André Rieu News From Europe ♦ USA ♦ Australia ♦ SA ♦ UK ♦ The World


Number One André Rieu Site For English Speaking Fans Around The World!
With The Latest News - Photos - English Translations and More!

WELCOME AND ENJOY ! FROM YOUR WEB HOSTS ~ JOHN AND SUZANNE

.

.
►Click on Photo to Listen To "America The Beautiful"

Apr 7, 2015

Ruud Merx - Searching For Roots in Limburg

Searching For Roots in Limburg

Ruud Merx noticed that after years of travelling with André Rieu and his orchestra that he started losing contact with his Limburg birthplace. He wants to restore that contact by implementing music projects in this province.

April 4, 2015 - by Jan Cuijpers: As a teenager, trombone player Ruud Merx (45) could often be found on the farm in Bocholtz, comfortably riding the tractor. More than once he saw a procession of cars passing by with all kinds of men in costumes. "Suddenly one of the cars stopped and out came Wil Huppertz Sr. who had already retrieved his instrument and costume from my parents. I had once again forgotten that we had a concert" said Ruud Merx, successful musician in André Rieu’s Johan Strauss Orchestra, and also to indicate that as a youngster he was not such a fanatical wind instrument musician. It is purely through the guidance of teacher Wil Huppertz Sr. that Merx finally ended up at the conservatory in Maastricht.

Although his maternal grandfather was chairman of the philharmonic Bocholtz, the family Merx was not a horn playing family. My father was a horseman. My brother and sister both competed at a high level; me, not at all" Merx said. "Dad rarely if ever had time for a concert visit. He was more remotely present. That changed in later life. For the recording of the winter special with Rieu’s orchestra, he sat for example in the audience. He thought that was neat."

The family Merx escapes the hectic life of a travelling musician - wife Alina-Lin Jong is a violinist with Rieu - in rural Eys. The two spouses are standing next to each other in a photo taken during introduction week of the Conservatory. "Wind instrument players and strings players are not compatible" Merx quips now. "She can still remember that I always said "Good Day" to her. Later in the arranging class which we both were taking at the same time, there was an inkling of attraction. The spark really hit when I was already more than a year with the Strauss orchestra - during a long bus trip, we talked intensively for four hours. Both of the relationships we then had, died within a month.

How Merx ended up in Rieu’s orchestra is a story all its own. Already at the conservatory he was real good friends with trumpet player René Henket. When it became a hit, a trombone player was needed for "the Second Waltz" during the TV performances, someone who could mime that piece. "René knew of someone who fit that perfectly. At first I could not go because of another commitment. A week later André called again. After those TV appearances, Rieu asked if I could play live. Had to audition for him in his house: low, high, loud and soft. And in passing the trombone player reveals how the typical Rieu-sound occurs. When we are recording, we always play from an extensive piano score, written by Frank Steijns. The orchestra is so well trained that they can take from the score whatever works. For André this is a kind of sweets factory. He can add to it anything he wants."

His two children, the surroundings near Eys, the rolling hills, the Löss, the clay and the social contacts, are what the trombone player calls his base. "In short, the country where you come from. I noticed at one point that I was losing my contact with that base. Since 1994 I am slowly being absorbed by Rieu. When you are on the road as much as we are, a very cohesive bond forms, especially when almost no one has children. At some point you become so busy that you no longer have normal social contacts. And when people call you three times in vain, they are not going to call you a fourth time. "Call me when you get here" they then say." When Merx notices that he has neglected his base, he decides to restore that actively. First on the list, he and his wife will work part-time, they alternate every week. "We find it very important that one of us is with the children. Rieu understands that: he too has children."

In addition Merx is involved with many projects with Limburg (amateur) musicians. He arranges the Roermond musical "Limburg Geis" which is being put on CD at this time. He also arranges a number of chansons by Jacques Brel for the Limburg brass band, "Little gems that fall in your lap." And for the brass band of Landhorst (St. Anthony’s) from division five, he writes the music for a stage play named "Geluiden uit de Peel" {(Sounds from the Peel) An area in the Netherlands rich in pied}. "Quite difficult because you have to consider many things, such as the different levels. If all goes as planned, and after this project, the musicians will then play a class better then now. That’s a nice bonus. In addition he puts time into the brass band "Blech Mich?" and together with his wife they are on the board membership foundation "Op Herme" where they organize a house concert three times a year for all the donors. Not surprising because Lin is the daughter of Veronika Jong, the driving force behind the nursing home for ponies. But with most enthusiasm the 45-year-old trombone player speaks about the project "Music makes Smart."

And also out of personal interest. I have always wondered why music touches me so. How does that work?" Research has shown that the brain halves in music playing, children are more interconnected. It also has something to do with physics. Looking at the micro level, people consist of so-called quarks, energy. And energy is what you feel when you transfer music to the intention and emotion. Therefore, music is a universal language. I like to bring that over on to others." He still wonders daily about things, Merx confesses." Looking at things in a childlike and unbiased way. No matter how often you play the "Blue Danube", you should always play it as if it is for the first time. That attitude you should incorporate in your daily life ... and that is difficult. "

Thanks to John for the English Translation

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article, and thanks for the long translation, John! It's true that the Limburg region is known for its many brass bands, and many top-notch musicians come from that background. It's really fun to see this in the behind-the-scenes section of the Maastricht 2009 DVD, with the 400 brass players and how they were recruited and rehearsed (in the rain!). It's also interesting to read how many of the musicians in Andre's orchestra have known each other since conservatory days. Such a family feeling they have, that comes across on stage. - Jennifer D.

Dee Demasson said...

I enjoyed reading that John and thank you!! It's always great to read a JSO story.

Cheers, Dee.

Devoted Scottish Fan said...

Many thanks for this great article John. Ruud has certainly had an interesting upbringing - as have many of the JSO. He is so talented (again - as are all of the JSO) and I saw him with Marcel's "LiftOff" last year "showing off" his other many talents!
Moira x

Alice said...

Ruud is such a gentleman. I remember talking to him in Ottawa 2008, I didn't understand why they had so much energy even they’re on the road so often for the tight schedule, and he said he’s more tired when at home looking after the kids. (Lin was the busy one at home then)
Nice guy!!

Bill Cole said...

Very informative insight into Ruud, the person & the musician. Thanks for the translation, John.

Bill Cole

CLICK ON "OLDER POSTS" TO CONTINUE TO PREVIOUS PAGES ON THE PARLOR

.

.

.

.

.
Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.
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

TOP TEN VIEWED POSTS IN THE PAST WEEK

TOP TEN VIEWED POSTS IN THE PAST THIRTY DAYS

TOP TEN ALL TIME VIEWED POSTS