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Aug 15, 2016

Frank Steijns - The Best of Two Worlds

The Best of Two Worlds

To be locked up alone in a church tower or to be fully engulfed in the spotlights during a Rieu concert.
July 13, 2016. Limburg Newspaper, by Ronald Colé: Maastricht citizen Frank Steijns (45) is the city carillon player and is also violinist with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. "Everything in my life revolves around music."
You don't expect it: The image you have of a carillon player is that of a lonely old man who painfully climbs the stairs of a church tower to practice an ancient and dying profession, just for a tip.

That is not true in the case of Frank Steijns from Maastricht. Born in Bilzen, he has not only been the Maastricht city carillon player since 1997, the 13th in the row since 1672, but is also carillon player for the towns of Weert and Heerlen. And a very good one too! He does not play standard tunes like "Tulips from Amsterdam" or "the Big Ben", no, he also plays current day hits.. When David Bowie passed away "Heroes" rang out over the Vrijthof, and with the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones, "Lady Jane" echoed over the Market. Last week with a tenor and a mezzo soprano, he strewed about the city of Weert the music of Westside Story. And recently during the Booch Festival in Heerlen, heavy metal music could be heard from the church tower.

Sailor Suit

Steijns was 5 years old when he was first allowed to enter the tower of the St. Servaas cathedral with his father Mathieu, to use the new carillon. "In a nice white sailor's suit. Afterwards, when I left the tower it had turned pitch-black, but I knew that my future profession would be: a carillon player". Not really too trendy for a little boy, overweight with glasses and a violin. But that did not bother him. "You just have to do your own thing in life". The English say it so nicely: "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life". I wholeheartedly agree with that.
After secondary school, Steijns choose the Conservatory in Leuven (Belgium), where he studied both violin, music theory and orchestra management, followed by the Royal carillon school in Mechelen. He had hardy received his certificates, when André Rieu called him. Early in the morning at 7.30 AM, the day after my graduation. He was looking for a violinist who could join him the same evening in Nijmegen, where the Four Days Walk festivities were taking place, and asked me if I would like to join him. I said "Yes" and I never left him.


So hot! In the meantime Steijns has developed as a Jack-of-all-trades within the Johann Strauss Orchestra. He is not only a first violinist, but also a replacement pianist during performances, and he accompanies the singers on the piano during rehearsals, assists with writing arrangements, and composes waltzes and other new music pieces together with the orchestra's conductor.

Besides that I update the website and I am the in house photographer for the orchestra. André rather likes that, because I know exactly when I can or cannot take pictures.

The question arises as where he finds the time to do all these things. Besides traveling the world 150 days per year with the Maastricht standalone violinist he also performs some 175 carillon concerts per year. Everything I do has to do with music, therefore it is no effort. Besides I can do it at my own leisure. If my body requires it, I take some rest. Actually, when we are on tour, I just have to perform between 8 and 11 PM. So what stops me during the day from visiting a museum, or taking a nap? Or read a book with an headset on?

But it is true that I lead an intense life. Outside the André Rieu concerts I drive about 45.000 kilometers (about 28,000miles) every 6 months in my own car. Not counting the train and plane travels. This is purely for my carillon job. Once I flew to New York, and back during one weekend, where at the prestigious Yale University one of my compositions for carillon and soprano premiered.

Recently I went to a reunion of the conservatory of Leuven.
Of the fifty students, there appeared to only be three who actually still sit on the stage.


Yet he would not trade the life he lives for for all the gold in the world. I recently attended a reunion of my conservatory education class in Leuven. It occurred to me that only 3 music students out of 50 were actually still on stage, which included me. Amongst the others were many directors of music schools, a producer of Andrew Lloyd Webber and even a pilot!

Don't even ask him to choose between his job as carillon player or violinist.. That is the same as having to chose between your father or mother. "An impossible choice."
As a carillon player you are anonymously playing in a church tower to people who do not really listen to you, while you are still fully responsible for every note you play, the planning and the repertoire. With Rieu I am just a small cog in the machine and when in a sense, I just show my face, tens of thousands of people start cheering. These two musical worlds do fit and complement each other seamlessly.

Frank Steijns would not want to trade the life he leads as carillonneur and Rieu violinist for anything in the world.


Quietly he hopes that as a carillonneur he achieves the same success Rieu has achieved as an orchestra leader. On a smaller scale of course. "I have performed with André Rieu in a small theater with an audience of 200, and admire the vision he has: what works for 200 must also work for 2000. And if it works for 2000, than it must also work for 20.000. So if I am successful in touching 2 people with my carillon, then that must also to work with 20". 

Hence the tirelessness in which he continues to promote his instrument. "In the 18th and 19th century the carillon was the instrument of the ordinary people who could not afford a live Mozart or Offenbach concert. And it currently is still the same. And so recently I met a lady who emigrated in 1946 to Australia and had recently returned to the city of her birth, Maastricht, to attend a Rieu concert. The buildings were the same but she did not recognize the city any more. Until she walked over the St. Servaas Bridge and heard the carillon of City hall. Then she realized she was home. Doesn't that say enough?

Thanks to John for the Translation

Aug 13, 2016

Rieu Not Yet Finished With Drone

Rieu Not Yet Finished With Drone

Limburger by: Laurens Schellen

Where has it been? The in the beginning of July confiscated high-tech drone of André Rieu. Behind lock and key in a secured police depot somewhere in the Netherlands. As confirmed by the Aviation Oversight Commission.

The very much talked about drone of André Rieu which the police confiscated last month in Maastricht after one of his seven sold out performances on the Vrijthof, is still behind lock and key. In one of a specially equipped and well-guarded 'property seizure' installations of the national police according to spokesperson Dennis Janus of the Aviation Oversight Commission in Amsterdam. Janus will not reveal the exact location for security reasons.

Risky More than a month after the controversy surrounding the Rieu-drone it is still unclear whether the orchestra leader's unmanned aircraft will be returned to him. The costly little helicopter, weighing several kilos and equipped with high-tech equipment, circled in early July two evenings illegally over the Vrijthof recording the concerts for a feature film about the concert series. According to the police, flying a drone over a busy city center is by definition risky, and is therefore forbidden if flown without permission. Moreover, Maastricht is located in the approach path of arriving aircraft landing in the municipality of Beek. 

According to John Drummer, a professional drone pilot, drones cannot be flown there under any circumstances. In answer to questions by this newspaper, Janus indicated that the investigation in this matter is still ongoing. "That should be completed within a few weeks and then the case will be transferred to the public prosecutor. Ultimately it will be the national public prosecutor for aviation matters who will decide on the punishment and penalties," Janus explained. The severity of the case is not yet known. "I cannot and will not further elaborate about this case. Normally you will not go to jail for flying a drone illegally. Unless you place air traffic or people in danger." Case laws show that in most cases fines are imposed. Also permanent confiscation of a 'bad' drone is a possibility. 

Production manager and son, Pierre Rieu, was  not available for comment 
yesterday, but was able to save the spectacular recordings by the flying robot in time. By the end of July, all the Vrijthof recording done by almost thirty cameras, were aired via satellite connection as a worldwide premier to almost two thousand cinemas. Just in England alone, where the movie played in almost 550 cinemas, receipts for the just one weekend showing were nearly one and one half million pounds. A huge contrast in comparison with the minuscule price tag of that mini-aircraft, which experts estimate to be between ten and twenty thousand. 

Translation by John 

Aug 12, 2016

"Invent Design" Makes an LED-Dress for André Rieu's Concert Tour

"Invent Design" Makes an LED-Dress for André Rieu's Concert Tour

"Invent design" transformed a wedding dress into a rainbow dress with LED lighting for the new André Rieu concerts which recently took place  at the  Vrijthof in Maastricht. Soprano Mirusia Louwerse, who wore the dress, changed from a white to a colorful appearance during the song "Over the Rainbow".

In collaboration with the tailor and Maurice Verbeek lighting designer, along with André Rieu, "Invent Design" examined as to where in the dress to position the LEDs so they would present a smooth but uniform color.

"The LEDs had to present a rainbow effect horizontally, as well as vertically and diagonally. "With appropriate advice by "Invent Design" and the company's flexibility that was not a problem," said Verbeek.

Translation and Photos by John

Jul 6, 2016

Photo From Privé Magazine Today

Jul 3, 2016

André Rieu: My Father Was Mainly Concerned With Himself

André Rieu - My Father Was Mainly Concerned With Himself

Libelle July 2, 2016: His parents did not know what would become of little André (now 66). Fortunately he met Marjorie who believed in him. The rest is history: millions of CDs sold, a private orchestra, a castle of his own.

An interview about love and the waltz, which changed his life

Your father was a conductor. Did he stimulate you to go into music?
No, my father was mainly concerned with himself. He did not interfere with the children. He was hardly present in my youth. Of course his love for music did influence our family. We attended his concerts, there was always music in the house. He was immensely musical, so that is in the genes. He was of the pure "classical music", André says with posh voice. Heavy, serious music. Music that the elite has claimed. It did not make me happy. Marjorie brought the light music into my life. She brought light into my life anyway.

How was your life before you met Marjorie?
"To me it feels like my life really started when I met her. At that moment I was studying at the Conservatory in Brussels, but I did not feel any passion, I was not inspired. I did what I had to do. Till then there was no one (including my parents), who had ever believed in me. Only I did. My parents thought that I would not make it, because I was dreaming all day. But Marjorie believed in me and from that moment I started to develop. That was the start of everything".

It lasted a long time before you broke through. Did you have to work hard?
Certainly - I started from the bottom. After the Conservatory I founded the Maastricht Salon Ensemble and we played at festivities and parties. My father hated it, that I preferred the light music, but I loved it. We were playing close to the audience and every time the hall responded so well. Whether we played for a wedding or a group of lawyers, at the end of the evening everyone was enthusiastic. I saw that it worked, that it was the music that touched people. But I had to beg for seven more years before someone was willing to make an album with me. When I knocked at the door of a Record Company, they always asked what kind of music I was playing. I answered: "Operetta music and waltzes". I saw that they were thinking: Go and play for your grandmother in the south (of Limburg).

How did you keep confidence in yourself?
"It has always been my dream. I was convinced that our music could give something to people. So we continued and trudged on. I knew by the people's reactions, that it was not only in my mind. It was a matter of pushing through and having a little bit of luck. Finally I met someone from a record company who was willing to attend our concert in Harlingen, because he lived there. Afterwards he came to me and said: "I understand what you mean". He allowed me to make an album and said: "If we have sold 5000 CDs at Christmas, we are okay". That year we sold 20.000 and half a year later it was increased to 900.000. That is how it started".

Did your wife play a part in your success?
"In 1987 I founded my own orchestra, the Johann Strauss Orchestra. We started with 12 members, in the meantime we have 50 members. I remember that Marjorie and I bought the seats for the orchestra at the market and we upholstered them ourselves. We did everything ourselves, because at that time nobody believed in me. The beginning was a hectic time, with two little boys at home and my career starting to grow. From the beginning my wife and I did everything together and that is what we still do. I think that is our secret: my musical success is our joint venture. And also Marjorie is my main sounding board.

Do you intend to slow down a little now?
No, I don't think so. My son Pierre, who is the vice president of the Rieu Company, often says: "Please, quiet down you both ... " But we are like the owners of a supermarket, who have to open the door each day, put the advertisement outside.
These people become very old, because they feel a necessity. It's nice to work for your own company. At this moment Marjorie is busy to have my biography, which she wrote a long time ago, translated into Limburg dialect".

Some years ago you changed your way of living.
"Yes, that was a necessity. I believed for a long time that I could maintain the traveling, the performances, the irregular way of living, without caring for my body very well. That was stupid. My body stopped me at a certain moment. One night I woke up and everything was spinning around. It appeared to be an inflammation of the vestibular. That is caused by stress. I could not work for a few months and I had to cancel shows.

After that I hired a personal coach and a few times per week I go jogging and do power lifting with him and I changed my diet. He also travels with me when I am on tour. At present I'm the fittest and the oldest of my entire orchestra", he says laughing.

Besides the personal trainer, a doctor and two chefs join the orchestra on tour.
"Earlier everyone used to think: The King of the Waltz is going to visit us, so let's make him a Wiener schnitzel. At a certain time we had enough of Wiener Schnitzels. Often the quality was not even good. After half of the orchestra had been ill by food poisoning, we decided to take our own catering and chefs.

Thanks to Ineke for the Translation

Jul 2, 2016

André has set up a Webcam of his own. It just has this one view, 
but it plays his music while you're watching it and has a countdown to the concerts!

Jun 20, 2016

The Dream Factory of Rieu and Son Pierre

Rieu and Rieu Keep Each Other Sharp
Dream Factory of Rieu and Son

June 18, 2016 by Arno Gelder - From the Limburg News and AD Newspaper Passport: André Léon Marie Nicholas Rieu, born Oct. 1st 1949 in Maastricht. Son of a conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, studies the conservatory, founded in 1978 the Maastricht Salon Orchestra. His passion for the Viennese waltz resulted in the forming in 1987 of the Johann Strauss Orchestra. He scored a hit in 1994 with the Second waltz of Shostakovich. Travels the entire world with his orchestra. Privately: Married to teacher and author Marjorie and is father of 2 sons: Marc and Pierre.

Passport: Pierre Rieu, born June 24, 1981 in Maastricht. Studied law, but built a career at André Rieu Productions Company. There he organizes everything which is nonmusical. According to his father he is indispensible, he is an all-round genius. Privately: Married and father of the twins Linde and Lieke.
Pierre can be annoyed by his father's determination. André thinks that his son is "a very sweet boy".  Pierre does not interfere with his father's music, that is the agreement. But IF he has comments, André takes him serious. "Without one minute the CD recordings were in the trash".

First there is "Vlaai". Of course! Cherries with whipped cream. A visit to the Rieu castle, the picturesque "Huis de Torentjes" (house of the turrets) at the foot of the Pieter's Mountain in Maastricht, is not complete without the Limburg delicacy. André and Pierre receive the visitors the traditional way in the salon with the golden curls, mirrors, ornaments, paintings and pink ribbon, a part of Schönbrunn Palace in the south of the Netherlands.

André (66) and Pierre (34) are not only father and son, but also president manager and vice president of André Rieu Productions, with 110 employees. And also they are neighbors, sport partners and best friends. "I live just 20 seconds distance from dad" says Pierre. "When he returns home from far away, he passes by my house. He is not allowed to stay here too long, because then we have an issue with my mother". André admits: "Then Marjorie gets grumpy. After many weeks abroad she likes to embrace me first! But when I see Linde and Lieke ... that is a feeling of constantly being in love".

Outwardly their resemblance is striking. His other son Marc (37) father of his other 3 grandchildren and a painter, is more like Marjorie. Also inward André and Pierre have certain similarities. For sure they share one trait: Perseverance. An extremely tough kind of tenacity that defines the continuous success of the family business, which substantially lets the entire planet waltz. From Belfast and Bucharest to Melbourne and Mexico City. Everywhere fans are dancing at the romantic melodies of the Viennese waltzes. Together with a few Dutch Disk Jockeys, the Maastricht violinist and his Johann Strauss Orchestra belong to the best musical export products of the Low Lands, for many years.

Pierre: "My father is a perfectionist and a goer. That's what I admire in him. At the same time, I can be annoyed about his perseverance. Sometimes I think: Please just let it go ..."

André: "Pierre is a very gentle person. Preferably he would help the entire world. That's what I think is important. Our company cannot be without him. He is an all-around genius. He started at the bottom of the ladder, now he has reached the management level. He can do an amazing amount of things at the same time. If I say: "Did you think of this and that.." then it's already done. In a moment... at his smartphone under the table.

When André Rieu and his orchestra traveled to the United States for the first time, there were three tour busses waiting for them in New York, which had to be insured. "Nobody seemed to be crazy about the risk of insuring all three busses and an entire orchestra with all the instruments. Pierre traveled a few days earlier to the USA, searched the entire city and found an insurance company which was willing to insure us. He had just turned 19 and worked with me only 6 months. Believe me, he is a goer, like his father".

If private and business are so entwined, doesn't that cause problems?
Pierre: "In the beginning it was difficult. When I had worked through all layers of the company, my dad gave me the leadership. I got introduced to the staff. "My" staff, because suddenly I was the boss. I remember that mom and dad had tears in their eyes. And me? I almost felt like diarrhea was going to run down my legs ... I had to create my own style and system into the company. After three weeks I saw my father change into an employer: "Why is this not ready, why is that not done?" Then we had a good conversation to clear up the work balancing. I deal with everything, except the music. From the technique to the décor, to the filming by a drone.

André: "And sometimes also with the music ... " We have big plans to really conquer the United States next year. We are fully supported by our record company. To support the American tour, which will start in 2017 the proposal was to create an album with a focus on the waltz purely as a dance. Not the flamboyance of the Blue Danube, but dance music in a tight triple time. The CD was almost finished, when Pierre said: "You should not do that, dad, it's not the music of YOU". That's what I needed to hear: within one minute the CD was in the trash.

Sure we were successful at the other side of the ocean before. But it was too modest, in André's opinion. Last year they spoke to Lucian Grainge, the absolute supreme God of Universal Records, which has been Andrés record company for 20 years. The boss owes you something, he said. "We're gonna do our very best to make it work this time". In 1995 the then director of Universal Netherlands visited the American headquarters. "I have got something nice for you", he said. "A violin player who sold 900.000 CD's in Holland". They stared out of the window and said: "Holland? where's Holland?". We should first prove ourselves to another continent. We succeeded, even on multiple continents. But, as André concludes, "You do not conquer the USA in one afternoon". Pierre adds: "You have to arrange everything by yourself. Making phone calls, sending mails, being there. If you call the producer of Ellen Degeneres or Dr. Phil, they say: "André Who?". Or the usual: "Don't call us, we'll call you ..." If you talk during a conference call about Holland, they ask: "Holland Nebraska?" If you talk about Sydney, they say: "Oh, you mean Sidney Ohio?"

In early days we concluded that British people live on an island,  but also do the Americans. Only their island is much bigger!!

North Pole
From where does this urge to spread the happy waltz message all over the world come from? Even in space! André Rieu still wants to be the first man to play on the moon as he announced a few years ago. A performance on the North pole has been placed into a fridge, but don't be surprised if he suddenly plays in a gigantic igloo on the arctic continent. Pierre: "This is dad. As a young boy he had a dream: bring the music to the people. Although we sometimes cannot cope with this, he likes to realize his ultimate dream". André: "This urge comes from the way I have been raised. I come from a family where classical music dominated in its elitist form. My grandma only listened to music on the radio when she knew who played the piano. "Granny", I thought, "who cares, just enjoy". "If I come home and walk past Pierre's house, I sometimes hear one of the girls playing the piano. So nice! I then get tears in my eyes. In my days it was: "Haven't you practiced yet?" Pierre does not push them. That’s how it should be with music: don't pay attention to the musical notes and errors". Just let those kids go. Regularly I am asked as a judge in a musical contest. I decline these invitations. Music is not a contest. Teachers at the conservatory may judge. I don't tell a child that plays well, that 'John' plays even better. That’s not my style. I hated snobbism from a very young age. I cannot stand that some people feel themselves better than others. When Marjorie came into my life I felt: this is pure, without false pretentions. I have passed that on to my boys. And I hope as a grandfather to pass that on to my grandchildren as well".

Pierre: "Only for the photographer I wear this shirt. I prefer to wear a T-shirt with as many holes and stains as possible. Until my wife says: "Don't you have a meeting with an external relation in the office? Please get changed".
André: "Prejudices do not exist in my and Marjorie's life. Those are disastrous, you ruin so much with them. I never look down on people. I don’t care who is sitting in the hall. Baker, mason worker, solicitor, doctor, they are all equally dear to me. For all counts: Open your heart and enjoy".

Pierre: "The classical establishment pukes at you and the pop circuit envies your success. Classical musicians play in an orchestra which depends on subsidies. They see your ensemble travel all over the world. In packed halls without any subsidy".
André: "There are enough people from the classical world who appreciate me. I had a great compliment from the Israeli violin player Maxim Vengerov. And from Zubin Mehta, a famous Indian conductor. Those are no small names".

Meetings will take place in Rieu's home, where also the offices are located, but as minimal as possible. The top brass of the company will meet each other on the stairs or in the corridors. "If I was changing the diaper of one of my girls, we exchanged information at the dresser". Pierre said.

Additional advantage of the intimate bond between father and son is that Pierre keeps an eye on his father's health. In the beginning of 2012 André was struck by a burn-out. I note that it will never happen again. It is annoying when I get a muscle strain, but when he gets a shoulder injury we'll have a big problem. We are working out together, led by a personal trainer. I may say: an executioner! Ruud Gransier is doctor, nutrition and exercise expert. Just this morning I said to Marjorie that he has kept me free of injuries for the last 4 years. Don't be mistaken: I have a standing profession, I stand on stage for hours. I cannot even sit down, with my tuxedo ...

By the way: according to him I have a body of a 40 years old. The diet has changed completely. Nowadays I eat rye bread with smoked beef. That's it."
Pierre: "Mwahhhhhh...."

André: "If I see a piece of French cheese at the catering table after the concert, I smell it and decide if it is worth to become overweight from it. Well, every now and then I can take something nice, under the condition that I keep moving. No one can constantly maintain a strict diet".

Pierre: "True. Movement is the most important. I eat seven times a day because I keep on moving all the time. In the morning I start with oatmeal, yogurt and grapefruit. In between I sometimes eat canned tuna. I feel great, I am never hungry. It only works if you are not staring on the couch at Netflix seven hours a day ..."

André: "It is wonderful to work with your son. We are grateful to live here. Earlier people asked me: "Why don't you move to Monaco?" I never considered that. From the bottom of my heart I can say that it is not fair. No tax paradises for me. When everybody should pay their taxes, everything should be solved. I could not live without the Netherlands, without Maastricht, for sure.

 Thank You to Ineke for the Translation!

Jun 4, 2016

 André Rieu in Lodz
 Thanks to Gitti Marie

May 15, 2016

Without Marjorie I would have ended up in the gutter'

Without Marjorie I would have ended up in the gutter

From the weekly paper "Party": He composed a waltz for the 90th birthday of British Queen Elizabeth, sells more concert tickets than Byoncé, employs an orchestra of 60 members and has been named the biggest musical export product of the Netherlands. André Rieu (66), the King of the Waltz, will again conduct a special concert this summer on the Vrijthof square in his hometown of Maastricht.

André Rieu: "I find it more difficult having missed a grandchild's birthday than having lost 30 million."

André, how do you feel?
"I feel fantastic! And I really look forward to the summer concert later on the Vrijthof in Maastricht."

Excellent! Because twice you had to take a long time off due to exhaustion and a virus infection. There were no earnings while the salaries of your 60 man orchestra continued to be paid. Are you now taking better care of yourself?
"My doctor warned me all the time that what I was doing is compared to top sports. And accordingly the somber life of a top athlete goes along with that." Looking back I can say that he was right." After I had been ill so long for the second time, he advised me to start working out with a personal trainer and have him direct me so I remain in better shape. I have been doing that ever since and it suits me really well. My personal trainer gives me nutritional advice and under his direction I work out three times a week. I do both strength training and cardio workouts and feel very fit, fitter than ever!"

Almost 40 years ago you were happy if you could play for a wedding somewhere with your 5 man orchestra. Now you play with your 60 person Johann Strauss Orchestra for hundreds of thousands of people in sold out stadiums over the entire world - and you live in a 17 century castle...Quite a difference!
"Yes, sometimes I do think back to those beginning days. Although our public was much smaller we were always successful and performed with pleasure. But through this big difference I have learned that a person can achieve much more than he thinks he can. You only need a bit of courage for that!"

Which do you regret more: the loss of 34 million on a much too expensive traveling decor including a palace, expensive dresses, fountains and a golden carriage? Or that you missed the birthday of one of your grandchildren because you were on tour somewhere?
"The latter of course! I have never regretted the monies I lost. Even though it was many millions. It was really sad and if I had gone bankrupt (André was indebted to the bank by 12 million in 2010) it would have been really sad. But with hard work I earned those monies back again, and then you just forget those things, no matter how strange that might sound. Totally different then with my grandchildren, because I will never forget them, no matter where in the world I am. That is why I grab every chance I get with both hands to spend time with my grandchildren - because that is really the most beautiful thing there is! My wife Marjorie and I now have five and I love them to pieces."

You have a family business. Your son Pierre is vice-president of the Rieu family business. What is it like to work together as father and son?
"It is fantastic. We know one another through and through, trust each other 100% and respect each other's qualities and ideas. And if we sometimes disagree with each other, we can just quietly discuss it in a "Rieu" manner without it leading to an immediate confrontation or irritation."

It is often said that behind every successful man a strong woman stands. Which roll does your wife fulfill in you?
"I have to be honest. Marjorie is everything to me. Without her the entire business would not exists, I would never have ventured out and taken the step myself. Marjorie and I do literally everything together. We produce the repertoire for concerts, CD's and specials together. We write the texts and also lead our company together. Really, if she had not been here, I would have ended up in the gutter!"

Huge artists like Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber are often involved with groupies. How do you handle them when away from home? Do you then show them your wedding ring?
"Oh, honestly, they really do not bother me that much. Most of the people know very well that I am happily married and do not sit and wait for advances from strange women. Besides, I do not wear a wedding ring, it interferes with my violin playing! Even without a wedding ring, I am still very happily married!"

After 40 years of marriage, do you every now and then still play very romantically a love song for Marjorie on your violin?
"Not real love songs, but there are certain pieces she loves to hear me play and I play those with pleasure for her."

You have achieved so much in your career. What wishes do you still have?
"We are busy with preparations for a huge tour with our orchestra through the US and Canada including a TV campaign there. It would be great if we would succeed, because I really do like to play in America. The audience is incredibly fun and spontaneous. (Woo-Hoo!)

And to perform on the moon? Well, if the opportunity ever arises, I would like to be the first. But no matter how big my plans and dreams might be, my wife, my children and grandchildren are more important to me than any performance whatsoever!"

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John's translation

André Rieu Maastricht Guide 2016

André Rieu (Maastricht) Guide 2016
Circulation increased to 17,500

Chapeau: After two successful editions, the André Rieu Guide for 2016 will be published this Summer, and is being produced by the Chapeau Magazine in collaboration with André Rieu Productions. It is an English language City Guide, where thousands of foreign visitors to the Vrijthof concerts are being familiarized with Maastricht and its surroundings. The André Rieu Guide will be the same size and will have the same appearance as the now famous TEFAF Guide. In the pocket size guide André Rieu will give his own new tips for fun places and addresses in the city. These tips are being complemented with 2016 tips by the Editors of Chapeau Magazine. Also, attention is given to the history of the city, tourist information and so on.

In addition, attention is given to the history of the city, tourist information and so on. More and more visitors to the Vrijthof concerts are increasingly coming from abroad, from South America to Australia. These people make a special trip to see André Rieu perform in his own city. And since they stay for several days in the city, they have time outside the concerts to visit attractions, go shopping, dining, visiting and the like.

17,500 copies of the guide will be published -12,000 of them will go to the foreign guests who have booked special VIP packages through André Rieu Productions. The André Rieu Guide is also part of a special goody bag which will be handed over personally to these people. The rest will be distributed by the VVV (Tourist Office), hotels, restaurants and major sites. This is a unique opportunity for the entrepreneurs from Maastricht and the Euro-region to reach these foreign guests. The guide will also be distributed to those who subscribe to the Chapeau Magazine.

Thanks to John for the Translation

May 6, 2016

André Rieu With Yearly New Year's Concerts

André Rieu With Yearly New Year's Concerts

In addition to his traditional concerts on the Vrijthof in Maastricht, André Rieu will from now on also perform each year in the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. It is all about a New Year's concert and the first edition will be on Saturday - January 7th, 2017.

A concert in the New Year is something the Maastricht violinist has been busy with for quite a while. "For years, my wife Marjorie and I have been playing with the idea of giving a special New Year's concert in the Netherlands. But during that period I was always abroad on tour with my orchestra. We now have changed that so that we now can begin the year with a wonderful New Year's concert in our own country. "

Across The Entire World

The coming month Rieu will be on tour in Hungary, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland. In June he will be in Bucharest for two great open-air concerts, followed by his summer evening concerts in Maastricht. In September, the musician will depart for Argentina and Guatemala and will afterwards go to Australia and New Zealand to. In December, he'll close the year with his tour through the UK and Ireland.

Ticket sales for the New Year's concert on will start on May 7th via 

Thank you to John for the Translation

Apr 17, 2016

André Rieu Dutch National Radio Interview on Windsor Waltz

André Rieu Gives Queen Elizabeth II a Waltz As a Birthday Gift

April 7, 2016 - Dutch national radio: Especially for the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II on April 21st, André Rieu composed a waltz and named it the "Windsor Waltz" after the British royal family's name. We are going to speak about it with André Rieu himself, the King of the Waltz.

Good evening and welcome, Mr. Rieu.
André Rieu: Hello.

►First of all, let's listen to the beginning of the waltz. A beautiful trumpet chorus, very royal. Are you happy with it?
André Rieu: Yes, I see the queen entering ... No, now she is entering.

►A little bit louder please. Yes, this is very royal too.
André Rieu: At least I see her stride in, with her entourage.

►It seems to be a party to create this and that you know exactly what is happening
André Rieu: Yes, it is a lot of fun. I always compose together with Frank Steijns, a violinist in my orchestra. He is on the piano and I am with my violin and that's how we compose some nice things a few times a year.

►Do you know in advance, what you have in mind of what is going to happen when you compose the music on these images? Or is it the other way around.
André Rieu: Yes, of course you have an idea of what you want. We would love to see the British Queen enter and then something like this just flows out. And then the nice thing is that I immediately can try it out with my own orchestra. That is a very nice and luxurious situation.

►I understand that you have had previous contact with the Queen?
André Rieu: Yes, that is right, we played for her and that was also immediately my break-through in the UK, on the Royal Variety Show in Blackpool. She was in the audience. We played for her and after the show all artist were introduced to the Queen and she said: "Beautiful melodies, sir".

►In a while more about the Royal Variety Show of which we have some recordings, but first we are wondering: Did the Queen request you to compose a waltz, or is it your present to the Queen?
André Rieu: That is a present to the Queen.

►Is she going to judge it and will you receive an assessment?
André Rieu: I hope she will get a chance to hear it and that she likes it. I even hope that maybe we can play it for her live.

►So you have a little bit of a history together, but do you also have a love for the British Royal family?
André Rieu: I am a monarchist. All royal families. I don't hide that. We just returned from Bangkok where we performed. There is also a kingdom and you notice that when you are in those countries. It's like glue which keeps the people together. Of course Thailand is a completely different country than the Netherlands and a completely different country than the United Kingdom. But I always say when they have a republic, a boring republic, like Germany and France - you should take a King or a Queen, just like the one we have.

►I can imagine that. Back to the design table. How did you start? What did you think? How do you imagine that? 
André Rieu: You mean with the waltz? We had the idea to compose a waltz because of her 90th birthday. Then we just start.

►You just start? There must always be a first note, a first instrument.
André Rieu: Yes, listen, you are creative or not.

►We know you are, you don't need to prove that.
André Rieu: That's why I say: "We just start and it will just come." And now we have the tools to immediately record our improvisation. Then we decide: this is nice, that is not. That is how it grows. I think we worked on it for two days and there it was.

►I try to imagine how composing works. I always find it interesting. You are there with two people. Who begins?
André Rieu: Together. Of course. It has to click, otherwise it does not work. We smile at each other, saying: "Hey, that is nice, nice bars, good harmony, and that is how it grows. " You just have to want it, tomorrow at four we get together and we'll create something beautiful for the Queen, and that is how it goes.

►And then you are busy with that for awhile.
I imagine Mr. Rieu dancing with the Queen.
André Rieu: So nice that you selected this part, because the sound you hear now is what I had in my mind first. I said to Frank: "We need to create a real English ballroom sound. Many strings playing a compacted harmony, almost in close harmony. Many strings and that is what this sound became.

►And what was that that we just heard?
André Rieu: The beginning of the waltz. The trumpets are making the announcement: "Here comes the Queen!!!". Then the door opens and there she enters. She takes Philip and starts to waltz.

►Your main role model is Johann Strauss Junior and Queen Victoria loved to dance to his music. At that time it was secretly done because the waltz was something immoral, is that true?
André Rieu: Yes, that is true. It was even forbidden! Before the waltz, was the minuet. You stood 10 feet away from each other, no touching each other at all. Then all of the sudden they had the idea to start waltzing, and that was body against body. And that of course could not be! The church banned the waltz, also in the UK. But queen Victoria did not care. She liked it and waltzed all night long. Her court was already lying under the table, but she went on. That was the beginning of the waltz.

►And now it is normal, also for the royals?
André Rieu: Well, now it is even considered to be a corny dance as they say, and I would like to revive it a little. And that is what I am doing.

►In the meantime, does the queen know that you composed this present for her?
André Rieu: I have no idea.

►Would you like to know it?
André Rieu: Yes, of course. Every day I am excitedly waiting for her telephone call.

►You did not call, mail or send her a message?
André Rieu: No, I don't have her number.

►For sure you are one of the most famous international artists there. No lack of attention there.
André Rieu: No, it is very nice. We have been playing in the UK for 6 years in a row now, always in the month of December. Ireland and the UK - we tour all big cities. Very nice. Wonderful audience.

►The BBC said that you have a larger audience than Justin Bieber.
André Rieu: Yes, we can't complain. The 2016 and 2017 tours have already been confirmed and we are busy with 2018. We love to play there.

►You broke a record in 2012 with the album "Forever Vienna". Number 2 in the British charts. Who was number 1?
André Rieu: I think "TakeThat."

►It's not a shame to lose to them.
André Rieu: I thought it was "Take That" or "Robbie Williams" ... one or the other.

►In 2009 you performed for the queen in the Royal Variety Show. When playing the Radetzky March, the audience immediately went crazy with that kind of music.
André Rieu: This is the Radetzky March, composed by Johann Strauss junior's father. He composed it when the Habsburg Empire suppressed a bloody revolt in Italy. (General Radetzky was in command). And to celebrate the victory, he composed the Radetzky March. And with my concerts many balloons come down ... So that is why the march is always so available.

On The Telephone: Simone, royalty expert ... 
Good evening! AR told us about queen Victoria who danced all night long. What do you know about queen Elizabeth's preference for music?

We don't know much about that. Music is important in her life, she is constantly surrounded by music. It starts at 9 AM with a bagpiper playing under her bedroom window. Each morning, for 15 minutes.

André Rieu: Poor queen!

And she often hears brass bands when she goes somewhere, so music is a big part of her life. But her biggest hobby remains to be the horses! It's been said that she loves most light classical music, like operettas, musicals, even musicals from the 40's and 50's. But not opera or heavy classical music.

André Rieu: Well, then we are a perfect match!
Yes, she loves rhythm. Sometimes it is seen that she taps her feet with the music, like brass bands. Once she visited a Baptist Church in the US where a very enthusiastic choir was singing and there she too tapped her foot along with the music. So at certain times, she does appreciate music very well.

André Rieu: As long as she taps in rhythm.
Thank you Simone, thank you Mr. Rieu.

Thanks to Ineke for the Radio Interview and to John for Translating it for us.

Mar 24, 2016

British Queen Receives a Waltz From André Rieu

The British Queen Receives a Waltz
A Gift From André Rieu

André Rieu composed a waltz for the occasion of the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. The queen is a fan of the Limburg violinist. "She once told me, Beautiful melodies, sir."

Algemeen Dagblad: The waltz is called, what else, the "Windsor Waltz" and is named after the family name of the British royal family. Rieu (66) composed the waltz for the British Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday. (April 21st).

It is no secret that the elderly monarch is a fan of André Rieu. During Rieu's English tour with his Johann Strauss Orchestra six years ago, the monarch herself even went backstage. She was primarily there to shake the hand of the Maastricht violinist. "She walked in between the rubbish, no security. 'Beautiful melodies, sir', she told me. That of course filled me with pride."

For visual accompaniment of the Windsor Waltz (A real English piece with a ballroom-like sound) André Rieu recorded a video clip in Maastricht . For this, a double of the Queen was flown in from Britain."Very hard to distinguish from the real Queen. I constantly had a tendency to address her as 'Your Majesty'. At the beginning of the movie the Queen is received with heralds by trumpets, after which I accompanied her on the red carpet. And then the waltz begins ... "

For Example
Rieu goes back to the time of his idol Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899), to whose music Queen Victoria loved to dance to. Secretly, because the Waltz in the Victorian era was considered immoral.

The Vrijthof, where in July André Rieu will traditionally perform a number of concerts, is part of the decor. Also for his two new CD's Rieu uses the renowned Maastricht square as an atmospheric backdrop. With no less than 150 waltzing couples.

Soon a new CD, "Waltzing Forever" with pieces such as "The Tennessee Waltz, Moon River", and theme from the "Godfather," will be released especially for the US market. For the rest of the world, we will be releasing "Falling in Love" which we are currently finalizing. It will contain romantic pieces such as "Hallelujah, Scarborough Fair, Titanic and Love Story. "

Incidentally, Rieu wrote a waltz earlier in the frame work of Queen Elizabeth's jubilee reign. Has he informed the queen of her birthday gift? "No - you can still write a plain letter to our Queen, but the one to England's Queen has to be of the highest caliber. Although ... You have given me an idea. And why not? I'm just going to send her an official message that I composed the Windsor Waltz just for her."

Thanks to John for the Translation














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