André Rieu (64) Preparing for His Tenth Home Concert
I’ll carry on until I’m no longer able to.
As from the beginning of July, André Rieu will, on no less than eight occasions, be turning the most famous square in Limburg into a magnificent open-air concert hall. It will be a home game for the man who travels the world with his sixty-plus-strong orchestra not only to afford people enjoyment of waltz music such as that of Johann Strauss, but also to introduce people to this musical genre.
That André Rieu has now become one of the best-selling artists in the world, superseding artists like Britney Spears and Beyonce, is sometimes difficult to comprehend, even for him. His father, André Senior, was the conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and introduced him to the violin at age five.
JOY André: "I remember that huge orchestra with the beautiful sound and all the bows moving in the same direction simultaneously. I loved it. But even then I was surprised by the somber atmosphere during the concerts. Everyone looked serious and nobody dared to laugh or cough, while to me the music was exuding so much joy!"
PERFORMING ON A PACKED VRIJTHOF IS NEVER BORING
The violin and the introduction to music proved a masterstroke on the part of Rieu Sr., as it was soon clear that his son had a natural talent. Now, almost sixty years later, he and his expensive Stradivarius from 1667 are inseparable and André Jr. runs a multimillion dollar company!
When paging through the agenda of the popular performer, one comes across an impressive list of places where he’s entertained people with the popular classic genre. In the month of May alone, he gave concerts in Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. His visit to the Far East, where he performed for the first time in China, was impressive.
It doesn't really matter where Rieu alights with his Orchestra. White or black, Catholic or Protestant, European or South American: they are all enraptured by the violinist. And how! Yet performing in his hometown of Maastricht gives the orchestra leader the jitters time and time again. "It's my city, hey, so that's an additional challenge. Maastricht is a lovely place and to me there is only one drawback to life here and that is the offensive odor caused by the incinerator of the ENCI factory (where cement is manufactured). What we are inhaling here on a daily basis is a mystery to everyone, but it definitely cannot be healthy. However, for the rest… I love this city and would not wish to live anywhere else".
Rieu lives happily in beautiful surroundings with his wife Marjorie in the famous castle, ‘Huis De Torentjes (House of Turrets)’. An additional advantage is that his grandchildren, Ivan, Fleur, Linde and Lieke, live round the corner. "And that," he says "is just fine. I’m often abroad, and, the moment I set foot again on Maastrichts’ soil, I cannot wait to see them again."
His rock in life is Marjorie, to whom André has been married since 1975. She prefers to remain out of the limelight and told PRIVE that she’s happy not to go through life as ‘Mrs. Rieu’. "I prefer to remain something of a mystery."
However, despite this, the Limburger does not miss any opportunity to praise his wife. "Marjorie made it possible for me to become the king of the waltz", says André. She freed me from Beethoven. I love it that she’s either in the office or with me in the studio. Her business acumen, coupled with lightheartedness and flexibility, provide a compass for me in the sometimes turbulent realm of business. She prevents me from erring, articulates ideas, shares my thoughts and was my pillar of support when I was struck for weeks by an inflamed vestibular nerve (equilibrium organ). We have already weathered many storms together."
Furthermore, although it is already the tenth time that Rieu will be performing on what the Limburgers refer to as the "Vriethof", he still hasn’t gotten used to it. And André Rieu would not be André Rieu if he wasn’t, once again, pulling a rabbit out of his hat this year. Last year he shared the stage with André Van Duin and Jermaine Jackson, and this year the honor will go to the Italian musician and composer, Rocco Granata.
"This year the theme is Italy," explains Rieu. "Not surprising, because it is my favorite holiday destination. We try to visit Rome once a year for a couple of days with the family. The atmosphere there is wonderful and unique: the musicians on the streets, the ice cream on every corner, the countless coffee shops. Recently our grandchildren have also started to accompany us and that makes it even more fun."
Thanks to Ineke for the article and Entia (who is filling in for John while he is in Maastricht) for the translation