André Rieu in his "Hometown"
Lights out - Spots on!!!!!!!
The André Rieu family
André Rieu and his colorful Johann Strauss Orchestra have been one big happy family for many years. This summer, they will once again be making a lot of music in their hometown. Lights out, spots on! Chapeau features 6 prominent musicians behind the world’s only real "King of Waltz. “Our lives revolve completely around André.”
“The cheerful atmosphere doesn’t cost me anything”
TEUN RAMAEKERS (59) Maastricht
Flutist, Johann Strauss Orchestra, since 1988
Flutist, Johann Strauss Orchestra since 1988: "Since the very beginning, I’ve felt at home with Rieu (like a fish in the water.) I'm not a classical musician per se and love to mix different types of music. I still hear people saying about André: ‘Whatever you do, you will never succeed.’ Consequently, it is marvelous to share his success all over the world. The public’s enthusiasm, their swaying, laughing, it's all part of it. The cheerful atmosphere arises spontaneously and doesn’t cost me anything. I have the most fun when I notice at a concert how grumpy men, dragged there by their wives, relax completely during the course of the evening. The concerts on the Vrijthof are always a feast – a party from the very first minute. Yes, for me, Maastricht with the whole atmosphere, the cafes’ verandas (terraces) around the square, is the highlight of the year. It is not for nothing that fans from around the world come here to attend André’s concerts in his hometown".
"The Schintaler is recreational to me"
ROGER DIEDEREN (44), PUTH
First trumpeter, Johann Strauss Orchestra, since 1992
"I did a lot of nice things with André and I’ve seen the world. However, I experienced my finest moment with Rieu here in Maastricht. My 13-year-old son, Romano, is a talented trumpet player. Last year André involved him in our concerts on the Vrijthof. We were introduced as father and son and performed two solos together. Romano found it very exciting, everything went well. I was so proud! Later my son joined the Orchestra on a trip to Mexico for a private concert between genuine Mayan pyramids. Quite an experience for a young boy. In our region I have been playing in De Schintaler. This polka band disbanded in 2010, but regrouped again in 2013 and gives a few concerts a year. Often it is quite difficult to manage to perform at all the concerts. André grants me the freedom to do so, since De Schintaler provides a recreational outlet for me; pure relaxation on a high level."
“All over the world with Maastricht's Carillon”
FRANK STEIJNS (43) MAASTRICHT
Violinist, Johann Strauss Orchestra since 1994
“Apart from being a violinist at André Rieu’s, I am also the city carillon player of Maastricht. The weekends when I’m home, I play the city’s historic bells (carillon) in the tower of the town hall on Saturday. It is two very different worlds, but I, as a classical musician, cannot do without either one. André has brought those worlds together in a way that only he can. During the Vrijthof concerts in 2005, I played with the orchestra on the carillon of the St. Servaas Church. The public’s response was so enthusiastic that André decided to have a mobile set of bells (carillon) constructed that we could take along on tours. I have played the emotional Concert d’Aranguez on that small carillon in 120 cities across the world; from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Since then I have become better known as a bell ringer in Shanghai than here in Maastricht, ha-ha. The way in which André promotes Limburg all over the world is praiseworthy. From my small tower on the Market Square I still see tourists with cameras listening to the bells.”
"My girlhood dream came true"
TANJA DERWAHL (41) MAASTRICHT
Cellist, Johan Strauss orchestra since 1997
"As a girl of ten I saw André and his orchestra perform in Belgium. Everyone was so happy and then those beautiful dresses... fantastic! I knew right then that that was what I would like to do later! After my training at the Conservatory I was allowed to play with André. With that my girlhood dream came true. I like to sit on stage with great enthusiasm. During my time at the Conservatory I sometimes played the cello with other orchestras. Then I would think to myself: Have I been studying so hard for seven years to simply disappear in a dark orchestra pit? No, that was not for me. We present a classical entertainment show. My mission is to make people happy with the talent that I’ve been given. But it is very hard work; like a super athlete. Sometimes I miss my family very much while we are travelling. However, I feel privileged to be able to do this work. It still thrills me to see ten thousand people going home smiling, after we've played for three hours.
“It is a way of life”
STEPHANY DETRY (40) Liège.
Pianist, Johann Strauss Orchestra since 1997
“I find it impressive time and again to see what Andrédoes for his fans. With his music and image, he knows how to connect people and make them happy. It seems as if they do get to like one another more during a concert. As the pianist, I am one of the pillars of the orchestra; a great role. To perform with André is more than simply a great job; it is a way of life to which you commit yourself. I travel for half of the year which is not always easy with a husband and baby at home. Now that I am a mother, everything needs to find a new place. But other orchestra members have managed to do this before me, so I am sure I too will succeed. Fortunately André takes good care of us while we travel. With good food, nice hotels and sufficient room to occasionally withdraw. I need that. No matter how close we orchestra members are, occasionally I need to be on my own.”
"Life may continue like this forever"
AGNES FIZZANO WALTER (34) MAASTRICHT
Violinist, JSO, Since 2005
'You're the smile behind André,’ said a fan in my native Poland. At concerts I sit right behind Rieu. It is a very special role: I'm always in the picture; everything I do gets noticed and for that reason many colleagues do not want to sit there. I, on the contrary, enjoy it and am proud to be in the spotlight. As a member of the Orchestra I feel like an absolute star. Many fans know us all by name. The whole atmosphere, the fun on stage, the travelling ... to me this kind of life may continue forever. The beauty of it all is that I can share this passion with my husband. He is video editor at the Rieu company. There’s been a spark between us from the very first moment we saw each other in the studio. We are now married, have been together for eight years, and yes, we like sharing our hotel room, ha-ha-ha! Children? That is not going to happen. In our lives, everything revolves around André and his music!"
Translation by Entia