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Nov 18, 2019

ANDRÉ RIEU: "Why I Fled England"

ANDRÉ RIEU: "Why I Fled England"

After eight years of loyal service, ANDRÉ RIEU has put a stop on his traditional Christmas concerts in Great Britain. "We were forced to flee there because we were literally "left out in the cold." From now on we will be celebrating Christmas every year in a big and romantic way in Maastricht!,” he said today on the Privé page. "We created our own Brexit with this."

De Telegraaf, by HARRIE NIJEN TWILHAAR - Waltz King ANDRÉ RIEU (70) is faced with one of his greatest challenges in his musical career. “In December I will be giving for the first time a series of Christmas concerts (December 20, 21 and 22) in the MECC in Maastricht, and they will be unparalleled. Never before have we created such a huge musical production," he says at home in his fairy-tale castle on the banks of the Maas.

At the kitchen table he unfolds his plans in detail. " In my own environment I can concentrate well and be inspired. There I will not be disturbed and I can already dream about how beautiful it all will be in December. "

Traditionally, the Christmas performances took place in London for years. "We fled from there because of a trivial, let's say absurd reason. Because the organization was constantly opposing us. In recent years we had to give our concerts in an ice-cold hall and the Winter feeling was served quite literally on a silver platter. Without any consultation the thermostat was turned way down with the result that the orchestra members were having problems with their instruments. They sat on the stage with numb fingers and chattering teeth. The audience also complained. It could no longer be sustained. This year we would have been giving a sparkling Christmas concert there for the ninth time.

World Star

It was enough for the world star and his Johann Straus Orchestra. "A constructive conversation with the hall managers yielded nothing. So after eight years, I decided to pull the plug. We thus created our own Brexit without interference from BORIS JOHNSON. Of course we then had to look for an alternative. The result was that we had to think of something else before Christmas 2019. Then I thought to myself: "Why don't we do it in my own home town of Maastricht?" It will be here in a few weeks! We will be going to England in April or May to give a number of concerts so as not to disappoint our loyal fans there.”


Isn't there an enormous pressure on your shoulders to entertain 33,000 concert visitors for three days?

"You can easily say that. Because it is a mega job to organize such a three-hour concert. The alternative to stay in England during Christmas days was impossible. There was a lot of pressure going around. At one point I was completely fed up when we again had to perform in a kind of a meat locker. It was downright ridiculous, the resistance from the British. Talking didn't help anymore. No idea why they did this."

That's why you pulled the plug.

"Yes, I was very annoyed. After that of course I was burdened with the question: what now? After all, we now had a big gap in our agenda. Then I had kind of a "Eureka moment." Why aren't I organizing the Christmas concerts in my own city? When I presented them to my staff and orchestra, everyone reacted positively. The English fans, on the other hand, were dumbfounded."

You are completely going to revamp the MECC into a palace in a winter atmosphere.

"It is going to be a gigantic operation that will be larger and more extensive than our traditional summer concerts on the Vrijthof. We have invested lots of money to turn the inside of the MECC into a palace in a Winter atmosphere. The audience will be immersed in an almost surreal environment. Fifty giant chandeliers will be flown in from Venice. The hall will change into a Wintry Christmas landscape with even two ice rinks, snow and beautiful wall decorations. Romance will predominate with lots of candlelight. "

You conceived and initiated everything yourself. Is that typical André Rieu?

"In my mind I  see exactly how everything, the stage and the decoration of the hall should look. I am not stubborn, but I do want to keep everything in my control. It now keeps me busy day and night. My son PIERRE (38) repeatedly puts on my brakes when I financially go off the road with my plans. Then he reminds me with: "Could it be a little less dad ...?" I really do listen to him. In the coming weeks I will be putting on the finishing touches. Everything must be right, I am simply a perfectionist."

You even have dancers waltz on an ice rink in the hall and a huge gospel choir performs.

"A total of three hundred dancers will participate in the show. Sixty couples will also waltz on the ice rink. They are brilliant artists who will provide a sparkling show. We have contracted the gospel group "The Golden Voices of Gospel" to make it a swinging concert. In addition, there will be around fifty different Charles Dickens characters walking around in beautiful costumes.”

There will also a Christmas market in another hall.

“Three hours before the start of the concert, visitors can stroll through a special Christmas market to get into the Christmas mood. These will be beautiful days. "

Mentally and physically it is quite a challenge for you. You look fit, but aren't you afraid of a relapse like almost ten years ago?

"I have to honestly admit that I'm afraid of that. At that time things went horribly wrong when I experienced equilibrium problems due to a persistent virus. That viral infection completely took me down. When I finally and slowly recovered, I decided to live healthier."

What did that illness do to you?

"It was a period to which I often think back to. I still remember that I stood by the poultry dealer and suddenly lost my balance. I had to grab hold of a rack in order not to fall flat on my face. The dizziness attacks did not go away. Doctors sounded the alarm and my family and the orchestra members were depressed. It had a great impact on myself and everyone else around me. I was exhausted, burned out and feared for the future. I was terrified that the successful "André Rieu era" would be over. We had to cancel two large tours, for example the one through Australia. Fortunately, I never had another attack afterwards. Yet I am terrified that it will come back again. Now I pay extra attention to myself.”

How do you do that?

"My family members are also watching me closely. My wife MARJORIE (72) of course is by my side. She watches over me. In addition, I can be found in the gym with Pierre three times a week. I cannot think about getting sick again. I have a huge responsibility. Don't forget that I am the employer of an orchestra consisting of one hundred and twenty musicians. They are all on the payroll. In addition, there are just as many freelancers."

You turned 70 in October. Are you going to take it easy?

"No way. Making music and putting a big smile on the faces of the audience is my passion. I keep going until I really can't do it anymore. Because it is really enjoyable when you see that people are enjoying themselves. Maastricht will radiate a lot of romance at the end of December and I hope to create the Christmas feeling in advance with this series of unique concerts”

Thanks to Ineke for this article and John's translation
Photo from André

Oct 27, 2019

Rieu Is Very Proud of His Monument

André Rieu Is Very Proud of His Monument

Since yesterday André Rieu has his own little monument on the Vrijthof. Together with Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake the world renowned violinist and orchestra leader placed the last stones next to the bronze plaque.

Maastricht, de Limburger by Mark Cobben: As if he has done nothing else in his entire life, André Rieu skillfully taps a cobblestone with a hammer into the ground next to his bronze memorial plaque. "May I have some sand?" he asks laughingly. He is proud, "very proud" he then says. A plaque with my name on it. On this beautiful square in my birth town. Here I will lay forever ..." 

The violinist and orchestra leader received a memorial last summer from the municipality of city of Maastricht during his 100th concert on the Vrijthof. The plaque reflects one of the sentences of the Maastricht anthem: "Eus ougen bloonken bei dien glories" (Our eyes are tearing due to your triumphs) In addition the Maastricht skyline is depicted on it. "I was totally blown away that I was to receive this token of recognition from my city," while he reflected back to that moment of 21 July 2019. The plaque is located on the eastern side of the square, exactly on the same spot where Rieu and is son  Pierre wait together for the last three minutes before he walks onto the stage.

André Rieu started in 2005 with three concerts. This year the 15th edition took place with the 100th concert, and also the one millionth visitor was welcomed. "Who would have expected that?" he asks. "I definitely did not! I could never have imagined that my concerts would be indispensable in this city. Back then I just started with the idea of: "We'll see." That is how I live too, I plan infrequent. I'll just see ..."

Anxious Moments
Rieu just returned from Chili where he had to cancel a concert tour in that country last week due to huge demonstrations. His musicians experienced some anxious moments he tells. "One hundred fifty meters from our hotel a gasoline station went up in flames, as tanks roared through the street. When you are by yourself or with someone else you think it will all turn out alright. But we were with 120 people. And you want to get them to a safe place as quickly as possible. I was very relieved when we landed in Buenos Aires." He and his orchestra will depart in two weeks for Spain and Portugal for a nine concert tour. And at the end of December there will be three Christmas concerts in the MECC in Maastricht that will be quite a spectacle he predicts. "Although it will be quite a challenge to turn the MECC into a cozy place."
But we will succeed" he says, "even although it will cost us a lot. We are going to give the people an unforgettable experience."

Summer Concert Dates Announced
Yesterday the first Vrijthof concert dates for 2020 were made known.
They will take place on 3, 4 and 5 July.
"We start like always with three concerts and can expand to twelve.
We do not want to do more since that places too much of a burden on the city," 
according to Pierre. The presale starts this coming Wednesday

According to son Pierre, the Christmas concerts are not to be compared to the Vrijthof concerts. "This will be a totally different experience. Visitors upon entering will be received by brass players and immediately transferred into a Christmas Winter Wonderland. Ice rinks will be built and a small version of "Winter Land" will be built up. The aim is, according to Pierre Rieu, that the Christmas Concerts will become an annual event.

Thanks to John for his translation of this article

Oct 22, 2019

Chilean Adventure Expensive Experience for Rieu

Chilean Adventure an Expensive Experience for Rieu

The cancelling of two concerts in the Chilean capital of Santiago will costs André Rieu lots of money. According to his son Pierre it is almost certain that the costs will not be covered by insurance.

Santiago/Maastricht: by Rob Cobben - Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra left the South American city, which has been the scene of severe unrest for days, but were only able to leave late Sunday evening. For that, they had to wait for a rented aircraft from the United States. Yesterday, the orchestra landed safely in the capital city of Buenos Aires and there the company had to wait (120 men and women) for a connecting flight to Amsterdam.

The Limburg musicians are very shocked by the violence in Santiago. "Everyone thinks it's terrible what happens there," says Rieu. The musicians also regret that they had to disappoint more than 20,000 fans with the cancellation of two concerts in the "Movie star Arena". But there were no other options, reports the violinist who says that the safety of his staff and fans are paramount. "It was a good decision to leave the country. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, we heard from our promoter in Chile that the situation had worsened and that the violence had already reached the street of our hotel." 

For the home front, the last hours of Sunday were very anxious because the internet and telephone networks in Santiago were non-operative. There was no contact for hours with the musicians in South America. In the Chilean capital, riots broke out two weeks ago against announced tariff increase in the public transportation system. On Friday, President Sebastian Pinera instituted a state of emergency for Santiago following severe unrest, in which at least 16 busses went up in flames, stores were looted and several buildings were set on fire. On Saturday, the President suspended the tariff increases, but that remained insignificant. The unrest situation spread on Sunday to other cities in the South and North of the country. In the meantime, at least ten people have died in the riots.

André Rieu would have given four concerts with his orchestra in Chile, but did not get further than two. "On the way from the hotel to the second concert we already saw disturbances in the streets. And after that performance, it soon became clear that things were not going right."

Cancelling the concert tour in Chile is a big loss for André Rieu Productions. The damage for the company is probably in the thousands, but an exact amount cannot yet be given. "That is something for later; we now have focused our attention on getting everyone out of there as quickly as possible," says Rieu. He considers the chances that the insurance will reimburse the expenses to be small. "I don't think that in our insurance policy it states that we are insured against disturbances." 

It is not the first time that Rieu concerts could not take place due to exceptional circumstances. A show in Turkey was cancelled once after a blast near the concert hall took place. And two years ago some concerts in Mexico had to be postponed due to an earthquake there. Rieu hopes to be able to catch up on the concerts in Chile on a date yet to be determined.

Thank You to John for the Translation

Oct 13, 2019

André Rieu "Welcome To My World 3"

"Welcome To My World 3"
Join Us On a World Trip With André Rieu

AvroTros, 10 episodes, starting Friday Oct. 18, 2019  9:25 PM, NPO 1. (Dutch TV) -  Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra are back with a new series 'Welcome to my world'! In this third series, the maestro travels to the other side of the world. Literally, because they settle in Australia for a very special Christmas party on the beach. Also North America, Tel Aviv and of course the home town of Maastricht will also visited. In ten episodes you will get a look behind the scenes of the grand and spectacular concert tour.

The series starts Friday October 18, 2019 on Dutch TV and begins on a very familiar location: the Vrijthof in Maastricht. During the rehearsals, soprano Donij van Doorn brings André to tears with her performance of an aria from 'La Traviata' and the orchestra receives the surprise of their lives when David Hasselhoff arrives in his "Knightrider" car.

Trip down memory lane

The world trip starts in Israel, where André gives a party in honor of his first concert in this country. And what else than a traditional Dutch clog dance to celebrate this! In between the concerts, André and the orchestra are afforded an opportunity to discover the Holy City of Jerusalem and there is an emotional reunion between Jewish families. In the next episode, the 30-year anniversary of Rieu's career is celebrated with a trip down memory lane.

The American Dream

André and the orchestra perform a special concert in Los Angeles and of course a visit to the "Hollywood walk of fame" should not be missed there. But the rest of the USA is also being explored: in Arizona the cowboy boots are ready and in Florida the sopranos are getting into a Halloween mood. Later in Europe they are seeking the sun in Lisbon, where André is invited for a royal visit to the Queluz Palace.

Christmas in the sand

The series ends in December with a special Christmas party. The entire team is in Sydney for a performance at the historic town hall. And if you are in Australia, you should of course look for koalas and kangaroos. This time the Christmas meal is not with the family around the dining table, but on the warm beach. Barbecue included!

Photos by Marcel van Hoorn
Thanks for Article from Ineke and Translation by Ineke and John

Oct 4, 2019

Birthday Greetings To André From All Walks of Fans

The Newspaper “The Limburger” posted  a series of Congratulations by prominent people, colleagues and fans of André Rieu on the occasion of his 70th Birthday

October 1, 2019: By Rob Cobben, Kim Noach and Peter van de Berg. Drop the name “Maastricht” in New Zealand, Brazil or Japan and you will immediately receive “André Rieu” as a response. The Maastricht musician is world famous and knows how to touch the hearts of millions with his music. Today he is celebrating his 70th birthday. Long may he live … and play ...
Sister Leona (105), big fan

“I have been following  André Rieu since the “Hieringe Biete” concerts (Eating herring). I secretly went there from the convent. And I always returned very happy. He makes the people happy with his music. If I feel bad or sad I put one of his CDs on and then everything goes immediately much better. He is a wonderful human being, who is concerned about his fellow human beings. I hope that we can enjoy his music for a long time to come; and I hope that I will still be there next Summer to dance a waltz with him on the Vrijthof Square”.

Jan Cober (68), conductor of the marching brass Band “Sainte Cécile” (which performs at the Vrijthof before the concerts)

Your father was steadfast, was a beacon for his musicians. You show the same traits with your orchestra and not only in the artistic way. You demonstrate the same with your own orchestra, which does not show only on the artistic side, but you manage an orgaznization in a subtle way. Your music is often underestimated but you bring it to something special by your high qualities and striving for perfection. We may be very grateful for that and enjoy it to the fullest. I wish you many more healthy years and for us to enjoy your music André, best wishes!

Theo Bovens (60), commissioner to the King in the province of Limburg

André, I wish you many more years in good health, with your engergy and condition, I think that that will turn out well. I hope that you will pleasure many in Limburg with your music, and the manner in which you carry out the name of Limburg in the rest of the world. André uses music as the language of the heart. Through that he easily connects with people regardless of circumstances, roots or cultures. Being in Lourdes (place of pilgrimage in France) I was one of the first who heard your track “Wie sjoen os Limburg is” (How beautiful our Limburg is). And for only that reason, his music sticks with me.

Enzo Kok, (17) violinist

André Rieu’s music is very special because it appeals to a broad audience. I experienced that myself. One moment you laugh about his jokes and the next moment you are moved to tears. That is his power. He is a lovable man who leaves nothing to chance, everything is organized into the smallest details. That night in 2015 when I was allowed to join the orchestra … was so special to me. A dream which came true.

Gerd Leers (68), former mayor of Maastricht, who assisted André in performing on the Vrijthof in 2005

In church history, the triple stroke, Verum, Pulchrum and Bonum (the truth, fair and good) have been used for centuries. If one fails, the other two will fail as well. For years “the fair” was seen as unnecessary frills, but André Rieu put that into its place again and made it accessible to the masses.

I passionately sing along with the choir: Long may he live… because then we all will have André and his fantastic orchestra with us for many years

Jan Slagter (65), Manager of the Dutch TV Channel “Omroep MAX"

André Rieu is a phenomenon. During the "Time for Max" tour in 2016 we were in Maastricht on the O.L.V. square (Our dear Lady square) for a broadcast with André and a free mini concert for the audience (watch the movies website under previous items: free mini concert on Sept.30, 2016 or click:
It was spectacular. He managed to get everyone to dance! I hope that he may perform many more beautiful concerts and that he can travel the world in good health. As an ambassador he puts the Netherlands and especially Maastricht on the map and that makes us extremely proud.

Rocco Granata (81), singer, composer of the song ‘Marina” (with which André finishes his concert every evening)

A few years ago I performed as a guest in André’s concert on the Vrijthof. Afterwards I received reactions from family, friends and fans from all over the world. André is a top entertainer! I am not surprised that he and his orchestra are highly regarded all over the world. If I were to be an impresario, and I could choose between Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, the Rolling Stones or the Beatles, I would be sure: I would always select André Rieu. He has to continue for at least another 50 years.

Guido Dieteren (45) violinist, conductor of Guido’s orchestra

I know André very well. From October 1995 until May 1998, which was during my conservatory studies, I was allowed to play as a fulltime violinist in his orchestra. They were beautiful musical experiences. Our very first performance in Germany was really unforgettable. The audience in Hamburg almost literally brought the roof down. During the years I played with the orchestra, we always started with the “Frühlingsstimmen” (Voices of Spring) Waltz. Even now, when I hear this beautiful waltz, I think: “Start the show, it is showtime!”

Beppie Kraft (73), singer from Maastricht

I admire the way André manages his hectic life, with so many travels and performances all over the world. My favorite Rieu piece is of course “Clavelitos”, an original Spanish song, which I bring to the stage as “In d’n hiemel” (In Heaven). Years ago I discovered this melody. I spoke to my producer, who knew that André had this song in the repertoire of his Maastricht Salon Orchestra. It remains a wonderful memory that we share this beautiful piece together.

Jack Poels (62), singer of the Limburg pop band “Rowwen Hèze”

In 2007 André invited our band to perform with him on the Vrijthof. One day earlier I had planned my wedding party. "So then celebrate that here with us;" André said enthusiastically. "I’ll never forget that!"

Once I heard a Rieu fan say: “André takes the pain away in my life”. I have never forgotten that remark. There is no expiration date on his music. And the waltz is so universal which everyone understands. I appreciate him also as a hard worker. When I also look at "Rowwen Hèze": we both worked very hard in achieving something.

George Baker (74) singer and composer of “Green bag” and “White Dove”

I greatly appreciate André for his courage, entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance. He has fully realized his dream and we in the Netherlands can be very proud of that. I see him going on for a long time. You see that he still has fun on stage. He radiates pleasure. No, we have never performed together.  I am very honored that he recorded my hit “Una Paloma Blanca” (One White Dove) on his new album.

Thanks to Ineke for sending these and John's Translation

Oct 3, 2019

André Rieu Interview in Maastricht A sensitive String

Interview With André Rieu in Maastricht
A Sensitive String

Orchestra leader André Rieu turns 70 today, but he continues to play. A walk with the Maastricht violinist, who never received the recognition from his parents.

Volkskrant  Oct. 1st 2019. Translated fragments from the article
By Gijs Beukers and Merlijn Kerkhof - We suggested to start the walk on the Vrijthof square, the epic center of the Rieu worship. André was accompanied by his lady of press affairs, the German Marie, and two body guards. We had been given a 30 minute time for the interview. Soon we noticed that it was not the best idea to go to the Vrijthof. Even on a drizzly autumn afternoon André seems to be a magnet for passers-by who ask him for autographs or take selfies with him. Rieu took the time and talked to them in fluent German, French, Dutch and Maastricht dialect.  When it started to rain, we went to the “Hoofdwacht” a neo-classical building at the Vrijthof, to take shelter under the gallery, and there we were not too noticable for passers-by.

Do you ever get tired of the attention?
No, only if fans claim me. In the beginning of my career I was in France. A boy in a tuxedo was playing the violin on a square and I immediately noticed that he was forced by his parents. They said to me: “He is terminally ill, he only has two more months to live and you should play with him”. I did not believe them and I did not do it. The boy is still alive. These kind of things often happen.

What happens to the Johann Strauss Orchestra when you stop?
I don’t know. When the two Strauss boys died, their orchestras stopped.

Are there people in the world who do what you are doing?
I don’t think so. Apparently it is more difficult than you think, to travel the world with 200 people.

Do you think that you get enough recognition in the Netherlands?
In the meantime, yes. The same happened to André van Duin. When he started, people thought him to be too straight forward. As soon as a renowned newspaper said he was good, it was okay.

In 2013 a certain music reviewer criticized you. Does that hurt you?
Not anymore. I know that my success is sincere and that colleagues respect me. So I don’t suffer anymore because of criticism.

Newspapers review classical orchestras but not yours.

Once you invited critics on stage.
Yes, in the beginning of my career. That was a Limburg joke. I invited two notorious Limburg critics, who always wrote in a cynical way. I invited them on stage. I gave one little bells and the other a whip. They could not do anything right and the audience reacted hilariously! They never wrote anything cynical again.

Rieu tells us he is fascinated by the universe. He reads books from the British physicist Stephen Hawking. Why are we here? What are we doing here? “That is so interesting. I developed my own opinion. I remember that my Geography teacher at the elementary school said that Europe, Africa, North and South America had been one continent in early history. I noticed that immediately, I told him because the pieces fit together. He didn't like that.

Were you a smart child?
No, not all. My mother thought I was a moron, because I had not yet spoken a single word before I was 2 years old. My father was a conductor and he demanded complete dedication from his children. I started to play the violin at 5. While friends played soccer outside, I had to follow lessons in solfège and ear training. It was tough. A child never wants something that has to be done and I was forced to learn to play the violin.

What was it like to play in your father’s orchestra? (around 1980 in The Limburg Symphony Orchestra).
Not so nice. It was like a civil service atmosphere. It was uncomfortable for me. “There comes the son-of …. ” Colleagues thought I was being favored. “We have to be nice, while we hate that man”. It was still the time that conductors were appointed for life. When my father stopped, it became more fun for me.

Did you speak with your father about that?
No, I had a difficult relationship with him. We never spoke too much and certainly not during that time.

You started the Maastricht Salon Orchestra in 1978 as a precursor to the Johann Strauss Orchestra.
What was his opinion about that?
He hated it. He did not say so, but I just knew. I played on weddings and parties. He did not send me to the conservatory for that!

Have you ever received his recognition?
He attended a concert once in Heerlen, but left halfway through. After that he wrote me a letter with the comment: “If someone can do it, it is André Rieu”. But he never gave me his blessings, he never embraced me. I found that very difficult. I think such things are important for children. On the other side: I should be thankful for his discipline and genes, which led to my career now.

Your father passed away in 1992. Do you regret that he did not experience your big break through?
I don’t know. I don’t even know if he would have appreciated it. My mother lived a long life (she died in 2018 at the age of 98) and she never said anything about it either.

Why not?
Because they never believed in me. My sister Teresia was their favorite. She was much bolder. Yes, I am on stage now, but actually I am very shy. As a child I was happy just sitting in a corner.

Have you ever taken steps to improve the relationship with your parents?
Yes, over 40 years ago I went into therapy, together with my wife Marjorie. The therapist said: You have to go on with your life. And that is what I did.

Then after one hour, press lady Marie gestures that we have to finish the interview. Where does the Maestro have to go? “I once wanted a new kitchen. My wife agreed under one condition: I had to cook for her”. We said goodbye and there he went: walking along the St. Servaas Church. He has to do the shopping!

Thanks to Ineke for article, her and John's translations
Photo by Rebecca Fertinel

Oct 1, 2019

André Rieu Celebrates His 70th Birthday in Maastricht

King of The Waltz (70) Celebrates His Birthday
In "His" Maastricht

André Rieu: "Without Marjorie, I would be in the gutter"

By Harrie Nijen Twilhaar, de Telegraaf. 30 September 2019: Violinist and conductor ANDRÉ RIEU celebrates his 70th birthday on Tuesday (Oct 1). The world famous "King of the Waltz" interrupted his South American tour to celebrate this memorable day with family, friends and his orchestra. In an exclusive interview the musician tells about his family, the love for music and the future: “I don't want to think about quitting. I am going be at least 140 years old!”

Maastricht citizen ANDRÉ RIEU is overjoyed that King's Day 2020 will be celebrated in "his" city and the violinist would like nothing more than to give Queen MÁXIMA and King WILLEM-ALEXANDER a concert to on 27 April. "The choice for Maastricht was the first "Birthday present" I received last week for my birthday. It would be fantastic to be able to perform for the royal couple."

Just back from Colombia, the uncrowned Waltz King, who is going to blow out seventy candles on Tuesday, tells us he wants to take all the time and tranquility to celebrate his birthday with a party of more than five hundred (!) guests. Now that he is at home with his wife MAJORIE RIEU (72), the driven artist can catch his breath. "After my birthday we fly back to Chile, where we will continue our concerts."

►Does your seventieth birthday feel different than when you were fifty or sixty?
"No, not at all! I don't feel like I'm turning seventy at all. And now again,  I am celebrating my birthday between two tours: Colombia and Chile. Isn't it fantastic that I have been traveling around the world in good health for so many years? I want to be at least a hundred years old. I trust the scientific research, which to indicate that we can even reach 140. So I'm halfway there, haha.

Hollandse Hoogte

►It seems that as you are getting older, your popularity also increases.
"My fame has indeed explosively grown in recent years. This is mainly due to our concert registrations which are shown worldwide. Also in countries where we have never performed before. I even get nice sweet messages from fans from India, Mongolia, Egypt, Malta ... truly from all over the world. The people in those countries primarily know our music from YouTube and Face book.

►Are there fans with whom you have built a personal relationship?
"No, I would never do that. I have my personal friends, lovely people with whom I already was friends before I was not yet known. That is very different from fans."

►You radiate a lot of enthusiasm.
"Being an artist does not feel like work. I have fun! I can imagine that people who have done heavy or tedious work all their lives will be happy when they can finally retire. But I can't imagine anything better than to be on stage every night and make music with my orchestra. After every concert I need a few hours to recover. You can only make music with love and passion.”

►How do you maintain that mentally and physically?
"I have changed my lifestyle. I eat healthy, do not drink alcohol and exercise a lot. I am lucky that I can sleep anywhere, even behind the stage. That is a big advantage. In addition, I have had a wonderful life of seventy years and I am energetic. I sometimes feel like a child who can play all day without getting tired. I just do what I feel like. That is also my advice to young, ambitious people: do something that you enjoy."

►Your illness in 2010, a viral infection of your equilibrium, hit like a bomb. Is that why you started to live healthier?
"I became ill that time for the simple reason that I did too much. Since then I do less. Fewer interviews, haha! I concentrate on music and I do strength training three times a week with a personal trainer.”

►Are you afraid of becoming ill again?
"Absolutely not. I almost never become ill and I think that the fear of becoming ill is in itself already a cause of illness.”

►You once said, "My life is music, it never stops." So neither do you?
"That's right yes. I see no reason to stop making music. It's too much fun! This year we performed in seventeen countries and sold nearly 700,000 tickets. Why should I stop? "

►You run a large family business, but a successor, musically speaking you don't have. Have you ever thought about how that is going to continue when the André Rieu era is over?
"For the sake of fairness: that is not something I am busy with currently. I mainly think about new programs, ideas, new CDs, DVDs, new countries where we can go. I have been doing this together with my wife Marjorie, for forty years, and we want to continue this together for a long time to come.”

►When is it over? If your health fails you?
"Well, if that ever happens, we'll see then how to proceed. I am not a worrier to sit and worry about that. I look ahead, but only in a positive way. What can I still do? And not: what I could possibly never do anyway?"

►You place an enormous value on your family. How important are they to you? PIERRE in particular is a driving force, MARC is less visible?
"My family is very important to me. Pierre (38) has been in the organization and production for almost twenty years. He has grown enormously in the company. Marc (41) is a painter and historian. He also writes lyrics for our website and has an advisory role in the musical field. He is a great connoisseur of classical music and film music. I do everything together with Marjorie. I would be in the gutter without her."

►The love with Marjorie is still flourishing, although it was less so in the past. You even went into therapy.
"We have been happily married for 44 years. The fact that we went into therapy had to do with the fact that we were both raised quite strictly. We had to learn to move more freely. Well, that was pretty successful! I always wanted a woman with whom I was not only privately happy but someone with whom I could also work well. Marjorie also gave me the confidence that I needed to form my own orchestra. She was the first to believe in me. Without her I would not be where I am now."

►You are away from home a lot. How does she deal with that?
"That is our life and it is great. We have contact with each other every day and moreover we are never more than two weeks on tour for, because there are many parents of small children in the orchestra. I certainly don't find it touring boring, on the contrary. ”

►Do you ever waltz with Marjorie?
"Haha! We took a dance course together once, but we both wanted to lead. So that became a fiasco. Just let me and my orchestra play a waltz!"

Photos: Hollandse Hoogte
Thanks to Ineke for sending the article and John translating it






Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht












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