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May 24, 2015

A Plaque For André Rieu's Childhood Home

A Plaque For André Rieu's Old House

May 24, 2015 The Limburger: At the house on the Begijnen street in Maastricht where André grew up, a plaque will be unveiled on Tuesday evening. The famous violinist/conductor and Mayor Onno Hoes will be present for this occasion. The artwork (for the plaque) was created by the Maastricht sculptress, Desiree Tonnaer.

The city of Maastricht offers this plaque as a gift to the violinist and conductor for his 65th birthday. In October Rieu reached that age.

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John for his translation

May 19, 2015

Rieu Creates Swaying At a Filled Square

Maastricht scientists follow orchestra leader for a year and a half to explain his formula for success

Rieu Creates Swaying At a Filled Square

In the book "Rieu, Maestro Without Borders" the scientists Maaike Meijer, Peter Petersen and Jac van den Boogard take the secret success of André Rieu under scrutiny.

The Limburger by Peter van de Berg: The formula for success is very simple. André Rieu is a master in creating "a square filled with swaying." It seems simple, but behind his approach in trying to tie the audience together with a sense of community, often has hidden logic, which goes contrary to all the artistic laws.

So states cultural sociologist and gender expert Maaike Meijer in her book "Rieu, Maestro without Borders" which she and her fellow scientists Peter Peters and Jac van den Boogard, all of the University of Maastricht wrote. André Rieu has a reverence for classical music but also likes to deviate from that. He has stripped his repertoire from solemnity and stiffness. His shows are airy in nature and therefore he waltzes literally over the prejudices." In aversion to the cultural elite who have little or no respect in the manner in which the famous stand-alone-violinist presents his performances to his audience.

Ever since the first day the Maastricht violinist and his Johann Strauss orchestra harvested worldwide success the condemnations by the critics are not light at all. Maaike Meijer admits that initially she too viewed the concerts of "phenomenon Rieu" with some of her own skepticism."I was part of that elite group and had an aversion to massive events. But when I went to the Vrijthof, matters changed." The shows start right away with a climax when Rieu and his musicians enter through the audience to the music of "Seventy-six Trombones." "A thoughtful approach that instantly creates a festive mood and creates an atmosphere of togetherness amongst the spectators." Maaike Meijer is convinced that ultimately the protectors of the "great art" will come about. "Look at André Hazes. He has long been reviled. Suddenly everyone raved about with him. You cannot understand culture if you are not open to the popular segment."

Meijer, Peters and van den Boogard followed Rieu and his orchestra intensely for a year and a half. They accompanied him to concerts in Istanbul, Amsterdam and London. They were also present at the concerts in Maastricht. The Maestro afforded them the opportunity to watch extensive from behind the scenes, to be present at rehearsals and spoke to the orchestra leader, his musicians and other employees of the Rieu Company. According to the scientists Rieu is so immensely popular because he presents an integrated work of art in which emotions play a major role. "He puts it all out there.
Music combined with a tantalizing sense of images creates a sense of nostalgia. When someone becomes emotional, it becomes easy for other people too to let their feelings run free. Human emotions are contagious. His camera people have developed a sense of finding the right people from the audiences and to bring them broadly into view. That creates a flow which then easily spreads to other spectators." Meijer notes that Rieu largely acts on intuition. "Not everything he does is new. In fact, he returns his massive performances back to the folk feasts of centuries ago. Music back then too was largely focused on city squares. We are in a phase of creating festivities. People like to be together. Repetition in the world of cultural is quite normal. Rieu’s public is not geared up every year to see an entirely new program. For them it is important to just "be there."

One thing is certain: André Rieu cannot be copied. Meijers: "There is some thought within the company about how to proceed when the time comes when he can no longer perform. They would rather not talk about that. A ready-made solution is not immediately at hand. Rieu and his musicians live in the present and that is what they continue to do."

Thank you to John for this and his Translation

May 18, 2015

Marc Rieu Shows His Art Works and Paints Skies

Marc Rieu Shows His Art Works and Paints Skies  
Maastricht local, by Cindy Verhoef

Saturday, May 16th: Soon, for the sixth time he will exhibit with his artworks in the Vrijthof Theatre, but last week art painter Marc Rieu was in the south of the country participating in a workshop and painting skies. Together with ten students he traveled through Belgian and Dutch Limburg to capture the beauty of nature on canvas.

Sunday at dawn he started in Plombières. "Painting skies is not quite so easy. There are certain factors you as a painter should keep in mind. The sunlight changes constantly and therefore you should only keep visualizing just one position. Otherwise, it all runs together and you’ll continuously be busy. You also need to take the time into account."

Monday, Chateau Beusdael was on the agenda. And Tuesday, he departed for Belgian Hombourg. To find a subject comes easily for the Maastricht artist. "My eye has to catch something immediately. Something in the surrounding area which gives me a feeling right away. And normally that is what it will turn out to be." It's the second time that Marc participated in the workshop of painting skies. Last year he traveled to nearby Venice where he painted the beautiful Italian scenery. And painting skies means that the artists have to create their works in the open air. "It is important that you first fill the canvas. Otherwise you will stare yourself blind on a white surface. For this I prefer to use pastel shades. Soft pink, yellow, the underlying colors connecting the objects with each other and so you achieve a nice finished product afterwards. "

Ships at sea
"During the course we use canvases of 30 by 40 cm. These are more feasible for the time involved. There are still a lot of hours involved in producing a finished product. I have been commissioned to create a painting of 1.50 by 2 meters. It is my biggest project ever. What it is going to be? It will be something nautical. A seascape. Ships on the open sea …. with beautiful clouds, of course. "

Dream Works
Clouds are typically the trade mark of Marc's paintings. In many of his works a cloud deck can be admired. Even landscapes are his favorites. He describes his own style as "suggestive illusionism." This self made-up word he likes to further explain it as: "In my paintings, I offer suggestions of reality to the viewer. I like to magically change reality on a canvas with my brush as a wand and hope to bring out your curiosity with a playful character."

The paintings of Marc literally fly all around the world. "Off to Jordan, South America, Africa, you name it. There's a couple from Australia who visit my exhibition every year. And that makes working a lot of fun." Painting in order to become rich is not necessary for Marc. "I'm rich because of my wife, my children. I paint for them, as an example, to pay for food."

The exhibition at the Vrijthof Theatre starts July 3, simultaneously with the show of his father André.

The pictures below were taken last year during his exposition in the Theater on the Vrijthof

Thank You! To John for the Translation of This Article

May 14, 2015

André Rieu At The Museum on The Vrijthof

André Rieu At The Museum on The Vrijthof

Actually, there is no better place, nor a better time to think of than now. In the museum on the Vrijthof, a mere twenty meters from the place where the stage will be during the annual Vrijthof concerts, a special exhibition about André Rieu under the title of: "Attention to Detail" will be shown.

By Jo Cortenraedt: Chapeau Magazine - It is the first time that a separate exhibition will be held for the phenomenon André Rieu. The exhibition, arranged in collaboration with the family Rieu, will be highlighting both musical and personal elements of André’s life and career. Articles having to do with his concerts are being exhibited. Visitors can now closely experience how, on the basis of this experience the "king of waltz" works to realize his musical dream.

During the exhibition, the visitor will get an idea of how far André Rieu’s love for detail goes. How does he work with his choice of music? What happens during rehearsals? Visitors can now see up close how the dresses are finished with jewelry. Personal documents from his life which have never been seen before and never before seen video footage will give visitors an intimate look at the world of André Rieu and his shows. The Vrijthof museum usually chooses a theme which fits within the general principle of "Made in Maastricht” and that can certainly be said about André Rieu.

He will be back on the Vrijthof the first two weeks of July with his entire orchestra, to deliver a special evening to a total of ten thousand people from all around the world.

The exhibition runs from June 21 to September 27
  • Thanks to Ineke for the article and John’s ©Translation

May 8, 2015

André Rieu Has Now Been Scientifically Explained

André Rieu Has Now Been Scientifically Explained

André Rieu is one of the biggest Dutch export products. His success knows no boundaries and he is known all over the world. But what is the secret behind this success? The book "Rieu, Maestro without Borders" casts a scientific look at his prestige. ''Classical music is in trouble. André Rieu is a kind of a symptom of that. He shows that it also can be done differently,'' according to the researcher and author of the book, Maaike Meijer.

Chapeau Magazine - Friday, May 8: André Rieu’s worldwide success has now been scientifically explained. Three scientists from the University of Maastricht have in a scientific report, recorded in a book of 272 pages, examined the international reputation of the Maastricht musician, and analyzed and explained it.

According to the researchers, Jac van den Boogard, Maaike Meijer and Peter Peters, Rieu is the symbol of a counter reaction against the far-reaching individualization of society. "Modern people still like to be together and feel the warmth of a nest, wanting to belong. André Rieu offers all those feelings on the squares and in the halls where he performs with his orchestra.

There, where young people are given opportunities to 'go crazy' during pop concerts, dance festivals etc, older people rarely have that chance. "But at the André Rieu’s concerts, they can completely go out of their minds, in their own ways, emotionally, and if need be, into tears.

The analysis of Rieu’s success even goes back to the 17th and 18th centuries when baroque music was then meant to please people and allow them to dance. Waltz music originally was a folk dance. Slowly it found its way into the concert hall. "Rieu uses it in such a manner that the waltz literally is dance music again and thereby making the roots of the waltz visible again to a popular culture." The researchers are thereby also trying to make it clear and prove that the origin of André Rieu’s music is not well understood by the criticisms regularly heard and posted by the present day "serious classical music critic." "Rieu focuses on festivals of unprecedented proportions which fit into a contemporary cultural experience."

According to the researchers the music, and the manner in which André Rieu arranges it, brings forth old memories into his audience, and brings many to tears. "And that creates a reaction in the brain, an involuntary reaction which revitalizes old sources of emotion."

Another source of André Rieu’s success is formed according to the UM study in the Limburg region, his native land. "Rieu's magnificence, the shows and the region all encourage Rieu in all forms of love for his own country and culture, and to a large extent is understandable from Rieu's Limburg origin. Musical traditions and styles emerge in various ways in his concerts. But his popularity which has spread far beyond the borders says a lot about how culture is globalizing. Interestingly enough, Rieu delivers Asian, American, South African and East European audiences a similar experience of nostalgic solidarity and collective joy. Rieu travels so that the audience feels at home."

In a first reaction, Jo Cortenraedt, editor of Chapeau and L1 producer at Radio 1 (NPO) said that this book has done a good and serious attempt in its research, and without prejudice in all facets of André Rieu’s success. "And the most important element of his success is, that he himself is still on stage every night and having so much fun. Something the researchers witnessed personally with their own eyes and ears."

Thank you to Bobbie for sending this and John for Translating it!

May 5, 2015

We Wish You All The Best Thomas!

Bela announced this on his Facebook today ... "It's with sadness that Gary and I have to announce that after ten years and more than a 1000 shows together, Thomas has decided to leave the Platin Tenors for personal reasons. Farewell Thomas, we wish you all the best."

And so we introduce our new Platin Tenor, Eric! 
We're happy to have him and look forward to being on stage together, please give him a warm welcome and wish him luck!

Apr 27, 2015

André Rieu's Son Speaks Out About His Exceptional Youth

Star Violinist’s Son Speaks Out About His Exceptional Youth

Marc Rieu is the oldest son of André, the son who does not work in the company. In Privé the artist speaks about his exceptional youth and the moment in which his father went from an unknown to world fame. He was amazed at the change in the way people interacted with him. First I was bullied, later everyone wanted to be my friend.

By Boris van Zonneveld: Although Pierre works as vice president for father André’s company, his oldest son Marc, chose a different path. He is an artist and exhibits his workings this summer during his father's concerts in the Theater on the Vrijthof in Maastricht. "I do not work in the company, which is my choice." says Marc. "But I do make good use of my last name." Six years ago his career took off. Back then I asked my father if he would like it if I could show my paintings during his concerts, basically just for the fun of it. At first I brought 36 paintings, and after the two weekend performances of my Dad, I was two-thirds sold out. So I thought: "We’ll do this again." Now there are real collectors who return every year. "Since that time I have slightly raised my prizes. They vary between two and three thousand Euros per canvas. 

Painting is my profession, and from that I have to support a wife and two children. The expositions during the concerts provide a nice income, but it is not all about that. "Two years ago I had sold everything in Maastricht and on the last day an Australian lady came up to me and said that I must be pretty rich by now. I replied: "Do you know why I am so rich now? It is because I have a beautiful wife and two healthy children. I only need those painting in order to feed them." Then it was quiet and she said: "If you maintain that thought for the rest of your life, you will go far."

Violin lessons

Marc Rieu, educated as an art historian, plays piano, but not the violin, although during his formative years he did receive lessons in the instrument that brought his father fame. André’s Dad, André Sr. was the Limburg Symphony Orchestra’s conductor. He had his son play the violin from the age of five. There was less pressure with Marc. "We did receive violin lessons, but not every day just before going to school. My father thinks it's important that we do what we enjoy and what interests us. Only then will you stick with it until you die. I also want to give my children that."

Pierre once said in an interview: "My three-years-older brother and I have been raised fairly free. Although certain expectations were placed upon us. For instance; every summer we went to a language camp for three weeks, a different country every year". Marc laughed when the language camp was brought up. "We actually did language courses. The reason; my father thought it was important that we always did something useful. Playing outside was alright as long as we were doing something. Like playing soccer. We were not allowed to just hang out. Once one of our mother’s old colleagues who had studied German came by and asked: "Marjorie, why not send your boys to a language camp." The rest is history. "Pierre and I spent the next three summers, three weeks each in Germany. There was only one language: German. But, I also took four more summer courses in French in France and Belgium and spent two summers in Paris. Those were a week and a half with a Flemish organization for Flemish children who had to learn French. We were the only Dutch children." During summer vacation there was also time for "the family." First we took a language course, and afterwards we went with our parents on a three weeks vacation. The summer was one of the few times that we were all free."


School was not always easy for Marc. "My father did not have an every day job. For two years, when he was still unknown I was being bullied. Back then, a locally known father, the wrong schoolbag … they always found something. Halfway though I changed schools because it became unbearable. Marc’s world changed when André broke through nationally in 1994. "We moved to inside Maastricht. I went to a second secondary school. Everyone all of the sudden wanted to be my friend, classmates helped me with my homework, everyone was nice. The first few months I walked around with a sense of: "Where are the remarks about my father, my schoolbag?" - but that did not happen.

With the rising popularity of André the indecent proposals by women also came about. When he became famous, we began to recognize those women by their envelopes, which had been soaked with some sort of penetrating perfume. When you see those women after a concert revealing their cleavage to my father while sticking a pen in his hand and would he please place his signature on their chest ..." 

Now André is a world star and Marc did not see that coming. But now it is quite self-evident. It is still very nice and wonderful. I look at it with one percent disbelief and ninety-nine percent pride. That only one percent of disbelief consists of everything I have experienced from the beginning. The salon orchestra, with which he played in a retirement home in front of a hundred people. And where Pierre, a friend and I dressed up as "the Three Kings" were allowed to sing a song. And now I am on the Vrijthof in the middle of the other ten thousand fans and I think: "Isn’t it still a little weird that it is your dad who is providing all these people the evening of their lives." He has got it together. That is, saying it in Maastrichts, very posh.

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John for his ©Translation

Apr 23, 2015

Rieu To Be Namesake For Prize Offered by Amikejo

Rieu To Be Namesake For Prize Offered by Amikejo

André Rieu has attached his name to a new encouragement prize which will be offered by the youth symphony orchestra "Amikejo"

It is the first time that the conductor has attached his name to an award. Every year the André Rieu incentive award will be presented to Euro-regional musical talents in the categories of strings, wind instruments an percussion. The jury, which will determine the winners, consists of Mark Prills, conductor of Amikejo, Ruud Merx and Franks Steijn, musicians from the Johan Strauss orchestra and Tom Berghmans, member on the board of the LSJO.

The talents, between the ages of 10 and 23 will be assessed by the jury in three components: Passion and Enthusiasm, Talent and being an ambassador for out-of-the-box thinking. In addition to a certificate, the winners will also receive an amount of money which they can invest in their own musical career.

The André Rieu incentive award will be presented for the first time on Sunday, April 26

Thanks to John for the Translation

Apr 14, 2015

Additional Vrijthof Concert

André has just added another day to his Vrijthof concert series. Additional concert will take place on Thursday July 9, 2015 ... Concert starts at 21:00 hours. (9:ooPM) Official tickets on sale now. For those who are interested in purchasing tickets, we wish you the best of luck.

Apr 7, 2015

Ruud Merx - Searching For Roots in Limburg

Searching For Roots in Limburg

Ruud Merx noticed that after years of travelling with André Rieu and his orchestra that he started losing contact with his Limburg birthplace. He wants to restore that contact by implementing music projects in this province.

April 4, 2015 - by Jan Cuijpers: As a teenager, trombone player Ruud Merx (45) could often be found on the farm in Bocholtz, comfortably riding the tractor. More than once he saw a procession of cars passing by with all kinds of men in costumes. "Suddenly one of the cars stopped and out came Wil Huppertz Sr. who had already retrieved his instrument and costume from my parents. I had once again forgotten that we had a concert" said Ruud Merx, successful musician in André Rieu’s Johan Strauss Orchestra, and also to indicate that as a youngster he was not such a fanatical wind instrument musician. It is purely through the guidance of teacher Wil Huppertz Sr. that Merx finally ended up at the conservatory in Maastricht.

Although his maternal grandfather was chairman of the philharmonic Bocholtz, the family Merx was not a horn playing family. My father was a horseman. My brother and sister both competed at a high level; me, not at all" Merx said. "Dad rarely if ever had time for a concert visit. He was more remotely present. That changed in later life. For the recording of the winter special with Rieu’s orchestra, he sat for example in the audience. He thought that was neat."

The family Merx escapes the hectic life of a travelling musician - wife Alina-Lin Jong is a violinist with Rieu - in rural Eys. The two spouses are standing next to each other in a photo taken during introduction week of the Conservatory. "Wind instrument players and strings players are not compatible" Merx quips now. "She can still remember that I always said "Good Day" to her. Later in the arranging class which we both were taking at the same time, there was an inkling of attraction. The spark really hit when I was already more than a year with the Strauss orchestra - during a long bus trip, we talked intensively for four hours. Both of the relationships we then had, died within a month.

How Merx ended up in Rieu’s orchestra is a story all its own. Already at the conservatory he was real good friends with trumpet player René Henket. When it became a hit, a trombone player was needed for "the Second Waltz" during the TV performances, someone who could mime that piece. "René knew of someone who fit that perfectly. At first I could not go because of another commitment. A week later André called again. After those TV appearances, Rieu asked if I could play live. Had to audition for him in his house: low, high, loud and soft. And in passing the trombone player reveals how the typical Rieu-sound occurs. When we are recording, we always play from an extensive piano score, written by Frank Steijns. The orchestra is so well trained that they can take from the score whatever works. For André this is a kind of sweets factory. He can add to it anything he wants."

His two children, the surroundings near Eys, the rolling hills, the Löss, the clay and the social contacts, are what the trombone player calls his base. "In short, the country where you come from. I noticed at one point that I was losing my contact with that base. Since 1994 I am slowly being absorbed by Rieu. When you are on the road as much as we are, a very cohesive bond forms, especially when almost no one has children. At some point you become so busy that you no longer have normal social contacts. And when people call you three times in vain, they are not going to call you a fourth time. "Call me when you get here" they then say." When Merx notices that he has neglected his base, he decides to restore that actively. First on the list, he and his wife will work part-time, they alternate every week. "We find it very important that one of us is with the children. Rieu understands that: he too has children."

In addition Merx is involved with many projects with Limburg (amateur) musicians. He arranges the Roermond musical "Limburg Geis" which is being put on CD at this time. He also arranges a number of chansons by Jacques Brel for the Limburg brass band, "Little gems that fall in your lap." And for the brass band of Landhorst (St. Anthony’s) from division five, he writes the music for a stage play named "Geluiden uit de Peel" {(Sounds from the Peel) An area in the Netherlands rich in pied}. "Quite difficult because you have to consider many things, such as the different levels. If all goes as planned, and after this project, the musicians will then play a class better then now. That’s a nice bonus. In addition he puts time into the brass band "Blech Mich?" and together with his wife they are on the board membership foundation "Op Herme" where they organize a house concert three times a year for all the donors. Not surprising because Lin is the daughter of Veronika Jong, the driving force behind the nursing home for ponies. But with most enthusiasm the 45-year-old trombone player speaks about the project "Music makes Smart."

And also out of personal interest. I have always wondered why music touches me so. How does that work?" Research has shown that the brain halves in music playing, children are more interconnected. It also has something to do with physics. Looking at the micro level, people consist of so-called quarks, energy. And energy is what you feel when you transfer music to the intention and emotion. Therefore, music is a universal language. I like to bring that over on to others." He still wonders daily about things, Merx confesses." Looking at things in a childlike and unbiased way. No matter how often you play the "Blue Danube", you should always play it as if it is for the first time. That attitude you should incorporate in your daily life ... and that is difficult. "

Thanks to John for the English Translation

Mar 31, 2015

Folk Music Star Karl Moik Dead at 76

The Austrian presenter and entertainer Karl Moik died in a hospital in Salzburg. He was treated there for several weeks due to kidney problems. Moik was 76 years old.

From André Rieu - "Karl was a wonderful artist, a great moderator and a good friend to whom I owe a lot. I thank him for great moments".

Mar 27, 2015

From André Rieu's Facebook: Today is ► Vereniging Keep Them Rolling's 'The Final Push' in Holland. A beautiful tradition to keep the memory alive of what the allies did for us, so that we can live in freedom now! I am so proud that my son Pierre joins me in memorizing these heroes. Tonight my Veterans concert will be broadcasted on Dutch TV. More info can be found at: ►

(Friday - March 27, 2015)

Mar 25, 2015

A long time André fan and friend to so many of us, George Harper, has passed away today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Sue and their family ... be in peace now George.

Feb 14, 2015

André Rieu is the most romantic man of The Netherlands

Thanks to Ineke for sending the newspaper clipping from the Telegraaf.

Feb 10, 2015

André Rieu Musician or Mountebank?

André Rieu Musician or Mountebank?
Martin Buzacott - He's a byword for kitsch, a shibboleth among the classical cognoscenti, but André Rieu is also one of those rare classical musician who can fill stadiums and reach an entirely new audience. Is he just a musical showman, or are we underestimating him? From Australia, Martin Buzacott explores the phenomenon that is André Rieu.

Thanks to Ineke for sending this

Feb 8, 2015

André Rieu earns more than ever before

Castle Out of The Scaffolding
André Rieu earns more than ever before

From Weekend January 2015, by: Boris van Zonneveld
Expensive restoration completed. A few years ago André Rieu avoided total bankruptcy, but now he is back fiddling in full swing. The gains of the Maastricht Waltz King have increased to roughly six million a year. That makes him one of the top earners in the Dutch showbiz. Nevertheless, sacrifices had to also be made. A portion of those millions was used to renovate his castle "Huis, de Torentjes" (House, the small Turrets) on a grand scale. Now it looks more attractive than ever.

More now than ever before André Rieu is the pride of the Netherlands in the music world. His agenda for 2015 is filled to the top with performances in places like Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, and Germany and of course he is not likely to forget the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Every year from all over the world, half a million people visit Rieu’s concerts there. So his concerts can be placed on the same level as those from big pop stars such as Elton John, Barbara Streisand, and teenage idol Justin Bieber.

And financially André Rieu is better off now. That was sorely needed, because six years ago he was on the brink of total bankruptcy. He had to borrow 34million Euros to stay afloat, mortgaging everything he owned in his business to the bank, including his very expensive Stradivarius and his name. With the repayment of his million Euros debt, all is well now, and since after he reorganized his company for the better, the violinist earns more now than ever before. He recently published his earnings for 2013, and that revealed a large profit of 5.7 million Euros. The year prior to 2013 his profits were 5 million Euros and the year prior to that 3.3 million. He has never earned more and to think this is all clear profit, even after paying all the taxes. To achieve this, Rieu really had to cut costs. So in the last few years he had to say good-bye to 21 employees, shrinking his workforce in three years from 115 to 94.

His Own Little Neighborhood

Previously the star violinist had a hand in doing the craziest things. For his performances in Europe an entourage of thirteen fully filled freight trucks followed him of which three hauled only the chandeliers and carpets. That was so as to create the proper ambiance in the concert halls. During his tour through America, a bus laden with only fitness equipment rode along. He also copied the Viennese castle "Schönbrunn. The dragging along of all those items not directly related to his music, took huge amounts of money, but that did not keep the violinist awake at night, because he never did it for the money. Under pressure from the impending bankruptcy, another critical look was taken at the spending pattern of the violinist and choices had to be made. The Rieu caravan primarily travelled around the world on borrowed money, and with the last one, he and his wife Marjorie financed that one with all their private possessions. They were buried under a mortgage of millions. He borrowed 2.5 million to build a new studio, and around his castle "de Torentjes" in Maastricht he purchased numerous building so as to create his own little neighborhood, including homes for his two sons.

 Now that the last few years’ business has again been profitable, and Rieu is earning millions like water, money also became available for his greatest possession, his castle, for a drastic renovation. That is very necessary every few years since "Huis, de Torentjes" is almost 500 years old. It dates back to 1526. Up to the square tower on top of the roof, the castle was encased in scaffolding. A few years ago they discovered that part of the St. Peter’s mountain, where Rieu resides, was at one time part of the sandstone pits. During sewer works on André’s street, remnants of a tunnel and railway tracks, an underground sandstone wall, a gutter, building components and two fragments of a gravestone from 1734 were found.

Vomiting Sounds

In 2015 the castle again appears in a spick and span condition, fully restored to its former glory. Since the castle is a monument, all the old details must be maintained every hundred years or so, thereby not changing the outer appearance. Of course this was taken into account with this large scale renovation. It is expected that the millions will continue to flood into Rieu’s company for the next several years. And then to think that in the beginning of his career it took him years to land a record contract. The young André was successful and performed mostly in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, but no one wanted to release his music. "It took me seven years to land a record deal" he once said. The first record boss with whom he had an appointment, asked him; "What do you play? Waltzes? Then he made a sound as if he had to vomit. He really did that" André told. But I kept going back to the record companies and after seven years, someone finally listened. The last record boss saw something good there, since in the meantime André Rieu has sold over thirty million records and DVD’s worldwide. 

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John’s ©translation 

Feb 5, 2015

Highest Carnival Award for André Rieu

Highest Carnival Award for André Rieu

Maastricht Feb. 5, 2015: A new - and at the same time a very high award from the Tempeleers - has been awarded to André Rieu on Thursday morning. 't Joonk Leech,( New or young Light) is what this jewel is called, and dates from an ancient tradition of the Momus Society, the forerunner of today's Maastricht carnival.

The comparison with the Trichter, granted by the municipality of Maastricht to individuals or institutions on social or cultural areas of particular value to the capital of Limburg, can safely be made.

With son Pierre in attendance, a contingent of Tempeleers, Garderizzjemint, Kachelpiepers (Stove Pipes) and a battery of photographers and film crews, all watched as Prince Odin hung  the decoration around the neck of the most famous Maastricht Citizen ever. Prior to that official moment, Tempeleer president Henk de Jong read André Rieu's merits. A long list of special performances and moments.

Rieu, who together with the Johann Strauss Orchestra, is ready to depart for Berlin, told the audience that as a Mestreechter citizen he was very delighted with 't Joonk Leech award. He once again emphysised the point that music brings people together. "You see that during my concerts, but just as well as with carnival." He added: "You can very easily compare one of our concerts with one of the basic principles of carnival. During both events, there are no ranks or classes. Everyone is equal and together everyone is enjoying the event"...

"It Joonk Leech" was the highest distinction during the Momus reign. At that time the Momus members maintained close ties with the Jesters Academy in Dülken, Germany, and the Momus Society incorporated
a variety of the Academy's symbols."

Thanks to John for the Translation

Jan 30, 2015

High Carnival Award For Rieu

High Carnival Award For André Rieu

 The Limburger: André Rieu is to receive 'T JOONK LEECH (a New Light) award, which is the highest award of the Maastricht Carnival Organization, "De Tempeleers" . This will be the first time that "De Tempeleers" will award this jewel. "t Joonk Leech" dates back to the time of the Momus-society, the forerunner of the urban carnival club. The award, a golden crescent moon, originated in the jesters academy in the German city of Dülken, with which the Momus maintained close ties. 

Rieu will receive the award for his services to Maastricht, its culture and the Maastricht Carnival (Mestreechter Vastelaovond), and in the case of the conductor, particularly in he field of music.

Thanks to John for the Translation

Jan 27, 2015

André Rieu - Holocaust Memorial Day

Today on Holocaust Memorial Day I'd like to commemorate my wife's relatives who died in concentration camps and all the victims of Auschwitz. Let's all make sure this will never happen again ... André Rieu

Jan 26, 2015

André Rieu: Love, Italy and a Holiday on Lake Garda

Interview With André Rieu
About Love, Italy and a Holiday on Lake Garda

Interview by Schlager, Germany: The great virtuoso André Rieu fills all the stages in the world and is currently on his great European tour in Germany until March and allowed us a brief interview in between concerts.

Dear Mr. Rieu, we are very pleased that you took the time out to speak with us and give us an insight into your relationship with Italy. Your new album is called "A Night in Venice". What would you do if you only had one night in Venice?
What would I do? ... I think everything that is romantic. Gondola ride, sitting on the Piazza San Marco - simply wandering along, strolling over the many bridges, admiring the buildings and just let me do my thing. And hope I would meet Commissario Brunetti somewhere and have a glass of wine with him! (laughs)

You are a Donna Leon fan? *** Oh yes, very much so. Marjorie and I never miss an episode.

You wrote the theme song for Donna Leon and there are also three original compositions by you on your new album, all of which are dedicated to Venice ...
Exactly. The Gondola waltz, a tarantella and really important song on the new album for me: Love in Venice.

The song "Love in Venice" you dedicated that on Face Book and YouTube to George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin ...
Yes! We had just finished that when the two got married. I wish them both all the best and hope it brings them happiness. My wife finds that the most romantic thing I've ever composed. We've been married 39 years, and I think we've done everything right together. Maybe they'll do that too, I hope so. (laughs)

What is so special in the composition "Love in Venice"?
I usually play my Stradivarius, but for "Love in Venice" I looked for a violin with a different sound. It should be softer, "more lovingly". I have tried many violins and found a really beautiful, very gentle one that fit perfectly for the piece.

What role does composing play in your life?
Mozart composed with his left hand and at the same time played billiards with his right, drank and made love. So that does not work for me. It is not easy to find time for that, because I often am on stage and we are constantly traveling. I compose together with my first violinist Frank Steijns, who is also an excellent pianist. The idea for "Bella Tarantella" came to me, for example, when I was with Frank in a taxi in Santiago, Chile. Suddenly there it was. That was a wonderful moment!

Could you have ever imagined not playing the violin, but another instrument?
My father was a conductor, and gave me my first violin at age five. I immediately felt that this instrument is like a voice. You can feel its vibration while you play. A piano is also a fantastic instrument, but there is no direct contact with the body. The violin, in this respect is unique in the world; it is very close to you. And that's what I like about it.

That sounds like a love relationship ...
Yes, that's right. When you spend hours each day with an instrument, you must love it. Otherwise it becomes anguish.

There can be no love without broken hearts. Could heartache also be found in your music?
I think that sadness and love belong together, like sadness and joy. I do not think that there can be love without heartache. They belong together. If I love a person, it is for 100 percent. But you can also find heartache in my music.

Azzurro, Volare, That's Amore, O sole mio ... many songs on the new album are about yearnings.
Precisely and about romance. The song, "La Gondola", for example is very melancholy. In every waltz by Johann Strauss you will find joy, love and grief, like in the "Lagoon Waltz." And you also find it in literature. Look at one of the most famous books by Thomas Mann "Death in Venice". Venice is actually an epitome of beauty and romance - but also of transiency - actually a little more opposed to the other cities of Italy.

Rome for instance?
Yes, Rome is quite different, but also fantastic. I could spend hours in the Coliseum – had I not become a musician, I would have been an architect.

Where does this love for Italy come from, so many Northern Europeans have it?
That is due to the sun and love. Marjorie and I both love the country very much; we are big fans of the Italian "way of life". Marjorie speaks perfect Italian, and we go there privately once a year for a week.

So we could find you during the summer at a campsite on Lake Garda?
Haha, no! We mostly travel to Rome and not during the main holiday season. Otherwise I could not move around undetected, that would not be a holiday for me.

In January and February 2015 you and your Johann Strauss Orchestra come to Germany, Austria and Switzerland for twenty concerts. What can the audience expect?
A completely new program with many Italian hits which will make our audience hopefully forget the winter, but also waltzes, operas, operettas and film music. Also the Berlin Comedian Harmonists are with us on the 2015 tour. And at the end we all have a big party. I'm really looking forward to all of it.

*** Donna Leon (aka Commissario Brunetti) is a German television series based on a series of crime novels set in Venice by Donna Leon. It has been produced since 2000 by the ARD in Germany. This TV series is also shown in Spain and in Finland by Yle. Music: André Rieu.
Thanks to Ineke for this German article and John for Translating it for us

Jan 18, 2015

André Rieu My family is The Center of My World

André Rieu
My family is the center of my world

He is the most famous Maastricht citizen on earth, sold forty million CDs worldwide, lives on top of the Sint-Petersberg in a castle, but André Rieu does not see himself as the Sun-King of Maastricht. "I want to make people happy especially with my music."

Nouveau Magazine - Interview by Marion Florusse: This coming summer, André Rieu will again change the Vrijthof into an open air concert hall in which thousands of people can enjoy his romantic concerts. The maestro, who since 2007 has been touring the world with an entourage of over one hundred personnel, still intensely rejoices himself about a new production. As a boy he fell in love with the waltz: light music for the experienced ears accustomed to the heavier works from the classical repertoire. But for him it was a revelation, which eventually would lead to world fame. Together with his wife, Marjorie, they live in "House the little Towers", a sixteenth century castle located on top of the Sint-Petersberg. Their sons Marc (1978) and Pierre (1981) live with their families on the estate and are employed with the Rieu firm. The Rieu firm is huge and for instance they bring their own catering business on tour with them, but also many decors to transform each location into a romantic place. To the public concerts of the passionate violinist and his Johann Strauss Orchestra are colorful musical tales.

As a child I already dreamed of making people happy with music

Soon you will be playing another home concert on the Vrijthof. How do you like being on that familiar place? "That is fantastic. We tour the entire year around the world and enjoy all the concerts, but on the Vrijthof in Maastricht we indeed play especially well. It is the most beautiful square I know. Really!! Where else can you find such a large square, surrounded by beautiful historical buildings, which does not have a public garden, statue or fountain in its center? Here thousands of people can enjoy my concert, and in turn my orchestra and I enjoy them of course".

How do you explain the enormous success of your musical formula, the Johann Strauss Orchestra, the music, the entourage? "I think that is because we ourselves have so much fun with the music and that radiates itself out. It seems to be contagious".

After his studies at the conservatory in Brussels, the violinist performed with the Limburg Salon Orchestra, but it was always a dream to make classical music attractive to the general public. Eventually he succeeded.

What was crucial for you to take that step? "At a certain point my wife told me: "Just leave that orchestra because you are very unhappy. You have a dream, make it a reality, so I will go and earn a living for a while." And that she did. By that time in my life I also realized that making choices was very important in order to be successful and happy. You can continue your entire live and complain that you are not happy. But you have to do something about that!"

In 1987 André Rieu founded the Johann Strauss orchestra. Initially it consisted of twelve members, but currently sometimes more than fifty members occupy the stage. In the birth year of the orchestra André and his wife started their own business: André Rieu Productions.

You live in a castle, are world renowned, wealthy and beloved. You feel that way too? Laughingly: "No, such aspirations I do not have. I am lucky if I can make the sun shine during the Vrijthof concerts. Ha, ha! Other than that, that equation is totally wrong!"

What were your dreams like when you were a little boy? "I always dreamed to make people happy with my music and I am very happy to have been able to make that dream a reality. When I see how the people enjoy our music evening after evening and how such joy and happiness exudes from the Vrijthof, then I am not only happy but also a little proud."

I enjoy my grandchildren tremendously, they are darlings, all four of them

What was your childhood like growing up in Limburg? "Everything at home revolved around music. My brothers, sisters and I all played several musical instruments, so it was somewhat of a mini-conservatory at home. When my mother was not playing the piano, my father was practicing scores. When we were dressing there was always a record being played. Classical of course, anything else did not exist in our home. We divided humanity into two categories: musicians and the rest. My father was the conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and every week all of us, my mother with six children, would go to his concerts. In addition, I along with my brother Robert spend our entire childhood in the St. Servaas choir."

What affected you in the music?
"The atmosphere which made the biggest impression on me and which definitely was the basis for my musical career, were the Midnight Masses on Christmas in the St. Servaas, which I found colossal as a choirboy. The church was then beautifully decorated with flowers, there were lots of candles, incense, a large nativity scene and the people sang Christmas carols with the choir .... Almost as beautiful as the Vrijthof concerts, ha, ha ... !!

Which music do you like to play in your spare time? "When I am not rehearsing, studying or recording a CD, I do not play music. I much rather play then with my grand-children."

What does Limburg, and in principle Maastricht mean to you? "I was born here and with the exception of my studies in Brussels, have lived here my entire life. Maastricht is a wonderful city, it has everything you need, but it is small enough that I can go by car from my house to my studio on the other side of town in five minutes—but don’t let the police know! Maastricht is also a beautiful city with beautiful historic buildings that define the appearance and atmosphere. I love old towns. Moreover, there is coziness, especially in the summer with all the cafe terraces on the Vrijthof."

What do you miss most of Maastricht when you are on tour? "My family first and foremost and everything else that I just mentioned."

The castle where you now live, was previously not a favorite place for you, what changed your feelings about "House the little Towers"? Since we have lived here, we have done many changes and restorations. It has become much lighter. Earlier it was dark and gloomy."

How is it to live in such a place? "Truly magnificent. It lies on the outskirts of the city, with the front facing the river Maas (Meuse). In the rear, our garden starts at the St.Petersberg. As far as I am concerned, no human being can live nicer than that. Is there a Hollywood boulevard that can top that?"

What does it mean for you that so many people have an uplifting experience when they attend a concert by you and your orchestra so that they speak of another life through this experience?  
"Is that a fact? I have actually never heard that before. But if they are happy with my music, I'm very happy of course."

What is the main driving force in your life? "The pleasures I and my orchestra have in the music."

Is the man André Rieu a different person than the celebrated musician?
"No, not at all, I am the same person on stage, only in rock costume. At home I prefer to wear jeans."

How would you like people to remember you later on? "Oh, I would rather not think about that. I still enjoy life to the fullest and the music."

What is the most important lesson you have wanted to give your two sons? "I do not think that I consciously have wanted to give them lessons. They are both great boys and have a huge heart. They care for other people, and that makes me proud, just like my grandchildren. Very proud. I enjoy all four immensely, they are darlings."

Did your family have to make sacrifices for your career? "I do not think that Marjorie and the boys look at it that way. When the boys were still small I played with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and was often home, maybe more frequent than most fathers, since my afternoons were free.

What does family mean to you? "Very much. My family is the center point of my world. That is where I get all my energy."

You have known your wife Marjorie since you were eleven….What is the secret of your marriage? "Secret??? I would not know why! We love each other and together we have a lot of fun in music and our work."

Your wife is your toughest critic, what does her judgment mean to you? "Her opinions weigh heavily on me and I always listen very seriously to her critique."

Is Marjorie the secret force behind your success, the wings on which you fly? "Marjorie and I fly together, I believe, that is nicer than alone. We both gain strength from that."

What makes your really happy, besides music? "Since I have become a grandfather, I believe I enjoy that aspect of my life the most. But when I am standing on the Vrijthof, and see all those people in front of me enjoying our music so much, then I am also very happy,"

You are now 65, but still not nearly ready for your pension. How do you experience getting older? "I am not too involved in that. Of course you notice that you are getting older, since for instance, you cannot run as fast as you used to and you have more ailments than when you were younger. But actually I am not really bothered that much by that. And I do everything I can to stay fit and healthy."

What does all that entail? "I have a personal trainer under whose supervision I do weightlifting three times a week. He also accompanies us on tour so I do not have to interrupt my training schedule. He also advises me on foods. I do not smoke, have an occasional glass of red wine, eat healthy and varied and above all, not too much. And fortunately an occasional little piece of Limburg vlaai (pastry)."

What, when you look back on your career, has been the most remarkable change in your life? "I was brought up with classical music. I really never heard about the "Beatles" nor the "Rolling Stones". Yes, their names maybe, but the sort of music they played, I really never knew. Something like that was not allowed in our house. And I was not allowed to go out, so where would I have heard that. Only though Marjory I learned to know lighter music. Not so much pop-music, but operettas, waltzes and dance music. I immediately found that to be beautiful and that has caused a major change in my career."

What is your best memory? "I have many beautiful memories in my career as well as in my private life. The first concert on the Vrijthof ten years ago was very special. To be allowed to perform there, in my own city, in front of thousands of –especially then—Maastricht citizens: an experience never to be forgotten. But still now too, again every year, when people now come to the Vrijthof from all over the world, my orchestra and I immensely enjoy playing there. It has a unique atmosphere, which we will never forget."

How do you look to the future?
"Mostly, and although the politics do not always indicate a positive - optimistically I hope to be able to continue in doing what I love to do for a long time to come, namely making music and having people join in the fun.

André Rieu was born in 1949 in Maastricht in a musical family where father André Senior was a conductor, with two older sister, two brothers and a younger sister. He was given the names of André Léon Nicolas Marie, and studied violin at the conservatory in Brussels and where he received lessons from amongst others from Herman Krebbers. In 1994 he scored a world hit with "The Second Waltz" by Dmitri Sjostakovitsj. With his wife Marjorie, whom he married in 1975, they have two sons, Marc (1978) and Pierre (1981). He has one grandson and three granddaughters of which two are twins. Since 2002 the violinist has been a "Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion." With his Johann Strauss orchestra he performs mega concerts all over the world.

Thanks to Ineke for the article and ©Translation by John 












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