Waltz, will again conduct a special concert this summer on the Vrijthof square in his hometown of Maastricht.

André Rieu: "I find it more difficult having missed a grandchild's birthday than having lost 30 million."

André, how do you feel?
"I feel fantastic! And I really look forward to the summer concert later on the Vrijthof in Maastricht."

Excellent! Because twice you had to take a long time off due to exhaustion and a virus infection. There were no earnings while the salaries of your 60 man orchestra continued to be paid. Are you now taking better care of yourself?
"My doctor warned me all the time that what I was doing is compared to top sports. And accordingly the somber life of a top athlete goes along with that." Looking back I can say that he was right." After I had been ill so long for the second time, he advised me to start working out with a personal trainer and have him direct me so I remain in better shape. I have been doing that ever since and it suits me really well. My personal trainer gives me nutritional advice and under his direction I work out three times a week. I do both strength training and cardio workouts and feel very fit, fitter than ever!"

Almost 40 years ago you were happy if you could play for a wedding somewhere with your 5 man orchestra. Now you play with your 60 person Johann Strauss Orchestra for hundreds of thousands of people in sold out stadiums over the entire world - and you live in a 17 century castle...Quite a difference!
"Yes, sometimes I do think back to those beginning days. Although our public was much smaller we were always successful and performed with pleasure. But through this big difference I have learned that a person can achieve much more than he thinks he can. You only need a bit of courage for that!"

Which do you regret more: the loss of 34 million on a much too expensive traveling decor including a palace, expensive dresses, fountains and a golden carriage? Or that you missed the birthday of one of your grandchildren because you were on tour somewhere?
"The latter of course! I have never regretted the monies I lost. Even though it was many millions. It was really sad and if I had gone bankrupt (André was indebted to the bank by 12 million in 2010) it would have been really sad. But with hard work I earned those monies back again, and then you just forget those things, no matter how strange that might sound. Totally different then with my grandchildren, because I will never forget them, no matter where in the world I am. That is why I grab every chance I get with both hands to spend time with my grandchildren - because that is really the most beautiful thing there is! My wife Marjorie and I now have five and I love them to pieces."

You have a family business. Your son Pierre is vice-president of the Rieu family business. What is it like to work together as father and son?
"It is fantastic. We know one another through and through, trust each other 100% and respect each other's qualities and ideas. And if we sometimes disagree with each other, we can just quietly discuss it in a "Rieu" manner without it leading to an immediate confrontation or irritation."

It is often said that behind every successful man a strong woman stands. Which roll does your wife fulfill in you?
"I have to be honest. Marjorie is everything to me. Without her the entire business would not exists, I would never have ventured out and taken the step myself. Marjorie and I do literally everything together. We produce the repertoire for concerts, CD's and specials together. We write the texts and also lead our company together. Really, if she had not been here, I would have ended up in the gutter!"

Huge artists like Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber are often involved with groupies. How do you handle them when away from home? Do you then show them your wedding ring?
"Oh, honestly, they really do not bother me that much. Most of the people know very well that I am happily married and do not sit and wait for advances from strange women. Besides, I do not wear a wedding ring, it interferes with my violin playing! Even without a wedding ring, I am still very happily married!"

After 40 years of marriage, do you every now and then still play very romantically a love song for Marjorie on your violin?
"Not real love songs, but there are certain pieces she loves to hear me play and I play those with pleasure for her."

You have achieved so much in your career. What wishes do you still have?
"We are busy with preparations for a huge tour with our orchestra through the US and Canada including a TV campaign there. It would be great if we would succeed, because I really do like to play in America. The audience is incredibly fun and spontaneous. (Woo-Hoo!)

And to perform on the moon? Well, if the opportunity ever arises, I would like to be the first. But no matter how big my plans and dreams might be, my wife, my children and grandchildren are more important to me than any performance whatsoever!"


Thanks to Ineke for the article and John's translation

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André on The Theater Steps" by Bee

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André and Pierre on The Theater Steps" by Bee

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