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Feb 26, 2020

"Day of the Drunken Brass Bands" with André Rieu


Maastricht Celebrates The Day of The "Zate Hermeniekes" 
(Drunken Brass Bands)

De Limburger, Jeroen GeertsThe concert was given a new design. For the first time yesterday Maastricht celebrated the "Day of the Drunken Brass Bands" with André Rieu as special guest.

He was there - his voice blares through the loudspeakers, but only a few can see him. The podium contains André Rieu, who has been specially invited to conduct all the bands at the end of the first day of the "Drunken Brass Bands". And who has been placed in such a manner, that he is only visible to a few carnival celebrants on the Vrijthof.  

When the first notes of the Maastricht Anthem are sound, the sky bursts open and immediately tens of umbrellas are being opened. That the ending with André Rieu that was somewhat chaotic, did not dampen the celebration though. Everyone is together to celebrate. "I am looking for a supporting act for my US Tour in two weeks" says Rieu laughingly. And yes, if someone can see his baton, the stand-alone violinist sings "The Slave Choir song" full out and The Vrijthof is transformed into one great mass.

Thanks to John for this with the Translation


Feb 20, 2020

André Rieu Gives Music Education Enormous Boost


André Rieu Gives Music Education An Enormous Boost

Chapeau Magazine, by Jo Cortenraedt:

On all the world stages, André Rieu says that he hails from a great musical region. Where "everyone" plays an instrument. He says that with a smile and wishes it were true.  Because in reality, music education is under pressure. Music lessons in school are for the government no longer a priority, so that is no longer a standard in the curriculum. And for separate music lessons, one has to pay. Something that not all parents can afford for their son or daughter.

The "Jeugdfonds Cultuur Limburg" (Youth Fund Culture Limburg) has been doing something about it for years, but it is not nearly enough. "We think there are more than 22,000 children who are not afforded the opportunity to follow music lessons," says Petra Dassen, president of the fund. "We only reach about a thousand children, so there are still a lot who need to be reached. With André and Marjorie Rieu's gesture we can immediately demand much more attention to our project and hopefully reach many more children."

The idea arose when André and Marjorie Rieu were visiting the Mayor of Maastricht, Annemarie Penn. "She was talking about how much poverty there actually was in the city, and that touched us" says André Rieu. We started to think about how we, in our own way can contribute, knowing that music education in the Netherlands is not doing so well."
Marjorie Rieu adds, "Many studies have shown that music is very good for people. It is good for your health, your humor, your creativity and much more."

The idea was born. "I read somewhere that music lessons for one child for an entire year would cost approximately €425.00," says André. "So, on a certain Sunday Afternoon Marjorie and I  said to each other: "You know something, we are going to give a thousand children the chance to follow music lessons for an entire year. That equates to €425,000.00. That's just not something, you can buy a house for that. We are currently in a position to do this. It comes from the heart." And that is not all.  Experience has shown that out of a thousand students, two hundred will ultimately remain. "There are only a few who will go on to a conservatory, but it is also good if some of them end up at in a musical society," says André. "We also will pay for their follow-on studies." 

At the same time, he and his wife hope that in another year someone else will be reinvesting in music lessons for thousands of children and that, as it were, would start a relay. The name is already there: "The André Rieu relay funds." I will also involve my orchestra to look for children who want to follow music lessons. Many of my orchestra members are already teaching music, and they can help with this project. So we are all going to put our shoulders to the wheel.

Thanks Ineke for article and John's Translation of it

Feb 1, 2020

Frank Steijns Carillon On Display



World famous carillon of André Rieu's orchestra on display 
in the Klok & Peel Museum in Asten, the Netherlands

From: Siris.NL, by AMJM Buenen - Sponsors and connections to the Klok & Peel Museum in Asten were able to witness a unique event on Friday, January 31st. 

During a sparkling concert of the brass quintet of the Nederlands Studenten {(Orkest NSO) Dutch Student Orchestra} and the mobile carillon of Frank Steijns, an agreement was signed for the official transfer of this special instrument of Frank Steijns, 1st violinist in André Rieu's orchestra  and carillon master in Maastricht and Weert. After so many long and special journeys with André Rieu's Strauss Orchestra, this special instrument, which has now reached a world wide audience, becomes part of the museum's collection.

The mobile carillon went on four world tours with André Rieu: in 2006, 2009, 
2013 and 2018. It covered more than 200,000 kilometers (120,000miles) and played on all continents, with the carillon often being introduced for the first time in countries from Bangkok to Bogota. The mobile carillon has already played in around 400 world cities in front of an audience of more than three million listeners. Millions of people were also reached through the video recordings made from these concerts. According to Dr. Luc Rombouts, it made Frank Steijns possibly "the most listened to carillonneur in history".

As the owner of the instrument, carillonneur Frank Steijns attaches great importance to the fact that his carillon, in between projects and tours, plays the greatest possible educational role. That is why he contacted the Klok & Peel Museum . The mobile carillon is now in the main room of the museum where it is used for tours and concerts. This is stipulated in an official loan agreement between Frank and the museum. It is a special asset to the museum because, in addition to being a useful demonstration, the carillon also represents a unique piece of recent history in the renewal and promotion of global carillon art.

Thanks to Ineke for this article and John's translation.


Jan 18, 2020

Prince Colin I (Falize) of the Bokkeriejesj

Prince Colin I (Falize) of the Bokkeriejesj (Billy-goat riders) from Heerlerheide (Limburg) plays the Boléro during André Rieu's world tour.

De Limburger, January 10, 2020 by Siebrand Vos - These are busy  days for the brand new Prince and we ask him everything. Today: Colin I (Falize) (23) from De Bokkeriejesj (Billy-goat riders) from Heerlerheide, a town in Limburg.

The Prince of the Carnival's Association The Billy-goat Riders is always lured first to a secret location in Heerlerheide. Can you tell us something about that?

"My parents had perfectly prepared it in secret with the Princes' Committee. When I opened the door there, I literally fell in due to a stile, which was actually placed there for this effect. Furthermore, I am not allowed to say anything about it because this location could be used again next year. In Heerlerheide it is still a competition to guess as to who the new Prince will be - that says something about how lively carnival is here".

The new Prince hails from a family of percussion instrument players and professional musicians. You're no exception are you?

"No, I am in the final year at the Pop Academy in Enschede (town in Holland) as a drummer. My father and brothers are classically trained. I'm a little bit in between. I am a part time-on-call employee with André Rieu, where as my father Marcel and brother Glenn are in permanent employment. Playing with Rieu just because of the entourage, is a fantastic experience. During the upcoming world tour the four of us (my middle brother Dean is also participating - are playing  the Boléro by Ravel, at the front of the stage. Earlier my father Marcel Falize did that alone”.

Does Colin I also play drums with a brass band?

"No. Only with the band “Jachthoorn and Trompetterkorps Edelweiss” (hunting horn and trumpet corps Edelweiss) and the orchestra “Lift-Off Percussion & Entertainment”.  And also with the Tyrolean music band “Tiroler Ohne Berge” (Tirolers without Mountains), with which we also played during the exclamation. With “Edelweiss” we always participate in the procession of Groeët Ghen Heij. That is one of the largest processions in the region. For me the upcoming procession will be very special, because I am a genuine boy from Heerlerheide. The procession goes from Heerlerheide to Nieuw Einde and then back via Heksenberg. Just imagine: I was born and raised in Nieuw Einde, now I live in Heerlerheide and I rehearse in Heksenberg. Everywhere there are acquaintances.”

Thank You Ineke for the article and your and John's Translation

André Rieu - I Have To Live in a Castle


Gazet van Antwerpen (Antwerp newspaper). January 5th 2020. By Karel Moors - World famous Dutch orchestra leader André Rieu celebrates the New Year also in Antwerp, Belgium on January 12th 2020 in the Sport Palace.

I have to live in a castle, because I am the King of the Waltz
Violinist and orchestra leader André Rieu recently turned 70. The world famous Maastricht resident speaks about his severe upbringing, the cool bond with his father and the increasing success. “I have the feeling that it starts now! Seriously!”

“D’Artagnan, one of the three musketeers ate his last breakfast in this kitchen. He died later that day." Violinist and orchestra leader André Rieu talks about the anecdote at his home, a charming little castle in Maastricht. The 70 year old Rieu is very successful: during his career he has already earned over 493 million Euros. But here in his castle, "the King of the Waltz" can relax. “From a financial perspective, buying a castle is very unwise. But yes, I have to live in a castle: I am "the King of the Waltz”. (laughing).

Since recently you are on tram 7
Tram 7?? Do you mean my age?? I looked forward to 70, I did not mind it.

Do you have much time to relax?
Oh yes, I can do that every day. I watch Netflix for a bit, or I nap in between. I sleep a lot. I can always sleep, every moment of the day.

Isn't there anything that keeps you awake?
I had that after we copied Schönbrunn Palace and we ran out of money. (Rieu had created an enormous décor which turned out to be so expensive that he went bankrupt, red).

That was not so nice. Fortunately we prevailed, and how ... The copied castle was such an advertising stunt that we profited 20 million the year after, while the year before we were 30 million in the red. The bankers from whom we had borrowed the money were in this room looking around and considering what more they could take. But one banker said: “No, we are not going to do that. Let him keep playing on, because that is the only way we are going to get our money back”. We are doing well now. 2019 was a top year and next year will probably be even better. Thanks to the social media I think. More and more people learn to know me via the internet.

There will also be a cinema film?
Yes, that is my son’s project. At first I did not like it so much, but I hear that the cinemas are filled with people who enjoy a streamed concert just as much as a live concert. And now that I turned 70, they want to release such a film. I read that Bruce Springsteen recently also turned 70 and is also releasing a film. That was not agreed upon though (laughing). And in 70 years we will again release a film, because I want to become 140.

You want to become 140 years old?
Yes, for sure! I try to live healthy, I work out regularly. Don’t play tennis anymore (points to his elbow) because that is not good for a violinist. Now I do power lifting with a personal trainer.

Most people slow down a little when they’re 70
I have the feeling that it is now just starting. Seriously! I notice that while traveling the world; finally people in the streets recognize me now. And then of course they also buy tickets. It is amazing.

You are mostly radiant on stage. Do you ever have a bad day?
No, never, unless I am ill. Even then I try to smile and go on. I have 120 persons on my payroll. I give them attention and they reciprocate back to me with 100% job satisfaction.
You know, of course I am the boss. And I am also the conductor of the orchestra. And an orchestra is no democracy, only one is the boss. Period.

Are you a strict boss?
Yes. Very sweet but strict and they know that very well (laughs heartily). But I am also a very respectful boss. Sometimes, when someone is playing a solo, I think - “I would have done that differently, but it sounds very good”. Then I leave it like that. You have to lift the people up. That is a boss’s task. A good boss.

Did you have to learn to be a boss? Or was that in you?
In early days I was part of my father’s orchestra. That was not nice. He was a different kind of boss. You know, with always pointing the finger. I learned NOT to do that like my father did!!

Did your father André Rieu senior experience your success?
No. We did not have such a good relationship either. I started with a Salon Orchestra. I then played for weddings and parties which my father did not like that at all. He looked down upon that.

What would your father say if he could see what you’ve accomplished today?
I really would not know. It is easy to say: “He would be proud”. But he was not that kind of person. I have never experienced my father saying: “Gosh, I am so proud of you”. I never heard that. He never said so. Never. Not even when I was a little boy. That is cold, but I have to deal with that. My mother was also strict with me; I was not allowed to look the people in the eyes. But I like doing that. I love to make contact with people, with entire halls. And I think that is also my strength. Well, I think I have always been different than the family at home.

You are the King of the Waltz, but are you actually a good waltz dancer? 
No, not at all. Sometimes I dance a little bit at home, with my wife, but not in public. I play the violin and the others dance. Let’s leave it that way!


Thanks to Ineke for the article and her and John's Translation

André Rieu 70 Years Young Dutch Cinema's


André Rieu 70 Years Young

Cinema movie. In Dutch cinemas on January 18 and 19, 2020. De Limburger, January 15, 2020. This coming weekend the film "André Rieu: 70 Years Young" can be seen in 110 Dutch cinemas. For this movie, the maestro himself selected memorable moments from his career., Together with the British presenter and interviewer Charlotte Hawkins, the waltz king from Maastricht looks back on his life and shows highlights from his concerts.

What would have happened to André Rieu if as a little boy, he hadn't received a violin lesson from a beautiful eighteen-year-old blonde? Would he still have chosen the four-string instrument and had become a successful orchestra leader? Or would he have then led a much more anonymous life as a pianist or oboist?

It is a question that remains after watching the film "André Rieu: 70 Years Young," which premiered the first weekend of January in 1300 cinemas in Europe, North and South America (except the US) and Asia and can be seen in 110 Dutch cinemas next Saturday and Sunday.

In this film, Rieu speaks about his youth. How he, as a three-year-old boy went to the concerts which his father conducted and became fascinated by all those bows going up and down simultaneously. And how he was pushed by his parents to try out all kinds of musical instruments, such as flute, piano, violin and oboe. In the end, little Rieu chose the violin. Because of an atractive female teacher, he says laughing.

He also says that the years he spent in the church choir of the St. Servaas Basilica, made a big impression on him. “The rays of sunlight that fell through the beautiful stained glass windows, the priests who swung the insence censer back and forth and the beautiful music. All the theatrical elements that I now use in my shows, I learned there”.

Yellowed photos

Many photos from the yellowed family albums pass by. André as a toddler, teenager and adolescent. Rieu speaks about his memories with presenter Charlotte Hawkins. About the first encounter with his wife Marjorie: "I was 11 and she 13"; the first performance of his Salon Orchestra in 1977; and ten years later the establishing of the Johann Strauss Orchestra and the big breakthrough with the album “From Holland With Love” (VHS tape)  in the mid-nineties. And the blockbuster: Rieu’s version of The Second Waltz by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Did he expect that success, the female interviewer wants to know. So no. "I remember that the record company said we might maybe sell 25,000 copies. They turned out to be more than a million. Amazing!

The orchestra leader becomes emotional when the female interviewer asks about the Schönbrunn project in 2008. Rieu had the famous Viennese palace copied and reconstructed and went on tour with it. It almost led to his bankruptcy. The waltz king had to work so hard to pay off his debts that he almost lost everything. Tears appear in his eyes when his son Pierre says in front of the cameras that the entire family supported him in that difficult time. André Rieu: "They all said: "We love you no matter what happens, even if you stop”. 
"That gave me the strength to continue."

105 year old nun

For the film, the 70-year-old protagonist selected excerpts from his most beautiful concerts with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. We see impressive recordings of shows in New York, Melbourne, Vienna, Bucharest, Mexico City and - where else - Maastricht. On the Vrijthof we see Rieu dancing a waltz with Sister Leona, a 105-year-old nun, who passed away a few months ago. She was his biggest fan.

At the end of the 2.5 hour film Charlotte Hawkins wants to know if Rieu is going to take it easier now that he has turned 70.

Rieu: “And then sit at home doing nothing? I feel young. I am 70 years old and I intend to turn 140. I am only halfway there. So you are not yet rid of me".

 Thanks to Ineke for the article and her and John's translation


Dec 22, 2019

Rieu's Christmas Concerts Taste Like More


André Rieu's Christmas Concerts Taste Like More
Even international visitors were spotted in the MECC in Maastricht

Chapeau Magazine, by Jo Cortenraedt-Dec 21, 2019
The expectation was that the first series of three Christmas concerts in the MECC in Maastricht would in primarily attract visitors from the region and the rest of the Benelux. After all, a new concept, and with the experience of the Vrijthof concert shows where first the people from the region came to look curiously and that fans from the rest of the world would connect and come later over the years.

But it is true that indeed there were particularly more Limburgers, Dutch and Belgians in general on the first night of the three concerts in the MECC. But there were also already a striking number of visitors from, for example, England. We also spoke to guests from Barcelona who had never been to Maastricht and who had now come to travel here specially. And even South American fans - among other from Chile - had just boarded an airplane just before Christmas.

André Rieu's  worldwide fame immediately creates a great deal of interest. The maestro himself was very relieved after the first concert. "You have it all in your head, but it must also become a reality like that," he said immediately afterwards."I noticed right away that the audience was impressed by the decor. We invested a lot of time in that and left nothing to chance. We now hope to make this a tradition in the coming years and then earn back some of our substantial investments."

For son Pierre Rieu it was proof that good acoustics can indeed be brought into the MECC, as long as they are done professionally. "All sorts of concert organizations have already come to see how we have did that, so I do expect something from that."

With a lot of dancers and skaters, Christmas trees and digital Christmas decorations, the Christmas atmosphere developed well. Especially when 'snow' gently drizzled on the audience. A highlight in the atmosphere was an infectious gospel choir from Paris that with the Johan Strauss Orchestra along with turned the MECC upside down.

The 11,000 spectators per night, went home satisfied. Some even preferred the MECC to the Vrijthof because of the exceptional atmosphere. "And it was just as warm there then it was outside in the summer."


Thanks to Ineke for the article and John's translation

"Hopefully Rieu Concerts Will Become a Tradition"



Christmas
"Hopefully The Rieu-Concerts 
Will Become a Tradition"

Maastricht: By Kim Noach: André Rieu spared no expenses in order to provide his "Maastricht" with a Christmas fairy tale world. The European Song festival seemed to have bypassed the city, but if it is up to Rieu, a new Christmas tradition has been born in the MECC.

From Leonard Cohens' "Hallelujah", the swinging gospels "When the Saints go marching in", to the nice-pick-me-up "Skaters Waltz" , and the "Second Waltz", with which André became World famous, are all numbers which will be played during the first Christmas show by the Maestro in the Maastricht MECC.

For the first time in his career, André Rieu can be seen in his own hometown with a Christmas show. Three concerts in a row, which can be enjoyed by 11,000 visitors at a time, who will also enjoy a Winter Wonderland in the convention center.


CHRISTMAS WORLD
Rieu, the perfectionist he is, has spared no expenses in transforming  "the ugly grey hall" of 100 by 100 meters (107639 square feet) into a Dickens like Christmas World, where 300 dancers, 82 skaters, sopranos, tenors, and a gospel choir will also make their appearance. How much this will all cost him, the maestro will not say, but that he would like to come back for several more years during Christmas: "In order for the investment to be profitable."

ICE RINK
Fair is fair: the results - after ten days of construction - are here. He who crosses the threshold strolls into a Winter Fairytale Land in which volunteers of the Maastricht Operetta Association welcome you, dressed in Dickens type costumes. Just like the couple Trudy and Hans Bollema from Maastricht are visually enjoying themselves in the roll of host and hostess. "I hope this will become a tradition. But why? Because something this grand, you will only experience once in your life." Where one turns right onto the horeca (hotel, restaurant and cafe) square where skaters pirouette on an ice rink and the hot chocolate is steaming, Brian Ceulemans and Carlijn Bouts from Berg aan de Maas, go directly into the main hall. They are definitely noticeable between the predominantly fifty-plus audience. Since Rieu is not on top of their Spottily list, they are here again since: "I was on the Vrijthof this past summer, and I have to say that the show was really tops" says Carlijn.

BIRTHDAY
The majority of the audience are fans  - these people come from France, Germany, England and even Sweden.  No matter what Rieu does: his audience adores him. From the happy medley of Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride and White Christmas to, of course the moment when three hundred dancers - the ladies in their royal blue princess gowns -  appear and dance to the music of the "Second Waltz."

That piece is for the Maastricht choreographer Kimberly Smith the highlight of the evening, so she says. Since 2016 she has been the choreographer in the Rieu shows. "It is an unbelievable feeling when the dance couples enter the hall. I get goose bumps from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Also, today is my birthday. And this is the best birthday present I could wish for" says Smith laughingly who will be blowing out 37 candles. A toast to a new tradition.  

Thanks to John for the article and his translation

Dec 16, 2019

Rieu's Christmas Shows Almost Sold Out



Rieu's Christmas Shows
Almost Sold Out

Maastricht, Dec. 16 de Limburger: The Christmas concerts which André Rieu will be performing this weekend in the MECC are almost sold out. 

According to Rieu's spokesperson, more than 33,000 tickets have been sold for the three performances. The shows for Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon are totally sold out. Only for the Friday evening performances are several hundred tickets still available. Each performance can accommodate 11,400 visitors in the MECC.

This will be the first time that Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra will perform "Christmas Concerts" in his birthplace and home town where the MECC has been transformed the last few days into a Fairytale Castle of a Wintry decor, complete with ice rinks. 

During the concerts sixty ice skaters will make their appearance, plus three hundred dancers will be performing along with a gospel choir and the Platin Tenors.

Thanks to John for this and the Translation

André Rieu Does Not Think About Stopping


André Rieu does not think about stopping. 
"What I Do is Unique"

Nederlands Dagblad by:Sophia Geuze: In the beginning of October violinist and conductor André Rieu turned seventy. But he doesn't think about stopping. During Christmas time he will be given three Christmas concerts in Maastricht and in the New Year China beckons. Also the film "André Rieu: 70 Years Young premieres." I have a unique position in the Dutch music."

For the first time Christmas concerts  with your orchestra. What is your favorite Christmas number?

"There is a lot of beautiful Christmas music, but I have two favorite pieces. The song "Minuit Chrétien" gives me goose bumps every time. That is why I recorded it a few years ago with the male choir "Mastreechter Staar" and my sopranos. The second piece is the Christmas concert by Arcangelo Corelli. I used to think it was beautiful back then when it was played by my father's orchestra. It sounds very intimate and a bit mysterious. I think that's why it appeals to me so much."

What does Christmas mean to you?

"For me, Christmas is a period of rest, reflection and refueling for the next year. When younger I used to go to the Midnight Mass with my sisters, brothers and parents, and although I am no longer an avid churchgoer, I still find a Catholic Night Mass very special. I live across from the St. Peter Church and around Christmas I often hear the choir sounds coming from that church. It is beautiful. The huge bell "the Grameer" of the St. Servaas Basilica in the center of the city can also be heard. That sonorous sound gives me a very warm feeling."

How do you celebrate Christmas?

"After the last concert - this year for the first time Christmas concerts in the MECC in Maastricht - I, together with my orchestra and all our employees celebrate Christmas with gifts for everyone. I spend Christmas with my wife, our boys, their wives and of course our five grandchildren. We give each other presents and enjoy a self-prepared Christmas dinner."

Your concerts resemble an ideal world without borders and polarization. Are you consciously looking for that?

"I am certainly aware of that. Wouldn’t the world look different if we were all playing an instrument instead of picking up a weapon? If you look at the earth from space, the boundaries disappear. We are only humans and we have to work together. Music knows no boundaries, it is the art form "par excellence" that goes straight to the heart and actually needs no words to be understood by so many. Music is a universal language which we all speak and which we can all understand. How beautiful is that?"

How would you describe your role in Dutch music?

"I think I have a fairly unique position in Dutch music. My breakthrough took place in the mid-1990's - as they always call it. I had then recorded the Second Waltz as a single and it sold like wildfire. The CD with this song on it, stood in the top ten of the Album Top 100 for a year,  between Marco Borsato, the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls. I try to make classical music accessible to the widest possible audience, because I am convinced that this kind of music is meant for everyone. Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart must have been real pop stars in their time. If they had lived now, they would probably have thousands of followers on Instagram and Face book and all the girls would want to take selfies with them."

How do you explain that you and your music are so popular in the Netherlands and far beyond?

"You will have to ask my fans that. I think the explanation lies in the fact that our concerts and music are borderless. The audience is invited to show all emotions. Laughing, crying, dancing, being melancholic, it's all possible and everything is possible. In addition, everything is authentic. I am really touched by the music I play. I choose my repertoire with my heart and that makes me almost certain that it will affect my audience just as much as it does me."

You are recognized everywhere. What does that do to you?

"That is the "fate of fame", I am simply a public figure. It is all part of that and it almost always goes well without any precarious situations. Sometimes it is a little less pleasant, for example when I am on vacation. Then occasionally people claim you and accost you for a selfie and a signature. Usually they leave me alone and I appreciate that."

You were already playing the violin when you were five. Why that instrument?

"All the children in our family play one or more instruments and each of them was chosen by our mother. She was convinced that the violin suited me best and she was right. No other instrument in the world is able to respond to my inner feelings like the violin. I also had oboe and piano lessons, but nowhere could I place so much passion into it as in the violin."

You said in interviews that your father had little faith in you. What do you do differently as a father?

"I hope that I most certainly do it different. He was a conductor, not only in the workplace, but unfortunately also at home. Everyone had to dance to his tune and do what he thought was right. Dealing with that was not easy. I think I am different in that at home as well as with the orchestra. I like to give people the space to do what they are good at, praise them in what they do and try to lift them up above themselves. Whether my father did that at his work, I can't remember.  As a father I am certainly different. I don't think I act the conductor at home. Otherwise my wife Marjorie would have definitely put a stop to that."

You have a lighter taste in music than your father who was a conductor. How did that happen?

"My father did indeed conduct the "real" classical works - for example a symphony by Mahler or Bruckner - but as an encore he often played a waltz by Johann Strauss. I played as a violinist in his symphony orchestra for a number of years, but I wanted to have more contact with the audience. With that in mind I founded the "Maastricht Salon Orchestra" in 1978. My father-in-law had a whole collection of gramophone records with hits from the 1920's. Since our first audience was mainly residing in retirement homes, I assumed there were probably people who would remember the music we played. So I slowly developed a different taste in music than that of my father, but that does not alter the fact that I can still enjoy Bach's cantatas. I love Aafje Heynis and I love Claudio Monteverdi's madrigals. For example, during my concerts I play the Bolero by Ravel or a part of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, but  won't play them entirely. That doesn't fit the atmosphere of my concerts."

You are best known for the waltz. What in it touches you?

"My father often played it as an encore. One time when I was playing during such an encore, something special happened. The audience, which had been sitting very quietly all night, slowly began to move back and forth. I was dumbfounded. Years later I discovered the magic power of the waltz myself. Everything is in the waltz: cheerfulness, sadness, melancholy, you name it. It is impossible to stay unaffected when you hear that compelling three-quarters time rhythm. There are many beautiful waltzes, but one of my favorites is Franz Lehár's "Gold and Silver" waltz, which I have been playing with great love for forty years. I don't dance myself, I leave that to my wife Marjorie. Let me gleefully play the waltzes, that is better for everyone."

How do you manage to conduct an entire orchestra, play the violin and involve the audience?

"I am what they call a "Stand-alone-violinist", which is a conductor who simultaneously plays the violin. Johann Strauss also did that during his time, and violinist Willy Boskowski conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in that manner for many years during the famous New Year's concerts from Vienna. By speaking to the audience I make contact with the people. That is very important to me. I could never just come on stage, stand there,  and start playing without saying anything to the people."

You have celebrated your 70th birthday. Some people cannot wait to retire. You continue. Why and how long?

"Old age pension, taking it easy;" those are terms which do not appear in my vocabulary. I will continue as long as I am afforded the time to make many people worldwide happy with the music I and  my orchestra play. I don't have a standard nine-to-five job. I have the best job in the world and I hope to keep that up for many years to come. "

What happens to your orchestra if suddenly you'd be gone?
"I'm never busy with the future. That is something I absolutely do not think about. I want to grow very old and just keep on going."

Who are your idols?

"Johann Strauss is a composer and musician whom I really admire. I also greatly admire my teacher Herman Krebbers, and Toon Hermans for his unique sense of humor. I would really like to perform with Bruce Springsteen. I am jealous of his endless energy, the way he performs and then gets the audience involved. "

A cinema show will follow in January with highlights of your career. What needed absolutely to be include in that?

"The concert in Vienna in front of Schloss Schönbrunn in 2006. No one had ever before us played at that place, and not after us either. I am always very proud of that since it was allowed by the Viennese authorities. Vienna is for every musician very special, and  I like going there. The year after Schönbrunn we gave a concert in the center of Vienna in front of the imperial Hofburg. There are also some highlights from that concert in the film, including the ballet of the Vienna State Opera."

Where is the best place to perform?

"Then I choose my home town of Maastricht where I prefer to be. Since 2005 we've organized concerts there every summer on the most beautiful square in the Netherlands, the Vrijthof. It feels like a home game. Throughout the year we give eighty to one hundred concerts on all continents. Afterwards we almost literally come home and all those people come to our "living room" to again end another year. "

Is there a place where you haven't played yet but would really like to do so?

"There are still some nice places. I would love to play on the moon, but that will not be possible for the time being. We are busy with concerts in China, Greece and in Malta. We went to Portugal in the spring of 2019, and we will return there in the fall. We also experienced our fire baptism in Colombia. It all tastes like more."

Thanks to Ineke for this long article and to
John for his translation of it.

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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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