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►Listen to André Rieu Playing "Ben".

Feb 1, 2016

André Rieu Dishes Up Good Food Like a God in France.

Melodies in "Ess-Dur". (Pun with: "eat"(B)-Major)
When the big hunger comes, Marko Schmidt jumps into action. 
The kitchen manager makes sure they are all content.

Bild Stars Magazine: The Waltz King dishes up good food like a God in France. André Rieu considers it of greatest importance that his employees and he eat the best and healthiest food. And that is Marko Schmidt's responsibility when on tour. The skilled kitchen Chef hails from Querfurt in Sachsen, Germany, leads a team of 5 persons, and takes care of the catering while on tour. During a one tour-day he has to prepare six meals.

The meals have to be fresh and healthy. Schmidt mostly buys at the local market.

This is Schmidt's daily-schedule:
9.30 AM: A hearty breakfast with scrambled eggs and bacon for the crew.
12.30 PM: Lunch, we only offer one meal, often pasta or lean meat.
3 PM: Soup. For orchestra members who arrive in the afternoon.
5 PM: Dinner, buffet style, with more variety to choose from. We prepare fish-, pasta-and vegetarian dishes and also two meat dishes. Always with fresh salads.
9 PM: During the concert intermission backstage we serve coffee with homemade cakes and cookies.
11 PM: After the concert we have snacks available. They are healthy bites, like deviled eggs for instance. And there is always cheese and fruit available. We dispense with deep fried snacks at this late hour.

For Schmidt the day mostly starts at 7 AM. Because he has to gather all the ingredients. In Australia, China, Singapore, USA, Chile, France ... no matter where Rieu is on tour. "For that we mostly use a so called runner. That is often an employee of the local production company who knows the surroundings and knows where to find the closest market. It is important that he has a car and can drive me." The kitchen is always there with us on tour. It is transported by truck and set up in the venue. Except in the USA, where it is forbidden. There we have to set the kitchen up in a tent in front of the concert hall".

Does Rieu personally determine the menu?
"No. It must be healthy food. He has, however, forbidden coriander. He does not like it, and I do not either. The Rieu chefs are all freelance workers, and with 100 concerts per year they are in his service for six months. The other times they have to find other jobs. For instance I have cooked for James Last or I did the catering for Stefan Raabs WOK-World Championship".

Which dish do the orchestra members prefer?
Something typical Dutch, like "stamp pot"
(Hodgepodge). That is mashed potatoes with endive and carrots. Or "Zuurvlees", a kind of goulash prepared with vinegar, apple syrup and gingerbread to give it the sweet and sour taste. And so Marko Schmidt serves them "a piece of home", although far away.

Rieu's Little Kitchen Music
Not only is the violin André Rieu's passion. Even in his kitchen he composes many top hits.

"A good steak and French fries" I indeed find that superb. But sometimes it has to be more refined. I love Italian cuisine. Especially "Ossobuco". Ossobuco means "Bone with holes", because of the hollow bone, which runs through the calf's shank. There are several recipes for Ossobuco. Here is André's personal recipe: the way he and his family like it best.

Ossobuco With Spaghetti:
Ingredients: 200 gram onions, 200 gram celery, flour, Chile powder, 8 slices veal shank, olive oil, salt, pepper, 30 grams of butter, 200 ml white wine, 300 ml veal stock, 1 clove of garlic, 8 stalks of parsley, grated lemon zest, and of course spaghetti.
1. First of all I chop the onions and the celery.
2. Then I mix three tablespoons of flour with the Chile powder and coat the shank slices on both sides in the mix.
3. I heat 5 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, fry the slices, two at the time,. Salt and pepper them take them out.
4. Then I heat the butter in a frying pan, add the onions and celery, clear with white wine and add the veal stock. I let the shank slices stew for about two hours while covered. Please turn once.
5. Next I chop the parsley and garlic and add grated lemon zest.
6. Half of the mix I add to the sauce 5 minutes before the meat is ready. The rest I sprinkle over the dish.
7. Many like to eat Ossobuco the Milanese way with rice. But we prefer to eat it with spaghetti.

Translation by Ineke and John

Jan 24, 2016

Buying The Armored Mercedes From André Rieu?

Mercedes-Benz To Be Traded For a Tesla Model S
Buying the armored Mercedes-Benz from André Rieu? by Bart Oostvogels | Autovisie

AMSTERDAM - André Rieu thinks it is time for a new car. Therefore he has placed his 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG with long wheelbase up for sale on Marketplace (The Dutch version of E-Bay)

The S65 AMG with long wheelbase was one of the most expensive Mercedes cars on the Dutch market in 2007. Back then the car had a price tag of over 309,000 euro, without the armor. The asking price now stands at 129,000 euro (figuring a depreciation of 20,000 euro per year). Still a big sack of money, but you will also get the necessary extras. Rieu's car for example, is heavily armored. It has extra thick metal sheets and reinforced windows. The S65 AMG has to withstand a hail of bullets without any problems.

It Is a Monster
According to the ad, it is a "limousine with a monster under the hood". And they are not lying, because the S65 AMG features a 6.0 liter V12 gasoline engine with two turbochargers. Enough for 612 horsepower! The car can travel at more than 300 km/h (180mls/hour) and has a modest number of 109, 321 kilometers (67,928mls) on the odometer. If it could be sold for slightly less than listed, is not known. But André Rieu's CD "Greatest Hits" will definitely be included.

According to a spokesman André Rieu now drives a Tesla Model S. 
With which he is overjoyed.

Thanks to John for this and Translating it for us.

Jan 12, 2016

Happy Birthday John From The Harmony Parlor!!

Photo I took of just one of my fun memories with John

There are not enough words to thank John for all the hours he puts into The Harmony Parlor to bring all of us the News of André in English with his German and Dutch Translations!

Happy Birthday and we wish you Good Health and Happiness for the coming year!!

Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd John!!

Dec 27, 2015

Son Pierre Rieu, The Manager

Son Pierre, The Manager
He is the most important man at his father's side - and he has a very remarkable hobby.

Bild Stars Magazine: When Pierre speaks about his father, he does not call him papa or dad, but always André. For the 34 year old, André is his buddy - and at the same time the chef. A Bochum social scientist once made a discovery that career men only have two minutes time for their children each day. "Although André is a world star, he was always there for us" says Pierre. "When my older brother and I were in school André practiced. And when we returned home, most of the time he was already waiting for us. Whenever possible, he took us with him on his travels." In the meantime, Pierre has been working for André Rieu Productions B.V. for the past 15 years. "When Pierre as a 19 year old started to work for me, he was the youngest production manager in the world" says a proud father. Today, junior as Vice President, meticulously prepares for the worldwide tours. His most spectacular project: the copying of Schönbrunn Castle in full/original size for the 2008 "World Stadium Tour."

Pierre actually wanted to become a lawyer. "But after five weeks at the university I had enough. I did not like those boring law studies. If you've only worked once behind the scenes in a concert, you'll always want to be part of this exciting club again. In the middle of a job he made the most important decision in his life, he says. Eight years ago, Pierre was busy with the production of a DVD in the Dutch fairytale park "the Efteling." One evening a colleague called and noted that he thought that the director of the DVD projects would be the ideal girl for Pierre. Pierre: "I did not take this matchmaking attempt seriously. But when I worked for four months very closely with Eefje on the DVD, I realized that she actually was my great love." The rest of the story is just as corny as the "Kiss-Waltz" by Johann Strauss. Pierre and Eefje married and had twin girls, Linde and Lieke (now 6) Pierre Rieu: "On the Efteling DVD one can listen to "Tara's Theme" by Max Steiner. No musical piece touches me as deeply as this one. André and my Mom, Marjorie had a music-box made with this piece of music. Every evening my daughters go to sleep while listening to this music."

But Pierre Rieu refuses to become a "Perfect World" type person. He has a very remarkable hobby. In a large warehouse, the André Rieu Production B.V. company stores beautiful ball gowns, noble costumes, golden carriages and other artifacts to be used for the Waltz-King's tours. On the same premises- hidden behind a heavy steel door -is a war like backdrop: here Pierre Rieu collects tanks, jeeps, uniforms, helmets, camouflage equipment, gasmasks and field telephones from the Second World War. No, Pierre is not a militarist-even though he has the biggest military collection in the Netherlands. He only has one mission. And that is to build a museum-for the young people-so that the atrocities of the Nazis never will be forgotten.

That ambitious project is also the focus of their own family history: Marjorie Rieu's German-Jewish father was being persecuted during the war, while Marjorie's mother joined the resistance. Pierre Rieu: "The students of today may never forget that real war is not a video game. What it means for someone, having to flee and leave all their belongings behind. What is it like to lose a family member. And, would I be brave enough to bring a persecuted person into my house?"

When André hears the words of his son, he says thoughtfully; "If the Americans had not freed us, we would not be able to travel all over the world with our own orchestra." In moments like this, the bond between father and son is now much more noticeable than ever before.
Thanks to John for the Translation 

Dec 14, 2015

Interview with André Rieu about Christmas, Family and Music

Interview with André Rieu about Christmas, Family and Music

From a German Roman Catholic paper: Religion had an unbelievable influence in my life. By Sabine Just.

Star violinist André Rieu fills the biggest stadiums in the world. He started his musical career as a child in a church choir. In this interview the 66-year old speaks about childhood memories, music from the heart and his plans for Christmas. Beginning January 14th 2016 he will be touring through Germany.

Mr. Rieu, soon it will be Christmas. How do you celebrate these holidays?
I have been offered millions for giving a Christmas concert somewhere. But for Christmas, I am at home. My children will cook, that is a nice tradition. We will all be together with the children and four grandchildren. No one can tear me away from that!

You love to play "Ave Maria" in your concert. Is this religious touch in your music important for you?
Yes, I was brought up Roman Catholic. Here in Maastricht we are almost all Roman Catholic. And I can tell you that this religion has had an enormous influence on my life. From the age of 5 to 11 I sang in the church choir. I always tell the audience that if they like to give their children a musical education, the best is to send them to a church choir for their musical and social development. I have very fond memories of the time in the church choir.

What are these memories?
I remember one festive day that we had sung a long Mass by Haydn. The sun shone through the colorful stained glass windows, ten priests stood to the right side and ten to the left, and the church was filled with incense. This atmosphere impressed me so much that it will never leave my life. In the meantime I don't go to church so very often anymore, which I have to admit. But the Christian values that have shaped and characterize my life are still part of that today.

What outside the Christian values is important to you?
My family is most important in my life. I travel around the entire world and I can do that just because I have a family. I was born in Maastricht, I live in Maastricht and I will die here. I firmly believe that a permanent residence is a place to come home to and that is simply important.

And of course the music.
Music always plays an important role in my life. Music, I think, is the kind of art that touches most hearts. And I make music for others, with my heart. When I am asked where my success comes from, I usually answer: "It's the way how my orchestra and I make music together. We just don't play notes, we play with our hearts. I wanted people around me who just want to play together, and be friends; that is our secret. Although I am the boss, I and all the orchestra members are always there for each other at the same time."

Translation by Ineke and John

Dec 13, 2015

Marc Rieu The Painter, He is Romantic and Dreamy ...

Marc Rieu The Painter
He is romantic and dreamy. He loves the beauty and quiet.

Bild Stars Magazine: The father makes music. The son cannot paint without music. "Just like my father, beauty touches me very much", says Marc Rieu. Just like André, it gives me great satisfaction to create something. My father is a dreamer and in this respect I am like him".

The 37 year old is the Maestro's eldest son. As a young child he took all the books from the book shelf at home and he looked through art books for hours. When at the age of 11 he saw a TV documentary about the genius Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) Marc then realized: I have to be and must be creative in my life.

For a short time I had the ambition of becoming a magician. It turned out to be painting! Today my paint brush is my magic wand.

After his final college exams, he studied Art History and Archaeology (I was a big Indiana Jones fan). He wrote his term paper about the early romantic German painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). There is no painting he loves more than Friedrich's "Der wanderer über dem Nebelmeer" (The Wanderer above the sea fog). Marc's favorite subjects are scenery. "People of today do not take enough time to really look at nature. Instead they fight. When I see the many wars in the news , I become sad."

The dream waves which develop in his head are put on white canvas with acryl and oil colors. Music is always playing in his small studio. "No waltzes by Johann Strauss", says the artist. The film music of "Lord of the Rings" is very inspirational to paint by. Very often I also listen to Gustav Mahler and Richard Wagner. Or the Dutch singer Trijntje Oosterhuis.

Some of his creations were used as covers for André Rieu's CDs and DVDs. Many of his paintings hang in his parents' castle. They are my best customers, says Marc and smiles.

Is his famous name helpful for his career or is it distressing?
"I don't feel that the name "Rieu" is a burden although I am very often asked: "Are you the son of...........?" "Yes, but please call me Marc", I then tell them. It was once said that an organizer of an exhibition canceled at the last moment because father André was not able to give the opening speech. "I did not mind that. I should be invited because of my creations and not because of my father".

André Rieu himself was outshone by his own father for a long time. "He was the son of André Rieu senior, the famous conductor of the Maastricht Symphony Orchestra. And another surprising parallel: "I was a very quiet and shy child" says Marc. "My father was like that too, who at the beginning of his career did not dare to speak one word in public.

And how does André see his son today?
"I am unbelievable proud of him. He is a romantic person who thinks: "Everything is possible". I believe that Marc inherited that from me". "And from mama", Marc adds, "I inherited the love for writing". "I consider myself the perfect mix from my father and my mother".
Only in one point does he not have Marjorie's genes: "She has an economic acumen. And I know of no artist who is a good businessman. Fortunately my wife manages my business."

Andrea and Marc Rieu have two children: daughter Fleur (5) and son Ivan (6). "I am totally crazy about both of them", says Marc. "It felt as if an extra engine started in my life. Everything is more intense". (Marc and Andrea are expecting their third child in January 2016!)

"Sint Pieter" by Marc Rieu

Translation by John and Ineke

Dec 10, 2015

Marjorie Rieu makes an Exception and Talks to Bild Stars

André Rieu's Wife Does Not Like To Speak About Herself
She Makes An Exception For BILD Stars

His Family ... Wife Marjorie: the soul: 
For 40 years she has been a wife. But who is she really -- very few really know that.

BILD Stars: Novemeber, 2014: Marjorie Rieu is the woman in the background. She shuns the spotlights and seldom speaks in public. For BILD Stars she was willing to make a huge exception. In this first interview after a long time, she reveals her love secret, speaks about family happiness and swimming suits in the closet.

Four decades of marriage with a star. How does that function?

That is not entirely correct. I have not been married to a star for 40 years. When we married André was a very sympathetic, poor music student. After our wedding he accepted a job in a Symphony Orchestra and at the same time started to play in a small ensemble playing Salon music. I assisted him in finding a proper repertoire. The huge fame which he now has came gradually. Only 20 years ago did he have his great break through with the "Second Waltz" by Shostakovich. So we have had many years to get used to Stardom.

What is your secret for happiness?

We love and respect each other very much. We love to work together and we complete each other perfectly. I am not a musician, but do love music very much. Also privately we have many common interests. But fortunately each of us also has his own interests and hobbies.

What do you love about your husband?

Almost everything! Most of all that he is a loving person, always willing to help other people.

And what do you admire most about him?

His courage. He always has the courage to leave known ways and start new ones. He gave up his job, jumped into a total state of uncertainty, all to realize his dream. That's what he does all the time, boldly breaking new grounds.

Women all over the world lie at his feet. Why aren't you jealous?

Why should I? They don't know him at all. They only know the star on stage. Having a crush on him goes with this job.

When was the last time you argued and about what?

We never argue. Nobody believes that, but it is the truth. We do not always agree, but that should never end in an arguement.

I think it's most important to control my own life,
without being asked all the time whether I am the wife of ... I am simply me.

Was it love at first sight?

At that time we were still too young for that. I was 15 and he 13. At that time you had no idea of "big love" at that age. But we liked each other from the beginning.

You have been a harmonious couple for decades. But, what do you have which he does not have yet? And what does he have that you don't?

I think I have more patience, I am less impulsive. He does things too quickly, drives fast too, which I definitely do not like. And whatever he has in mind, will happen. I am more relaxed, and rather adapt myself to the circumstances. When something does not work, then don't do it.

Please give us 5 reasons why you ever would want to marry him again.

He is the most loveliest human being I know and he still looks very attractive. He accepts me the way I am, from 40 years ago and still today. He is very emotional. He loves nature and all animals.

Why haven't you given any interviews in many years and why are you seldom seen in public?

That depends on what you mean by "in public". It is not that I hide in my house. Why should I? The only thing I don't like is to be known as the wife of André Rieu. I am still the same independent person I was before he became known and famous. And I prefer to stay like that. That is the reason why I, for instance, am not together with him in public to receive awards. I will never walk with him on a red carpet. He is the star, not I. And I place a lot of emphasis on leading my own life, without constantly being asked, if I am .......'s wife"? I am simply me.

How do you spend your spare time together?

Probably like every other normal human being. At home, cooking, playing with the grandchildren, our dogs, reading, or watching TV. And actually we are always busy with our jobs. We talk about new ideas, programs, concerts, CDs, businesslike items. There is no clear separation between spare time and work!

Can you actually still listen to Strauss waltzes and which music do you like most?

Strauss composed wonderful waltzes and I can always listen to them. I love to listen to all the CDs André has recorded. I also love watching his DVDs.

Actually they are the result of our mutual work and it would not be good if I did not like to watch them. We both value the details in our work and then it gives us joy to watch and listen to the concerts again later on.
And what else do I like to listen to? Well, there is hardly any music I do not like. Jazz maybe, that does not do anything for me. And I do not particularly care for today's Pop-music. Older music, yes: and classical, opera, operetta, musicals, songs. As long as I won't go deaf, I'll keep on enjoying music.

Could you please mention three things which you would rather not have experienced, and three things which you still would love to experience together.

The passing of my parents was of course very tough. That was a hard blow for me as well as André. At some point, most of us experience the death of their parents. You have to deal with it. Somewhere you find the strength to go on without your beloved parents. My mother really was André's biggest fan. Otherwise I have always been very lucky in life.

I cannot say that there are things which I did not want to experience. Sometimes you simply just ignore many. As an after the war (WWII 1940-45) born child, I was brought up very strict and therefore might take life as it comes. My parents had a very hard time during the war. My Jewish father had to go into hiding and almost lost a big part of his family. My mother was a resistance fighter. As a child I always got to hear: "You did not experience the war, so don't be griping". That influences you of course.

What we still like to experience together? In any case that our four grandchildren - the fifth is on its way - grow up healthy. Hopefully we live long enough that we may see them as adults. They are such sweet children now, they will become great adults for sure!

Imagine, your husband says: "I'll have my hair cut short". What will your reaction be?

If he wants to do that, why not? I am sure he will look good that way too. When I learned to know him, he had short hair. He looked good. He always looks good!

Do you have more evening dresses in the closet, or does your husband have more tuxedos?

Haha, I definitely do not have any evening dresses at all, so that answer is clear! But I definitely have more swimming suits than he has swimming trunks. I swim for my health, he does not.

Together you survived your husband's illness (2012 Virus Infection, a three month break) and financial problems. Is there still something that can make you fearful?

Although we know now that we have had some experience in coping with worries, it is still terrible if someone in our family were to suffer from something bad. You cannot prepare yourself for this in life. But we know, that no matter what happens, we will always stick together.

Profession of Love Between Two Book Covers

Marjorie Rieu wrote for André "My music, my life". And as a token of his appreciation he gave her a small golden booklet on a chain, in which both their names had been engraved."
Translation by both Ineke and John

Dec 8, 2015

Happy Birthday to you......

A Very Happy Birthday to the Harmony Parlor's best
Happy Birthday to you..........

and may all your wishes and dreams come true and may this be the best Birthday ever.
Enjoy  your special day..

BB & BJ   

Dec 4, 2015

André Rieu, His Family Happiness and His Secrets

André Rieu, His Castle, His Million-Emporium 
His Family Happiness and His Secrets

Bild Magazine Nov. 2015: And Fairytales do come true - "Once upon a time ... that is how fairytales begin, but not this one. And yet, this one is. A story about someone who travels the world and with his music makes the world a little happier and friendlier. One who with his famous Stradivarius extracts feelings, and one who gave an audience of millions unforgettable moments of happiness with his Sissi castle and golden carriage.

Waltz King André Rieu, a modern Johann Strauss, who loves his fairytales, his dreams - while keeping both feet on the ground - and through notes and ideas, love and discipline built his emporium. What are his secrets? Bild Stars opens the doors to a fascinating empire. The person and also the master violinist, André Rieu, who keeps his family totally private.

His World. I Love my dream ... and am happy when my public is happy. When people laugh, cuddle and kiss - then we reached their soul ...

Maastricht in autumn, a mere 110 Kilometers from Cologne, 16 Degrees (C) and a clear blue sky. Yellow-gold leaves dance from the trees and the Dutch are sitting in front of their Café's while the sun caresses them. Here one lives life at a slower pace than anywhere else in Europe. One does not know the hustle and bustle here. As soon as one arrives in the city of 120.000 inhabitants, one finds the studios of Waltz King André Rieu in the middle of the industrial area. It resembles the Berlin Chancellery a little - but is smaller. Not far from there one finds a castle.

In front of the door a red Tesla (130,000 Euros). The Master violinist's car, who has sold over 40 million DVDs and CDs, received 411 Platinum and 171 Golden awards and has 1.7 million Face Book Friends. More than 600,000 fans travel each year worldwide to his concerts. He is considered to be on the same level as pop stars like Cher, Depche Mode, Bon Jovi, Miley Cirus or Elton John.

Rieu - a merciless perfectionist - who does not leave anything to chance. People love his art, his music and happily let themselves be led in three-quarter time into his dream world for a few hours.

No matter where in the world he performs, his concerts are always sold out. And now, the Waltzking and his orchestra go on tour through Germany. More open than ever, the world star speaks in this Bild-Star interview about his 34 million Euro bankruptcy, his therapy, how to reappraise his relationship with his father, his unending love for his wife, why he hates champagne and red carpets, and why he goes to the barber every two months. But also that he needs a million Euro per month to maintain his Johann Strauss Orchestra and his team and what his 750 Euro monthly retirement would pay.

A meeting in his own castle with coffee, a meringue and whipped cream fancy cake with sour cherries.

Mega successful, 40 years of marriage, and no scandals, so, how do you manage not to be involved in scandals for decades?
I was born pure. When my aunt came to visit us, she always said: "This little boy is always happy." I am always unmentionably happy. I do not like to complain.

Once again, how do you manage to stay successful for decades and not have any scandals?
Scandals!! I cannot help that. I have been happily married for 40 years, and why not? I cannot sleep with all my fans. Besides I am responsible for 100 employees. You cannot be continuously involved in a scandal.

At your concerts you only see happy people. How do you manage to move your audience?
Emotions are most important. From early on when I played with my Salon Orchestra in retirement homes, all the blissfully cried. It was everyone's wish to cure the world. Today there are a lot of younger people in the audience. They kiss during their concert, the embrace each other, cry, laugh, and dance. I think it depends on how we play and how we communicate with the public. I refer to it all the time.

How do the feelings of the audience affect you?
They go directly to the spot - and touch me deeply. Twice I had to cry while on stage. It was shown on the huge screens. I am not at all ashamed about that, but at the same time do not like it either. That is un-professional.The audience is allowed to cry, but not I.

Which dreams and wishes do you still have?
My father was a famous director. We used to have renowned musicians like for instance Yehudi Menuhin visit us. They all were soloists. They were always alone. So, I have always said: "That is not what I want, I want to have an Orchestra, play together with the people. This is a dream I fulfilled. And in addition, I love to travel. Not as a tourist, which I do not like. I do not like to look at buildings, I like to see the people. Yes, I am living my dream.

What is still missing from your entire happiness?
We are working on that, to conquer America. That, for an artist is the most difficult country.

You once said that your father was very strict and did not treat the children with respect. Today your younger brother still suffers from that. How have you dealt with that difficult relations ship with your father who has since then passed on?
I was in therapy for several years. I was 25 when I started and that was smart. You have to deal with that from the inside out. And I accomplished that. The older my father became, the more he became a sort of religious fanatic. At the end he thought he was a priest. You could no longer be close to him. My younger brother eventually moved to Marseille, but that was only an escape. He could have flown to the moon - but he still carries that with him.

Are you never the less still religious?
Here in the Maastricht region everyone is Catholic. I was brought up religiously and sang every Sunday in the church choir. I still consider myself to be religious. Today I only believe in the good that is within us as people. Only we the people have the power to change things - and we should not wait until God makes the changes for us.

Do you still fear anything today?
Actually, no, not anything. Only about dying.

David Garret said in an interview that he did not find himself so great. How do you find yourself?
He really said that? I find him to be super. He is a fantastic violinist. He has his audience and I have mine.

In many of your performances you wear a conspicuous brooch on your collar. Is that an heirloom?
No, no. It is only worth five Euros. I design everything myself - a lady costume maker made this brooch for me. And a gold chain goes with that. That one is worth about 2 Euro 50. However, a befriended goldsmith gave me a diamond-studded brooch. That valuable piece I now only wear with an inexpensive chain.

Do you actually know your precise bank account balance?
The account balance changes of course, but it is healthy. For the Johann Strauss Orchestra and my team I have one million in fix costs, and if you ask me if money makes me happy; no, not at all, but it provides me freedom. The freedom to play and do what I want to do. I am responsible but not accountable to anyone. And this freedom for me is most important.

Have you ever really messed up?
Well, yes, when we copied Schönbrunn Palace in full scale to tour with, I put myself in deep financial troubles. The men of the bank came to my house to tell me that I was 34 million in the hole. I had a week to think how I could solve the problem. That was not nice. That money scandal turned into a big advertisement for me; bigger than having covered the world with promotional posters. Everyone knew about it and wished to see the Schönbrunn Palace. So the tour turned out to be a huge success. A year later I had 20 million in my account.

Schönbrunn is not used anymore?
I'll tell you a secret. We would love to bring the Palace out again. Although we won't tour with it anymore, but probably we'll erect it in Cardiff to give several concerts over there.

You always work so disciplined, almost like a perfectionist.
Yes, that is who I am. As a youngster I rose at 6 AM every morning in order to be exactly on time at the conservatory. My wife liked my discipline so much that she said: He is the one I marry!

You never attend parties?
I hate champagne, I hate parties. When I have been invited to an event because I am receiving an award, I avoid the red carpet. If possible, I enter through the back entrance. Real life is not parties, real life is at home. When I arrive after having been on tour, I love to go directly from the airport to the supermarket to buy something. Then I know I am home!

Did you ever leave a shop because it was too expensive?
No I never ask what it costs. That is often not a good idea. In San Francisco I once purchased a Jacket from Armani. On the counter were just some normal looking white T-shirts and I had five of them wrapped. When I saw the bill I was blown away. The cost was 250 dollar each!

What do you prefer to wear?
I would love to walk around in Medieval clothes. Light tops and tight stocking-pants. That is imaginative and comfortable. I had to wear that once for the recording of an album. If I would wear it today, people would think I was crazy.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully then everything will still be the same as today. I work out three times a week, power training under the direction of a personal coach. I like to do the exercise right. Because it is especially good for my back.

Would you like to visit a plastic surgeon?
Never! Many people are so smoothed out, that you can not recognize the face anymore.

One of your trademarks is your hair-do. How do you maintain your hair?
Take a shower, blow dry, that's it! I go to the barber every two months. Not as frequent as earlier. When you get older your hair grows slower. Just a wash and cut. Without coloring, and I pay € 75.

In the Show-business world there is hatred and malice. Have you ever experience it?
I really don't feel I belong to the show business world. No really, not at all!  We just perform our concerts every night. We create something real every night, no big show.

Heino just turned into a rocker. Can you imagine turning into a different violin player?
No. I stick to what I do now. The audience likes it. The orchestra likes it. One cannot change that.

Once you said that you came into puberty when you were 26 years old. Were you a late bloomer?
Yes, my wife also. We just discovered everything a little bit later. Once we entered a shop and both of us had long hair at that time and wore only one earring. The shop assistant asked: "Ladies are you being served????" (He laughed)

Were you really always that well-behaved?
Yes. When we were young my brother and I had many opportunities with the girls. They loved to be with us, but really we did not do anything. We were not shy, but wise. But because we were totally clueless we would probably have brought 10 children into this world. We had a strict Roman Catholic upbringing and we had no idea about the existence of contraceptives. In these sort of things I am probably a boring human being, but I am not ashamed of that. When I speak about this today, I amaze myself.

A typical Dutchman is known for clogs and a caravan. You too?
I don't wear clogs anymore at all, and most Dutch people don't either, but they love their caravan because they are thrifty. They prefer to have a three week holiday with 27 people for 475 Euro. Then the holiday is a success.

When and where do you celebrate a holiday?
I am a workaholic. I always work. Often we drive to Rome for a few days or the Black Forest, but always only for three days. I don't need a week long holiday. I can relax in one hour.

In contrast to women, men rarely go for health checks. How do you see that?
I started my health checks at 50 and and do so every year. Many are afraid that the doctor might discover something. But you do that so that the doctor, if he detects something, it is detected early.

Do you receive a pension?
Yes, I am over 65. I receive about € 750 each month. Now you probably might think: that is enough to buy two bottles of good Bordeaux wine. (laughs).

Are you actually the only Dutchman who has never smoked a joint?
I actually never smoked a joint. In Holland weed is smoked less than one thinks. Hash here is legal. I mean, it should be made available throughout Europe. That way we stay one step ahead of the criminals Of course one has to assure that youngsters do not use drugs or drink alcohol. These alcopops which many youngsters use, are dangerous. I do not allow the use of alcohol before a concert by my orchestra members,. When I catch someone drinking before the concert, he/she is fired.

Why don't you wear a wedding ring?
Once I was caught on a door with the ring. Since then I keep my engagement- and wedding rings on a golden chain in my violin case.

Will you join "Dschungelcamp"?
What is that?. That is a TV show, where less and well known artists ..... Oh yes, I have heard about that. No, of course not!

You breed Koi Carp. Some people eat such a noble fish as a delicacy.
I beg your pardon?? Under no circumstances! I would not even eat my two dogs!

When was the last time that you were drunk?
That was long ago. 30 years ago. I started at 5PM with gin. The next morning at 9AM I had an appointment with the Mayor. I felt so terrible that I said to myself: I will never do that again!

Would you like to have your last trip be accompanied by a waltz?
Last trip? I am not thinking about my funeral for a long time to come!!!

Thanks to John and Ineke for this long Translation!

Nov 30, 2015

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Nov 22, 2015

André Rieu, "Maybe I'll become Austrian"

André Rieu, "Maybe I'll become Austrian"

"Krone" interview by: Robert Fröwein, "the Crown Newspaper": Star violinist André Rieu published a brand new studio album these last few days titled "Arrivederci Roma" and in May 2016 he will again come back to Austria to perform some selected concerts. We met the Dutchman in his "second home", on the Piazza della Rotonda in Rome for an extensive interview and discovered that even as a world traveler he always feels homesick, he is a big pop fan and is quietly looking around for a permanent place to live in Austria ...

"Krone": André, recently you released your new album "Arrivederci Roma". What special relationship with Italy do you have?
André Rieu: My wife Marjorie and I have been coming here to the Pantheon in Rome continuously for 15 years. For romantic music this city fits that perfectly.

"Krone": You and your wife your 40th anniversary this year.
Rieu: Yes, it is so important to always go back home, to where she is for me. There I receive the strength to travel the world. Without a permanent home, I would be quite lonely.

"Krone": Has your wife has become accustomed to the fact that you are always traveling so much?
Rieu: That was not so easy at first, but after the children were gone, we bought two poodles. She always says, she could not be alone without the dogs. But of course would prefer for me to be home. (laughs)

"Krone": You have a special affinity for Italy, and even released the album "A Night in Venice" last year. Why this country?
Rieu: What kind of question is that. (laughs) The music does come from Italy but - of course also from Austria, but Italy is for me the mother of music. Even the pop from today here is original and so many world hits come from this country. Certain numbers are known from Rome to Lima - that I find fantastic.

"Krone": Italians are also very spirited ...
Rieu: I am that too indeed. (laughs) So I feel quite at home here.

"Krone": Does this temperament help you achieve a good show on stage on bad days?
Rieu: This may sound stupid, but I never have a bad day. But then, only when I'm sick. But even then you have to be on stage - the show must go on and the audience can not notice anything. That I do not feel well or am depressed, it does not matter. It's nice that I can travel around the world together with my orchestra.

"Krone": You also like to show temperament when people come too late to your concert. They are then received with a wink from you. Would you like to elaborate a little bit on that?
Rieu: (laughs) So I like to tease the people a little bit with that. The latecomers are then shown large on the screen and they are all red. Punctuality for me is simply incredibly important. You cannot travel with 110 people around the world, if that does not work. Okay, here in Italy, you can forget about that. (laughs) Here I am but only a guest.

"Krone": Why did you limit yourself to only 16 songs when the "Land of Music" has so many more to offer?
Rieu: My heart always decides. Usually I have 40 songs to choose from, before I record a CD and then it is reduced in a normal fashion. That of course is hard work, but also very rewarding. We then go with the orchestra to the studio, try them out, make trial recordings and when something does not work out the way I had imagined, it is deleted. The rest remains.

"Krone": You have two families. Your orchestra family, with whom you share the stage, and your own family. Is it sometimes difficult to disregard one over the other?
Rieu: No, we have a very nice, precise schedule. We tour only two weeks at a time, except when we go to Australia, because when we go there we already lose three days just getting there. But we usually are there for more than three weeks. Normally after two weeks, we are usually back home. My orchestra members all have children, they should be able to live normally. I myself do not want to live like a gypsy traveling around the world, but also want to have a real life.

"Krone":  In your studio in Maastricht you even built a childcare area for the children of your orchestra members.
Rieu: That's right, I think I am responsible to also care for the children.

"Krone": It is also interesting that you still have your home base in your birthplace of Maastricht. House and Studio are there. If Rome agrees with you so much, why don't you ever want to move here?
Rieu: Because I'm a shitty Dutchman and love my home. (laughs) I have an enormous respect for this city and speak here in their broad dialect, which is nice. I also feel comfortable here, but I am not a Roman. It is magnificent to be here, magnificent to travel the world and even more magnificent to be home again. It balances out.

"Krone": Do you miss your home often on tour?
Rieu: Yes, of course, saying goodbye to my wife, my children and grandchildren is always difficult, but as soon as I am on the bus or plane with the orchestra , everything is forgotten.

"Krone": Have you incorporated both your two sons in your job?
Rieu: No, that went all by itself. My older son is a painter and the younger one is our assistant and works with our entourage. That happened on its own, I never pushed them.

"Krone": You once mentioned that your audience differs from country to country. Do you really notice that?
Rieu: I notice that immediately. Everywhere they are enthusiastic, but with differences. In Mexico, they are really quite crazy, and when I walk out on stage, they cry. The Americans are more reserved and have an attitude like: "Now show us what you really can do." The Japanese are extremely polite, initially I thought that it would not work. But when the balloons came down with the Radetzky March, they freaked out completely. (laughs)

"Krone": Do you sometimes have an audience, with which you do not feel comfortable?
Rieu: I've always said, my music works everywhere and I was right, that is true.

"Krone": What's the reason for that?
Rieu: I think it is the manner in which we play. We play a lot of Strauss waltzes and they are internationally known. I speak a lot in between, announce the numbers and all that probably makes it work.

"Krone": In your musical line of work you have a mix of young and old. This does not occur very frequently.
Rieu: Absolutely, they come from all walks of life to us. From the cleaning lady to the Professor, from children to the pensioners. And I do not make a distinction between the people - we are all equal.

"Krone": You came very late into the pop music. How do you view pop music in comparison to classical? Do you take them both seriously?
Rieu: I definitely make no distinction between the two styles. The classics make the distinction. For me there is only good and bad music. Bruce Springsteen or Madonna made fantastic music, but on the same token Bach also has made some shitty music. Nobody is perfect. It is not automatically good just because it is classical, or automatically bad because it's pop. A stupid attitude.

"Krone": You love to incorporate pop songs in your repertoire, such as Michel Telos' smash hit " Ai Se Eu Te Pego".
Rieu: This song was a big hit in Brazil and we incorporated it into the program because everyone went crazy when we played it. (laughs) The pop song has to be good and successful, before I play it. It just has to makes sense. This song fitted perfectly into the encores, it was the right moment to play it.

"Krone": To what extent do your orchestra members actually have a say? Or does it run a dictatorial way?
Rieu: They have a lot of input, that piece of Teló did not work well, my orchestra brought that to my attention. They gave me a tip and it worked. When I say that I find something shitty although the others do not, then we do not do it, but normally that happens very seldom.

"Krone": Do you enjoy media names such as "Maestro of the masses" or "King of the Crossover"? That you are perceived as a converter of two different spheres?
Rieu: The fact is that I really do not care, I'm also the "Waltz King". I am a bit proud of that title, it is better than not having one. (laughs) You have to just glue to my head what you want - I'll just play on. (laughs)

"Krone": In May 2016 will again come back to Graz, Salzburg and Vienna. But Austria is also indeed a land of music - how does it differ from Italy?
Rieu: Here on the Piazza della Rotonda in Rome, I must say of course that Italy is the land of music. (laughs) So many legends of course come also from Vienna, that's fantastic. I very much like to come to Austria and the audience sucks all the notes out of my violin, that is really something special.

"Krone": Are there also other things that make you particularly happy when you come back to Austria?
Rieu: I am extremely happy here, the country is incredibly beautiful. My wife and I just talked about that yesterday, that we would like to buy a house in a beautiful area in Austria. But we still have so much to do that it makes more sense to simply take a holiday here. But a house on a beautiful place in Austria would be ideal for me. The country is wonderful and the people are all very nice and friendly. Maybe it will still happen. Then I'll become an Austrian. (laughs)

"Krone": Austria was indirectly a part of blackest hour in your career, as the Schönbrunn copy almost drove you directly to the brink of economic ruin a few years ago. Have you been humbled by that in any way?
Rieu: I then promised my wife never to do such a thing again. That was unbelievable and had cost me so much money. On the other hand though, the dilemma had attracted so much worldwide publicity afterwards that all concerts were subsequently sold. When I think about Schönbrunn, two kinds of emotions come up in me. (laughs)

"Krone": Are there after so many successes, awards and experiences still dreams or illusions that you would like to achieve?
Rieu: I would just like to go on like this. Staying healthy, to have energy, making music around the world and making people happy.

"Krone" Surely, you are not usually the person who plans far ahead?
Rieu: Not at all, a maximum of one year in advance. Otherwise, I would feel restricted in my freedom, by no means do I want to be cramped. The world is constantly changing, I do not want to plan ten years in advance. Through the Internet, everything goes much easier today than in the past, I see it as a great advantage.

"Krone": You always would have loved to open a pizzeria in Italy with your wife ...
Rieu: That once was the idea earlier, but now I'm very happy that I am a musician. (laughs) Maybe later, but that's now of course not an issue.

"Krone": Besides Rome do you actually have several other places where you regularly go and feel especially comfortable?
Rieu: Once a year we go to the Black Forest, and we also go often to the Sauerland region, and of course now we want to regularly visit Austria. That's it, other than that I work all the time.

"Krone": Are there still countries or territories where you still desperately want to play?
Rieu: Oh, there are still quite a lot. For example, we have never been to Russia or Mongolia. (laughs) There is still a lot going on, the world is big and luckily we still have a lot of time.

Thank you to Ineke for the article and John Translating it.














Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013




"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