Music Was Work For Us: With Conductor André Rieu Senior and experienced violinist André Rieu Junior happiness in three-four time.
Father: The Dutchman André Rieu senior (1917-1992) was a conductor in East Germany and the Leipzig Opera.
Son: Waltz King André Rieu junior (63) founded the Johann Strauss Orchestra in 1987. Today he is known as one of the most successful violinists in the world. In 2014 he will tour through Germany again.
June 24, 2013: My father was a conductor, also at home. He had the final say. When he was at home he often withdrew to his study. At home we were six children, two dogs and a parrot. Grandmother also lived with us. All this was probably too much for him.
Once we went on holiday without our father The atmosphere was completely different, more relaxed.
Usually that was not the case. When I was four years old my mother decided I had the hands suited to playing the violin. That is why I got a violin. Besides the violin, I studied flute, piano, oboe and singing.
My sisters also played several instruments. We never performed as a family at home. Music was not for pleasure, it was work and our lives centered around it. At school I asked the children which violin they had. A life without music was not imaginable to me.
My mother and the children use to attend my fathers concerts every Saturday. Once, shortly before Carnival, he played a Viennese waltz in the encores. The audience became much more lively. They tapped their feet and hummed along. It was like a miracle. I was very impressed. Since then the Waltz inspires happiness in me.
In 1992 my father suffered a stroke and got the "Locked in Syndrome". He could only move his eyes. No more communication was possible. It was a terrible time, for him and for all of us. Six months later he passed away from pneumonia. I was there, all the family was there. I don't know if he was aware of this or not.
Our relationship had always been difficult. I know that he was proud of me, but it never translated into warm heartedness. He believed in me and that improved my self esteem. Musically I learned a lot from him.
In his time he was recognized as one of the most modern conductors. He had the guts to be extravagant. Once he dressed the entire Symphony Orchestra and soloist piano player in Mozart costumes and had them driven through Maastricht by horse and carriage. I was so impressed! I have probably inherited a little bit of his crazy gene from him!
André's youngest brother, Jean-Philippe wrote more about their father's illness.
Translated from German by Ineke. And Thank You to Enitia for her assistance with the English language