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Jun 26, 2022

"Always TOGETHER, With or without ANDRÉ RIEU’

 "Always TOGETHER, 

With or without ANDRÉ RIEU’

Chapeau, July 2022.

Text by Richard Stark. Kris Nemeth photography.

Not only musically but also socially, the Johann Strauss Orchestra is known as a close-knit company. In some cases, LOVE even plays a game. First violinist Frank Steijns (51) and mezzo-soprano Madieke Schoots (40) have been in the "couples of the orchestra" category for two years now.

 

Madieke Schoots arrives a little later in the town hall because she still had to pick up the wedding album at home. Because of that I meet  the multi-instrumentalist and city carillonneur of Maastricht first in the seventeenth-century town hall, his part-time workplace and their prior wedding location. "We are one of the many couples in the orchestra, but we are the couple that was married last," says Frank Steijns. When the two sit next to each other, just then you notice how their eyes shine and how they complement each other seamlessly. It wasn't immediately love at first sight when they met at a rehearsal of the Johann Strauss Orchestra in Maastricht.

“I hail from Tiel, studied in Utrecht, but was working in Amsterdam at the time,” says Madieke. "With André Rieu I could sing along as a substitute for a singer on maternity leave." Frank adds: “I was not really open for love because my work with André means that I am on concert tour all over the world 150 days a year, and then it often turned out to be difficult to enter into a relationship.” Although the two did not immediately fly around each other's neck, a time did come for them in which they always had nice conversations with each other about everything ans anything. “We also visited each other's concerts and –  coincidentely or not – when we made a date, there was always one table free and always exactley the same”, Madieke remembers in the very beginning.

In the fall of 2015, the musicians went on tour with André Rieu to Chile. “We were somewhat awkwardly around each while other orchestra members probably saw our infatuation a kilometer away,” says Frank. After the tour, Schoots resumed her work as a singer in the Randstad. Steijns went on tour with the orchestra. At the baggage claim at the Dublin airport It happened, he reconstructs. "André tapped me on the shoulder and said: "You don't look very happy Frank, is it because of me?" I replied: "Somewhat because it is getting serious with Madieke and I am dreading the fact being on tour so frequentl.y " That is not going to be the case."  Then André said: “Madieke, I know her from my concerts… Call her right away and tell her I'm offering her a one-year contract!” Well, since then we've been happily together for six years now,” which he briefly summarizes the couple's love story. "We are together on tour from morning till night and that is going well, perhaps also because we are both Capricorns, just like , by the way, thirteen other musicians in the orchestra." while Madieke is looking for an explanation. “The other orchestra members have also embraced us as a couple and we ourselves too like the fact that you share the same experiences as partners. You experience the same concert from a different perspective as a singer or violinist. You sometimes talk about that before going to sleep, but that's only fun.” Frank, laughing: “For observant visitors to the Vrijthof concert in Maastricht: when the orchestra starts “Falling in love” by Elvis Presley, we always look at each other in love.”

 

Violinist FRANK STEIJNS and singer MADIEKE SCHOOTS have been a couple for six years already.


 Prior to André Rieu's concerts on the Vrijthof, the Maastricht Salon Orchestra will play a private concert for VIP guests of André Rieu Travel, with Frank Steijns on the piano.

“VerrasSing” (Surprise) performs in the Cellebroederskapel in Maastricht on 10, 14 and 24 July.

During the past corona period, an ensemble arose in which the two participate: “VerrasSing”, a company consisting of Madieke Schoots and two other vocalists from Rieu's orchestra, with Frank Steijns behind the piano. “During that period, we also gave a concert together in Washington on the carillon that the Netherlands donated as a gift to America  after the war,” says Frank. Something similar also happened in the Maastricht city hall when we got married. “Our wedding took place in the middle of corona period and for that reason only five people were allowed into the tower. I alone was allowed to play the Wedding Bells of the carillon and Madieke sang along.” “We also gave each other our rings there,” says Madieke as she along with her husband  browse through the wedding album. “Our family received the ceremony via a video link. When we looked at the Markt through the reverberation holes, a big surprise came to us," says Frank. “Due to corona, the entire André Rieu orchestra  was spread all across the square, but as one big family, was with champagne at their fingertips applauding and enjoying the event.

 Thanks to Ineke for this article and her and John's combined translation

Apr 26, 2022

André Rieu: "I Would Like for Máxima to Waltz"

 

At The Theater on The Vrijthof

André Rieu: "I would like for Máxima to waltz"

 De Telegraaf/Privé. By: Harrie Nijen Twilhaar

The "King of the Waltz," André Rieu, will perform for a real King on King's Day in Maastricht! The world-famous orchestra leader hopes that Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will waltz in front of the stage to his musical notes. “I performed for many heads of state and dignitaries, but this is really special in my own city.” André Rieu is once again enjoying the performances he is allowed to give. King's Day in 'his' Maastricht will be a highlight for him.


It is a great honor for André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra to be able to perform for the royal family on King's Day. It will be the first time in more than two years that the "Waltz King" can show his skills again in his own city.

Three hundred members from different brass bands will meet the bus containing King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, the princesses and other family members at the Sint Servaas bridge, the oldest bridge in the Netherlands. André Rieu will perform on Onze Lieve Vrouweplein (Our Dear Lady square) about halfway through the route. For him It feels special that he can perform as "Waltz King" for a real King and Queen.

When did you receive the invitation to play for the royal family during King's Day 2022?

“That was a while ago, even before corona threw a wrench in the works. We had received the invitation for this performance already more than two years ago. My orchestra and I consider it a great honor and we are very much looking forward to the concert. King's Day in Maastricht is of course something very special for all of us.”

 Which songs are you going to play?

“On the occasion of King Willem-Alexander's accession to the throne in 2013, we had the honor of performing in front of more than 60,000 people on the Museum square in Amsterdam. We then had a waltz composed especially for the royal couple. Of course we'll be playing that again now.”



How many times have you played for the King and Queen?

This will be the second time for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, and for Princess Beatrix we  performed more often while she was still Queen. This took place, for example, in the caves of Valkenburg. I remember well that we were only allowed to play for half an hour. At the end of the concert Beatrix thanked us and said spontaneously that she thought it had been too short. Very funny!"



How special is it for you that the royal family is coming to Maastricht?

“It is of course a great event for our beautiful city. Moreover, it is a great honor that King's Day 2022 is being celebrated in Maastricht. We sometimes have the idea that the South of Limburg dangles a bit, but that feeling will disappear in one go after King's Day!"

Do you have that Orange feeling yourself? Do you follow the Royal House closely?

“Well, I don't follow them closely, but I do follow them with interest. My wife Marjorie and I as post-war children were raised with the royal family. Queen's Day was always an important highlight of the year. You decorated your bike with red-white-blue and orange, my sisters wore orange bows in their hair, and you sang “Orange boven” (Orange on high). A wonderful tradition at the time.”

Are the King and Queen allowed to dance a waltz when you perform?

"Yes, of course, we play a wonderful waltz, especially for the royal couple! I really hope they start dancing in front of the stage, that would be fantastic.”

It means an awful lot for you to perform in your own city anyway, doesn't it?

“On King's Day we don't play on the Vrijthof, but on the slightly smaller, but romantic and intimate Onze Lieve Vrouwe plein (our Dear Lady square). But wherever we play, in the summer on the Vrijthof or before Christmas in the MECC, it is always special to perform in our own city.” "We have been playing on the Vrijthof since 2005! Two years ago for the first time in the MECC  we gave fantastic Christmas concerts. They were so festive that I was convinced they would become a great new tradition, so we were already looking forward to the next performance, but then those concerts also had to be canceled due to corona. But we will definitely continue with them next December!”

You have missed the performances in Maastricht enormously.

“It was sad that they were not allowed to continue for two years. In July 2019, it was the hundredth and for the time being the last concert to be held on the Vrijthof. On that occasion, Mayor Annemarie Penn-te-Strake came on stage during the concert and presented me with a bronze plaque. It has been placed on the Vrijthof and can currently be admired. It was a very emotional moment and I was really blown away! At that time, we didn't know that for the time being,  it  would be the last Vrijthof concert. So I am really looking forward to the wonderful concerts there next summer.”

Have you played for other heads of state or presidents in the world before?

“As mentioned, for the then Queen BEATRIX, and once during the BBC's Royal Variety Performance for Queen ELIZABETH. We played for the former Chancellor of Germany, ANGELA MERKEL, on the occasion of a celebration. All the ladies were enthusiastic about the music! I have received the World Music Award twice in Monaco, in the presence of Prince RAINIER. That was quite an honor!”

The past two years have been "hell" for you and the orchestra because of corona. Can you describe how you feel right now?

"In heaven, ha ha!"

Are you with Marjorie and your sons Pierre and Marc already busy with the preparations for the summer concerts on the Vrijthof?

"Absolutely!!. I was already busy with the Vrijthof program two years ago . That's not a concert where a week in advance you think: "What are we going to do now, guys?'”

Are you going to go the extra mile this year?

“It will be more beautiful and grander than ever. We have a world premiere, namely a performance by a great European male choir with one hundred and fifty singers! For this special occasion, the “Mastreechter Staar” (Male choir from Maastricht) will be complemented by fantastic singers from the opera choirs of Amsterdam, Liège and Aachen. The shivers are already running down my body when I think of what it is going to sound like. This summer it will be a party to remember for the many tens of thousands of fans.”

 

Thanks to Ineke for this article and hers and John's combined translation

Apr 15, 2022

Carillonneur Frank Steijns to Perform May 5th in Washington DC

 

Thanks to Motörhead: carillonneur Frank Steijns will play the carillon on May 5th at the National Cemetery in Washington DC

"De Limburger," by Ivar Hoekstra

Carillon player Frank Steijns. Photo by Arnaud Nilwik

Carillonneur Frank Steijns (52) will perform on May 5th in Washington DC on the restored Netherlands Carillon for a Freedom Concert. "It will sound over the National Cemetery where so many lay who fought for our freedom. John F. Kennedy notably is also buried there, and that I may play there is a great honor," says the Maastricht native.

What a few minutes of video on YouTube can lead to. As a little something extra, Steijns posted a video on a social platform last summer wherein he plays on the carillon in Weert Motörhead's metal classic "Ace of Spades." together with guitarist Jitse Zonneveld. The video went viral and the band Motörhead was so impressed that they sent Steijns and Zonneveld a Motörhead T-shirt as a thank you. "Because of that video, the Dutch embassy in Washington came to me and invited me to play the carillon on May 5. They saw that clip and thought: Him, we must have! Then you realize how large a scope YouTube has."


Queen Juliana


The carillon in Washington DC is not just a carillon, it was the national gift of the Netherlands to America as thanks for the liberation. " Given by Queen Juliana during her first state visit to America. Only the carillon never did sound good, because the bells were poured by three different Dutch bell foundries instead of one, which is much better for the homogeneity of the sound quality. It was another typical Dutch polder solution: to distribute the assignment fairly and equally. Now the bells have been restored by bell foundry Eijsbouts in Asten, the Netherlands and finally they sound like they should."


The May 5th concert will be dedicated to freedom. "I am playing the carillon together with my American colleague Edward Nasser and my wife Madieke Marjon, will sing two songs from "The Bells."  Text by Edgar Allan Poe, in a composition for song and carillon which I wrote on behalf of Yale University."


Metallica

At the special request of the Americans, Steijns will also play some modern music. "Since in the US the combination of carillon with modern music is not well known, but they are curious about that. The first part will mainly be music to honor the dead, but in addition to that I will also play works by Glenn Miller, and the Stars and Stripes Forever March, so also some modern music pieces. I still have to make that selection, but I'm thinking about, for example, "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica. Also because this would fit very well in terms of the program."

According to Steijns, bells have been a symbol of peace and freedom for centuries. "Because in times of war these large copper bells were often the first victims, they were confiscated and melted down to make weapons. When the bells rang again, you knew the war was over. The carillon used to be the radio of the people. Napoleon stripped it of its ecclesiastical ties and the government then determined what was to be played on it and by whom. That is still the case, as a carillonneur I am also a civil servant appointed by the government."



There's something magical about hearing the carillon resound all over the city, because the richness of those bells is enormous.

Frank Steijns, carilloneur

Good times, bad times

The bells are increasingly playing modern music. That started in the early nineties with the carillonneur of the Utrecht Cathedral who at one point let the tune of "Good Times, Bad Times" reverberate over the city. Now it is very common to use the carillon for special occasions. "The people love it, the reactions are purely positive. I think it has to do with the contrast: bells, hundreds of years old, which were already sounding when the barge was still passing through the Meuse and people transported themselves by horse and cart through the city, that, since now those bells now are playing pop classics, which fascinates people. And at the same time, there's something magical about hearing them sound throughout the city, because the range of those bells is enormous. It is the greatest musical instrument that exists and really of a different order than a violin or a flute."

Education

As city carillonneur of Maastricht, Weert and Heerlen and he is also a violinist in André Rieu's orchestra, so Steijns is a busy man. Aren't there any new carillon players who can take some of the pressure off his shoulders? "There are two places where you can learn the profession of carillonneur, one in Utrecht and the other in Mechelen, Belgium. But the problem is that you can't practice at home. For that you have to go to a place where there is a carillon, which is a big hindrance. I now do have a student myself, the Russian soprano Anna Emelyanova."

When Steijns on May 5th is the first to bring the restored Netherlands carillon back to life in Washington DC, he will undoubtedly think of Motörhead for a moment, because the rendition of their metal classic put him on the radar of the embassy in Washington DC. "While I didn't really know the band well, it was Jitse who was the real superfan. But I still have the Motörhead T-shirt in my wardrobe and there will probably be an opportunity that I can play "Ace of Spades" and then I will definitely put on that T-shirt!"

The freedom concert with carillonneur Frank Steijns will be streamed on May  5th via the site of the Dutch embassy in Washington.

Thanks to John for his translation

*Note, May 5th in the Netherlands is celebrated as Liberation Day in WWII

Mar 31, 2022

André Rieu’s Orchestra Healthy Again


André Rieu’s Orchestra Healthy Again 

Three Were Really Sick

Limburger. By Timo Schmid, March 30, 2022.- André Rieu's dozens of Johann Strauss orchestra members are completely healed. Son Pierre Rieu says that about 40 orchestra members were infected with the corona virus in recent weeks, three of whom were really ill. Due to the corona infections in his team, André Rieu had to decide to cancel his tour in America and Canada.

40 Infections

The three who were really sick, had flu symptoms and were in bed with a fever for 2 to 3 days,” says Pierre. Meanwhile, everyone is healthy and well in the Netherlands again. Some of the orchestra members, because of the corona infection, had to "become well again" in America.

No More Test Evidence

What makes it extra difficult for the world famous Maastricht violinist, is that Canada no longer requires negative tests evidence from travelers as of  1 April 2022. Pierre said: “We all had to test and then suddenly we had 27 positive tests, while no one was bothered by anything. That meant the we could no longer enter Canada,” says Pierre. The concerts in North America will be caught up in September 2023.

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

Feb 8, 2022

André Rieu and His Orchestra Will Be Giving Free Music Lessons

 André Rieu and His Orchestra Will Be Giving Free Music Lessons To Maastricht Children Who Grow Up In Poverty

André Rieu, Addie Redmeijer (left) in Rieu’s music studio.

February 1, 2022 De Limburger, by Merel Visscher. Photo credits: Harry Heuts: Using music to make social contradictions smaller. That is what violinist André Rieu has in mind with the free music lessons he wants to give to the underprivileged children of Maastricht.

“The goal is to introduce children, who are not familiar with music at home, to instruments and music”, Rieu explains. These lessons are paid for by Rieu himself, who is making four hundred thousand Euros available for this, together with a contribution from the Elisabeth Strouven Fund. The Maastricht violinist wants to start the lessons this year. Where the lessons will be given and which children are to be selected, will be worked out this year, together with Elisabeth Strouven and Addie Redmeijer of the welfare institution “Trajekt”.

Source

“The seeds for the idea were sown about four years ago”, say André and Marjorie Rieu. “We were visiting Annemarie Penn-te Strake and asked her how she felt about being the Mayor of Maastricht. She said she thought it was a great job, but she also found so much poverty in the city. We then started thinking about what we could do in that regard.” In the meantime, activities have been organized by the Rieu orchestra where children can get acquainted with music, but the plan is to tackle it structurally now.

Instrument

The orchestra members are also involved in the project. According to Rieu, many registered spontaneously. The music lessons are not one-on-one, but in groups. The children are immersed in the music and are allowed to choose an instrument themselves, under expert guidance, which they want to learn to play. “I get my inspiration from Venezuela, El Sistema. It is a huge success there.” "El Sistema" is free music education, set up in the slums in the 1970s by musician José Antonio Abreu.

Inventory

The problem, due to privacy legislation, was finding children who qualify for this, since the municipality is not allowed to just provide addresses. That is how Rieu came into contact with Addie Redmeijer, who assists Maastricht families in crisis situations through the “Trajekt” program.

Redmeijer: "I am active in every district of Maastricht, so I try to take inventory of which children would qualify for this. The music program is not intended to jump into the middle of Kumulus (music school)”, Rieu assures. “Many children who receive education at Kumulus come from an environment where music is already part of their life at home. This is about kids who don't. We think music can be of great help to these children in their lives.”


Thanks to Ineke for this article and her and John's combined translation

Record Number of Rieu Concerts At The Vrijthof

 Record Number of André Rieu Concerts At The Vrijthof

With the announcement of the 15th concert of the summer series on the Vrijthof in Maastricht, André Rieu is heading for a record. After two years of stagnation due to the corona crisis, the famous orchestra leader will give more concerts than ever before in his hometown.

 


Twelve concerts were already set for July 2022, and since most tickets sold in 2020 are still valid, there will be three new concerts added. The entire series of concerts starts on July 7 and will continue until July 31, with a break at the beginning of each week.

At every concert, about 11,000 people come to the Vrijthof, are on the square or the catering terraces.  This means that at least 165,000 fans from home and abroad will come to the Limburg capital this year. Especially for the hotels, restaurants and shops in Maastricht and surrounding areas, this is a welcome event after the successive lockdowns.

In the beginning of March 2020, André Rieu had to cancel his tour through America due to the outbreak of the pandemic. During the rest of the year he and his orchestra did not perform anywhere else. In 2021 he only gave four concerts in Lisbon, which were in the beginning of December.

This year looks better for the violinist. In February there are some performances planned in Spain, in March a tour through America is also planned and during the following months there are a lot of concerts on the program abroad, ahead of the Vrijthof summer event.

 Thanks Ineke for this article and John's translation

Dec 8, 2021

André Rieu Now I Am Living My Dream Again


Violinist André Rieu Now I Am Living My Dream Again


With his Johann Strauss Orchestra , André Rieu (72) normally travels all over the world and he draws full halls everywhere. For almost two years, the Netherlands' best-known artist was forced to stay at home. A huge task for someone who cannot sit still. Optimistic as he is, he's never lost hope. "Fortunately, Marjorie and I can put things well into perspective." 

Plus Magazine, December 2021, by Margriet de Groot.

 I used to be a dreamer and fascinated by everything you could make with your own hands. When I passed a construction site on my way to school, I could just forget about the time and stay there watching it for hours. My brother Robert and I had built a soapbox together, which we would forever tinker with. Whenever we had the chance, we always played outside and were being little hooligans, but I wasn't given much freedom as a child. Home felt like a monastery. My father was conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. My two older sisters, two younger brothers, my youngest sister and I all had to play an instrument. Not for fun, but as part of my upbringing. I found the violin by far the most beautiful instrument; that full string sound and the way all the bows in an orchestra moved up and down at the same time ........ wonderful. As a youngster I liked the second movement of the violin concerto the best, which is where the piece usually becomes soft and sensitive. I still and especially like melodic, romantic music which brings people to tears. Finger-snapping note-acrobatics does not do anything for me. As a five year old I received my first violin lesson. From that moment on I had to practice every day for at least an hour.  I would rather prefer to stand in front of the window dreaming away and just play beautiful music just by feel. Then the voice of my mother from downstairs sounded, and she commanded I practice scales and etudes. There was no appreciation for my musicality. My father was never interested in me or my music. In fact, when I started the salon orchestra after the conservatory, he disapproved of my choice of music. He has actually only been once to one of my concerts, and left half way through.


My Father has never been interested in me

My mother has never been. I followed my heart and feelings and that is against the classical music rules. It is considered a mortal sin when you, just like me, play only the nicest pieces from a symphony. My father not only disowned me as a musician, but also as a son. It was never right between us. Even on his deathbed he barely wanted to see me. My mother never mediated between us, she was even worse than he was. She never believed in me. I had a very strict and loveless youth. That I now can feel and express love myself, I think is because for the first three months of my life I was raised by a very sweet and warm neighborhood nurse. After giving birth, my mother was in the hospital with severe anemia. Your punch card is made for you during the first three months of your life. I owe a lot to my brother Robert, we formed quite a bond. I also had a special bond with my youngest sister. There is a 10 year age difference, and to me she was always "my doll" and I was sort of a father figure to her. Robert has really suffered due to the situation at home. He still has difficulties with it. I was able to put it behind me, thanks to therapy. And I can really recommend therapy to everyone. Together with my wife we spent four years in therapy. She too did not have a nice upbringing. We wanted to get rid of all that baggage before we would think about having children. The most important lesson is that you can't change the past nor the other person. Looking back doesn't do any good either, you have to keep going. Marjorie has been my salvation. When she entered my life, I went my own way. I still remember very well that when I said at home at the table that I was going to stay with Marjorie. It was as if I dropped an atomic bomb. I was already 24, 25 years old! I knew Marjorie for quite a while. She was in the same class with my  now deceased sister and came to our house frequently. Back then we already liked each other. Later, when I was studying at the Brussels conservatory, she visited me once and we started writing each other letters. Very long letters. She studied German and Italian and gave me a book as a gift by the German writer Thomas Mann. To impress her I wrote letters in his style. Nine months after her first visit, we were married.


Now I am living my dream again To play together with a tight bunch of musicians is what I have always wanted. My entire life. The atmosphere, contact with the public...all of the sudden corona took my dream away. Horrible!!! Everything I worked hard for all those years, stopped abruptly. We just kept moving tours around, or calling them off. Was it for just six months? One year? Two years?  No idea. But being very lucky that all my orchestra members are in permanently employment. They kept their wages and I had their guarantee that in the meantime they would not seek other employment.  The uncertainty of how long it would last was the worst. I am an entrepreneur and always think in terms of solutions. When there is a problem I am used to solving that. Now the problem was outside my control and I could not fix it. I am an event. My company costs me a million per month. When it runs, everything goes fine and there is no need to worry, but without Government subsistence we would not have made it. 

After we interrupted our American tour I had nothing left to do, so I started baking cakes at home. When abroad on tour I can never fall asleep right away after a concert. I find baking videos relaxing, and I have watched hundreds of them.  My favorites are those by Cees Holtkamp. Now I had the time, so why not get started? Every day I made a different cake to give away. I let Cees taste them and he informed me that I turned out to be quite a good baker. Everything I do, I do with pleasure, from playing the violin to baking cakes. It keeps me young and healthy. I always need to be busy and like to use my hands. What my eyes see, I make with my hands. I used to build everything from fences to houses, but since the time I almost lost my thumb, I've stopped doing that. Baking is safer for a violinist. I eat quite healthy, do not consume alcohol and work out three times a week  together with my son. During Corona I also started to learn Spanish, very convenient since we perform often in South America. 

The moment the RIVM (Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) allowed us to rehearse together again, was unforgettable. Goose bumps!!  And the funny thing is: it felt as we had never done anything else. It is so nice for all us to be able to make music together again. That gives me quite an adrenaline kick. We immediately made a CD, "Happy Together". It was done within a month. We thought that it was such a shame so we decided to make yet another CD.  We didn't have anything else to do. It turned out to be a  Christmas CD for next year, just to get into the mood.

That I have not become depressed lately is because Marjorie and I can place things very well into perspective. We are both full of life and apparently reinforce each other. She is very wise, I tend to go by my feelings, but always give her my ideas first. Although I have to be honest and say that most ideas are hers, and I execute them. We've always had a close relationship. I need that. I wanted to marry someone with whom I could do everything together, no matter what. Marjorie herself does not play an instrument, but listens to music the entire day. She was used to that at home, music there played an important role. At a totally different situation than at our house. For us, music meant hard work, there they listened with their hearts and enjoyed all sorts of music.

Later on I look forward towards our first concert in Maastricht. The plan is to give three big Christmas Concerts in the MECC. What a special and emotional reunion that will be with the audience. Christmas itself we are at home. We celebrate exclusively with our two sons, daughters-in-law and the grandchildren. The tradition is, the children do the cooking, which they do very well. Preferably we like to end our Christmas meal with a walk to the St.Peters hill. Wouldn't it be nice if this year it would be covered in white snow.

 Marjorie is very wise, I tend

 to follow my feelings more

 We are a close family, our youngest son Pierre  works in the company and with his family lives on our property. We are crazy about our grand-children but we immediately said that we would not become babysitting grandparents. We are much to active for that. Due to Corona we were forced to back-off, but soon want to go full speed again.

Stopping has never entered my mind. My work is too much fun. I want to keep making music, for as long as I live. And if possible, I would like to become 140, which means I am just halfway now. With the technical possibilities and medical developments of today, a lot is possible. They are working on advanced contact lenses that focus themselves, temper the light and determine from your eye fluid whether you suffering from an illness. They are also experimenting with a kind of small submarines which are injected into your body and they can heal you. I warmly welcome developments of this kind. I would be the first to stand in line for them. In 20 years we will probably be there. I will then still be on stage and still living in my dream.


André Rieu

(Maastricht 1949)

Studied violin at the conservatories of Liège, Maastricht and Brussels.

In 1978 he founded the Maastricht Salon Orchestra, which he extended in 1987 and changed it into the Johann Strauss Orchestra. Up until 1991 he was also a violinist in the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, which his father conducted for many years.

In 1994 he broke through with

"The Second Waltz"

His name has been well established worldwide. Yearly he and his orchestra travel with sumptuous decors across the world to sold out concerts.

His next performances in the Netherlands are "Christmas with André Rieu" on December 17, 18 and 19 in the MECC in Maastricht and a New Years concert on 8 January in the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.

André is married to Marjorie and they have two grown up sons and five grandchildren.

Note: The Christmas Concerts n December and the New Years concert in January have all been rescheduled due to the Corona Virus.


Thanks to Ineke and Ruud for this article 

       And John's Translation.

 

Nov 21, 2021

André Rieu on Cancelling Shows:

 

CHRISTMAS  CONCERTS CANCELLED

André Rieu on cancelling shows: 'Going partying now is morally irresponsible


Photo André Rieu Productions

He could have waited for the next press conference by the outgoing cabinet. And maybe then the signal could have gone green for the Christmas concerts in the Maastricht MECC. "But," says André Rieu, "that is morally irresponsible. You can't have 36,000 people partying, while a hundred meters away people in the ICU are fighting for their lives and healthcare workers are in danger of falling over."

de Limburger, by Robb CobbenThe three planned Christmas concerts of André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra on 17, 18 and 19 December in the Maastricht MECC will not take place. Just like last year, they are cancelled due to the corona pandemic. "The rapidly rising infection rates do not make any other decision possible," says Rieu.

"It was with pain in my heart that I made this decision. Because actually, after nineteen months without concerts, we would like nothing better than to jump on stage and play. But the way I feel, this is the only good thing to do now."

What we do for many people's lives is the icing on the cake of. Andre Rieu 

The outgoing government will come up with a new press conference on 4 December. And just maybe possibly less restrictions might be possible after that date. "But," says Rieu, "to let the concerts go ahead is morally irresponsible. You can't have 36,000 people partying while a hundred feet away people are fighting for their lives in the ICU. And healthcare workers are in danger of collapsing."

That is why it was decided yesterday to postpone the three planned Christmas shows to December 2022. The tickets sold – for the three performances with a capacity of 12,000 spectators each were almost sold out – will remain valid for the new dates.

For Rieu, the cancellation means a financial dilemma. "Actually, it is very bitter, because we are in a situation where we cannot afford this at all. We haven't been able to give concerts for nineteen months. And therefore have no income. But if the decision for us is not made, we will do it ourselves."

Large amount

How much money he will be missing out on by cancelling the three Christmas shows, he does not want to say. "But you can be certain that it is a very large amount." The orchestra leader hopes that the government will come up with new support measures. "We are very grateful to have a government that has spent billions in supporting businesses. Without that help, we wouldn't be existing today. We have 130 permanent employees. We assume that new support measures will follow, because otherwise companies will vanish. Then the support for the first period of the pandemic would still have been in vain."

Not only the shows in Maastricht have been cancelled. Rieu and his orchestra would have given concerts in Bratislava, Vienna, Cologne and Leipzig starting next week. Those performances too will also not take place. "The situation there in terms of infections, is just as alarming as it is here."

 Lisbon

The only four shows which are scheduled from 1 to 4 December are in Lisbon, and remain on the agenda for the time being. The corona-virus pandemic seems to be under control In Portugal. "We hope that those concerts can take place. We are all very eager to get that energy boost. Making people happy with our music, that's what we do it for."

The orchestra leader and violinist is convinced that the 'hunger' for his orchestra and music will remain. "What we do for many people is the icing on the cake of a lifetime. They look forward to our concerts, sometimes look forward to those for a year and enjoy them immensely."

Thanks to John for this article and his translation

Nov 13, 2021

André Rieu Doubtful About His Christmas Concerts In The MECC

 André Rieu Doubtful About His 

Christmas Concerts In The MECC

1Limburg, by Jo Cortenradt, Friday 12 November

André Rieu's Christmas concerts at the MECC in Maastricht may not take place this year.

"We will be considering the situation in the coming week," says the Maastricht orchestra leader. He does not want to draw a definitive line through the concerts yet and wants to keep all options open.

Uncertain

Although the measures announced by the outgoing cabinet initially apply for three weeks, there is still uncertainty about a possible extension. "Based on the new rules, the three concerts cannot take place," says Rieu. The concerts are scheduled for 17, 18 and 19 December.

Corona

In 2019 André Rieu started his Christmas concerts at the MECC. He invested a lot in the décor and hoped to be able to earn it back in the following years. But in 2020, the concerts had to be cancelled due to corona.

Thanks John for this quick article.

Sep 30, 2021

Sanne Mestrom, saxophonist with the Johann Strauss Orchestra,

 Sanne Mestrom, saxophonist with the Johann Strauss Orchestra, and about joy and music.

Where music sounds, you are at home

Adams A-magazine. Sep 2021- Especially during the iconic Boléro by Maurice Ravel and the famous "Second Waltz" by Dmitri Shostakovich, Sanne Mestrom has to work with her saxophone in the Johann Strauss Orchestra of André Rieu. Although she is mainly of service to the collective and flamboyant orchestra leader, the modest saxophonist still enjoys the spotlight that is occasionally focused on her. “The fun we have on stage is authentic. We enjoy the music and the enthusiastic audience that flocks from all corners of the world to experience André's show. Because that is what it is every time, for us, for André and for the public,: a unique experience.”

A conversation with a passionate musician who as a child was already captivated by the magic of André Rieu and his orchestra. “I found the combination of music with visual aspects (including the dazzling dresses) irresistible. Now  I've been a part of it for years. Music is pure joy. You see that, you hear and it and you feel it."

AROUND THE WORLD

Sanne Mestrom (1984) would have preferred it to be differently. Then this year she was once again crisscrossing around the world to convey the universal message of the language of the heart, evening after evening in André Rieu's orchestra. Corona threw, like so often, a wrench in the works. Never the less,  during the meeting at C-Mine in Genk, Sanne shows herself in a good mood and optimistic about the future. “We are definitely going to pick up the thread again. Everyone is eager to go wild. I myself by nature am quite impatient  and quickly bored. That's why I took singing lessons. In that sense I have used the time well to take my interest in singing again a bit more seriously. There is no point in sitting back and down. Whenever it is possible,  all of us are ready to go wild.”

MORE MUSIC

Sanne Mestrom has known that since she joined the Johann Strauss Orchestra in 2005, that music touches hearts and is boundless. Her proverbial playing field stretches from Shanghai to Buenos Aires and from Mestreech to Oklahoma. André Rieu has grown into a wear-resistant global brand. “Seeing merry people is the most beautiful thing there is. From the stage we are confronted with a large, cheerful crowd night after night. A greater energy boost is unthinkable. What could be more beautiful than seeing people having the time of their lives, being touched by heartwarming music? That never gets boring. In fact, you would wish the world's population much more music in their hearts.” There is no shortage of superlatives. André Rieu was not placed in the cradle in Maastricht for small potatoes. His career revolves around the grand gesture. Creatively, there  is never a lack of ideas. As a child, Sanne Mestrom was already mesmerized by the fairytale  atmosphere which surrounded André Rieu and his orchestra's concerts. “At home in Maasbracht-Beek with my parents and two year younger brother, I dreamed away in front of the TV, when I saw André with his orchestra. I absolutely loved seeing contrabass player Jean Sassen  the orchestra. I already knew him as the conductor of my marching band, who from my birth on has taken a central place in my life. I dreamed that one day I would be standing there too.”

FATHER'S BRASS LESSONS

The first sound Sanne heard must have come from the brass sounds of her father's students. “My father is a passionate musician. He was a brass teacher in the evenings. During the day he worked as an HR manager. My mother worked in the X-ray department of the hospital. The sound of the trumpet attracted me. And like any curious child I tried to play that trumpet. When I was five I took piano lessons with Gaby Devies. That went more playful-wise. At home we also had a piano, so I played on it. I also played violin for a while. People who love music also love each other. But my love for wind music really ignited when I came in contact with the sound of the saxophone. The saxophone section of my marching band consisted of the best saxophonists in the Netherlands: among others like Marlaine van Lier, Jean-Pierre Cnoops and my uncle Frank Meuwissen.” “Those people – all professionals – put me on the track of the saxophone. I am eternally grateful to them for that. Fortunately I could not escape their great sound and influence.. It was a luxury to have these people near me. Frank Meuwissen gave me my first lesson. He plays in the Glenn Miller Orchestra and occasionally with Rieu when multiple saxophones are needed. Nothing is more valuable than learning from the best."

BAND, AUDITION AND BOLERO

“It is extraordinary that a village in Central Limburg, in this case Maasbracht-Beek, has so much musical talent,” Sanne continues. “But it's also not for nothing that wind music, thanks to all those brass bands and marching bands is so good internationally. Our marching band has become champion no less than three times in the concert department at the World Music Competition. I still play in the marching band, when I'm in the area of ​​course. That bond is very strong.” Although the music was a factor of great significance, Sanne was not quite sure what the future had in store for her during her stay at VWO in Echt. "I honestly had little real interests. I've always loved making music, but I didn't take into account that I would really make this my profession. I went to the Conservatory in Maastricht. There I combined saxophone with Norbert Nozy and Arno Bornkamp and piano with Tonie Ehlen. I did not taste much of the wild student life.. I was always working and studying. Already in my second year of study I ended up with André in. Jean Sassen, the double bass player with André Rieu and conductor of my brass band, called my father to ask if I wanted to audition for André's Vrijthof concerts. Of course I went to Maastricht; the audition was right away the next day so there was little time to prepare anything. But it turned out well. Andre was very nice. But he didn't make it easy for me either. He tested my dynamics. From very soft to rock hard; I had to be able to play it all.” Laughing: “I was not prepared to play the Bolero and that was exactly what he told me to play. It went really fast. He thought I should immediately stay for the subsequent rehearsal. I have never left."

JETLAGS AND SCALES

She completed her Conservatory studies between the various tours and jetlag. In the meantime she has now crossed the world a number of times with the orchestra. That never goes on autopilot, the impressions are too great for that and the magic of the music and the crowd too overwhelming. “It touches me every time to see how big André is abroad. Traveling can be exhausting at times but we always make it a party. Fortunately I can sleep well en route. We are on the road day and night. It's nice that we always eat together. That sense of groups community is important. I am especially grateful to be a part of that musical family. In addition, I have been given the opportunity to develop within the orchestra.. For example, on André's advice, I also started playing the bassoon. Music offers endless opportunities to continue learning, to develop yourself. I dare to say that we as an orchestra have become better and better in recent years.” She is still in love with the sound of her soprano saxophone. “Andre also has something to do with the sound of that instrument. He especially likes the classic timbre.  I also need that sound for our repertoire as well. But the instrument is so versatile that it also comes into its own in the pop genre and in jazz. In fact, the sax forms a beautiful bridge between the traditional wood and copper. To improve my skill I still play almost every day. Yes, scales too. 

PATER FAMILIAS

“Every member of the orchestra is equally important. It's more than a team, it's family. That mutual bond is essential. In my experience you can hear and see that we trust each other. That bond has only grown stronger in recent years. Of course, not everything is unicorns and clovers. We also have had hard times.  Especially when our orchestra member Ruud Merx suddenly passed away. That is an indescribable loss and a pain we still feel. But we also continued in his spirit and grew further.  At times when it is difficult, André is there as a father figure, a Pater familial. And this corona time is of course also difficult for us. I think people are craving to see us back at work again. Music in these difficult times is more important than ever. We are ready for it,” says Sanne resolutely. “I have been living back in my native village Maasbracht-Beek for a while now. That's nice. Especially if you're on tour so many times. A good home front is of great important to me. Sometimes I teach. Then I receive students at home. It's nice to share knowledge, especially with young people. The survival of musical  culture is close to our hearts in the orchestra and André in particular. That's why it's so good that Adams, who I've been visiting since I can't remember when , is helping to get projects off the ground that will help children into contact with music.

HOME FRAGRANCE

Sanne's world consists of music, that much is clear. “I still play in the marching band. That's kind of a home fragrance that I experience there. In that aspect, the marching band can easily be  compared l with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. There too, I experience that same familiar bond. Music does so much for people. You should know how many couples I have seen fall in love again over the years during our concerts. People who love music ultimately love each other too. That is the message we are bringing,  wherever we are in the world. Where music sounds, you are at home.

AMagazine van Adam’s Music Center: Author: Ludo Diels: Photos: Hugo Thomassen: Styling/hair/make-up: AgAtelier

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

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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


Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)



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

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

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