20-21 Eva meets ... André Rieu
"I am not a dictator"
Eva Jinek takes a stand, but does not mind contradiction.
I have been trying to prove my entire life that my father was wrong.
"Ha, no, I gave that up a long time ago. Otherwise I would be trying to make a point instead of doing what I want to. My father always told me that I would never amount to anything. He thought of me as a dreamer, a nitwit. Did he say so? Well, as a child you feel that. I was named after him, but when I did something wrong, my parents would say: "We are going to call you Leon – my second name – since you are not worthy to be called André." My father was a very domineering man: a good musician and director, and at home also a director. He placed enormous pressure on the family and my mother went along with it. I cannot say that I had a wonderful youth. We lived in a somewhat closed off world. Why was my father like that? No idea and I cannot crawl into his head either. He never experienced my huge breakthrough. Previously he’d never attended any of my performances. He always had more important things to do. Shortly before he passed away he only saw me perform once with my Johann Strauss Orchestra. Afterwards he wrote me a letter, stating I was very busy and I had been right all along. Do I still have that letter? Not that I am aware of."
If it had been any worse, I would have hung up my violin forever.
"That’s right. Doesn’t everyone like something else every now and then? I was about 23 years old and studying in Brussels at the conservatory. I lived in a single room, on the third floor, and had no idea which direction to take with my life. I definitely was very unhappy. Until I learned to know my wife Marjorie. From that moment on I really started to live. She saw me for whom I was, and let me dream. I had renounced my violin, and we had thought about opening a pizzeria. We were already fairly advanced in the plans – business plan, building – when we received our first menu cards. The most expensive item was "Pizza Paganini", because when you ordered it, I would come to your table and play Paganini. If I want to that so I thought, then I would have to continue practicing. So I picked up my violin again and have never stopped playing."
I am the best employer in the Netherlands.
"I think so. I am a conductor, but not a dictator. I am in charge, but a lot of input comes from my orchestra too. We never play the notes written down. That is the secret, which is why you feel and hear that it is my music. We deliberately play piano parts, never the score. Just the notes, and then I just make up something in my head. When we start to play in the studio, I say for instance: here only strings, no, now only brass, a little more from this, a little more from that ... My orchestra reacts flawlessly to me, and I can very well see on their faces when it all comes together. It is an absolute cooperation in which they feel rightfully so that we achieved it all together. More than half of my musicians have been with me for more than 25 years. Of course I am very proud of that fact. I do not believe in collective agreements or unions, I believe in an open relationship with the people with whom you work. I could not image having to discuss collective bargaining in the afternoon – a penny more here or there – and then to make music that same evening with those same people. I treat my people very well, better than anywhere else, and the only thing I ask from them in return is that they always give 100% when they are on stage. I do all the interviews myself. In the past I spoke at length with someone, but now I just let them play something for me, and if it is good, I give them a chance. After a week, you know the score. I once hired a Hungarian harpist, who in the first interview played very well. Later on it seemed she passed a lot of gas in the bus, ha, ha, - and proved to be a totally impossible person after all – so she was gone again after two weeks."
Every Limburger has an inferiority complex.
"Not at all, not in any Limburger. The Hollanders (from the provinces of North and South Holland) like you to believe that. I have to laugh at some of their remarks. "You are going all the way back to Limburg?" As if it was a completely different country. On the German TV you see newscasters for instance who speak Bavarian, and that to everyone is perfectly normal. In the Netherlands we instantly have an excuse or something, but to let someone from Friesland, Drenthe or Limburg read the news, that is totally impossible. That, I do not agree with. It should be a good reflection of the entire Netherlands."
I hate snobs.
I do not hate anybody, but snobs are annoying. I can smell them 10 miles away. They are not there to support you either. And to like André Rieu, is not allowed. For a few years now, you are allowed to like André van Duin because the quality news paper "NRC trade paper" printed an article in which they liked him. Snobs indeed. Whether it would be nice to be degraded by these snobs? Of course not. How many of them are there? I recently performed in Mexico and Marjorie texted me that the Dutch ambassador would also be in the venue. The house was packed, ten thousand people who went crazy. I immediately noticed him and his entourage when I stepped on stage. An entourage which astonishingly looked around itself with an expression of: What in the world did we get ourselves into? Afterwards, I was at the catering, and sure enough, there he was. I told him that I had immediately picked him out of the crowd. I am a little ashamed, because he did not see the humor in it. He only stayed for a very short time."
Without Marjorie I Would Be Very Unhappy
"Yes, of course. Leon de Winter who wrote the script called me and said: "I am going to make a movie about Johann Strauss and you are going to play Strauss." I told him: "Never, I have so much respect for Strauss that I can only play myself." Leon then skillfully changes the entire script. It is very nice now. I play myself in the movie, but through a wonderful trick, I suddenly find myself in Johann Strauss’ times. To make a movie is quite a complicated undertaking. It will take some time before the movies is a reality. I will have to be gone for at least four months to do the filming and there should so-we-so be a big bag of money on the table to keep this undertaking going. We are currently very much involved in that, and I think it will turn out fantastic."
Without my wife, I am helpless.
Without her I am very unhappy. We always have breakfast in the same place, overlooking the garden. This morning I even told her, "Don’t ever let me sit here all by myself." I would not know what to do with the rest of my life. She feels the same way about me. That started when we first learned to know each other: I was 11 and she 13.It took several years after that before we came together, but I have always had the feeling that it was destined to be this way. Crazy, huh?"
What is the biggest misunderstanding about me?
"At school and at the conservatory people thought that I was an arrogant idiot, an aloof type. That’s the last thing that I am."
Thanks to Ineke for sending this and John Translating it