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Jun 17, 2018

"King of the Waltz' Prepares For Marathon Concerts at The Vrijthof"

"King of the Waltz' Prepares For Marathon Concerts at The Vrijthof"
André Rieu: "Without a family, I'd be nowhere"

By HARRIE NIJEN TWILHAAR, de Telegraaf: ANDRÉ RIEU (68), the unsurpassed 'King of the Waltz', is on the eve of another series of marathon concerts at his trusted and beloved Vrijthof in Maastricht. The maestro does not want to speak about exhaustion, although it will be a big task. "I really do need the support of my sons and my wife MARJORIE for this period.''

It is hard to understand that ANDRÉ RIEU (68) will be giving thirteen concerts in two and a half weeks - starting July 4th - at his trusted Vrijthof in Maastricht. Last year there were nine. The violinist certainly does not want to speak of self induced punishment: "This is the best thing there is."

Are you totally ready for this?
"As far as I am concerned. yes, I am fit enough to tackle this long concert series. It is not an attack on my mind and body. Thirteen concerts at the Vrijthof, it is not an unlucky number for me. We can handle it."
The world famous violinist has sold more than forty million albums over the past decades, and remains as hot as ever. In fact, his fan group seems to only increase.

The flamboyant maestro and his Johann Strauss Orchestra have admittedly conquered the whole world, but his performance is nowhere near as beautiful as in his Maastricht. "I love my city and the people at the Vrijthof immensely."

Does such a series of concerts like this not demand a lot from your body?
"Of course it takes a lot of energy, but at the same time all those happy people and all those smiling faces give me back so much energy. I am now training hard to maintain my fitness level, I rest enough and make sure I can perform these "home games". Don't forget that we give concerts throughout the year - worldwide. On an average of one hundred to one hundred and twenty per year. (Laughing) The advantage of the Maastricht concerts is that I can go there on my bike."


The tickets flew again like hot cakes over the counter. What makes your style so special?
"Our music apparently ensures "cuddle hormones" are created. That's what people love, of course I do too. You see people beaming in the square, kissing, it does not end. When at the end of last year the first concert weekend went on sale, those tickets were sold out in no time. The same happened again for the second concert weekend, which shortly thereafter was announced online. There was so much of a demand for tickets that we ended up with these thirteen concerts. And the people who cannot come here can see the concerts live in the cinema."

That 'waltzing' in cinemas also seems to be extremely popular?
"Right. The concerts are broadcast every year in about 2000 cinemas around the world. It was my son PIERRE's idea. I did not at first believe that it would turn out to be such a huge success where people are dancing in the cinema! Isn't that fantastic? They have the feeling to be there live. ROBERT TEN BRINK is the moderator for the concerts on the white screen. We have again put together a nice program. I always find it so delightful to see people love each other so much during our concerts! Every year we have a new program and we try to keep our mystery guest a mystery for as long as possible and we rehearse very hard for a few weeks to give a great concert. Last year we managed to snare Hollywood star DAVID HASSELHOFF (65) and his Knight Rider car. That was an unbelievable huge success."

In 2010 you were ill for a long time. How will you prevent not to become overtired again?
"Just like a sportsman at the highest level, I prepare myself for those marathon performances. I have to be there on Wednesday, July 4th when the premiere takes place and I cannot afford to let my mind or body falter. I had a viral infection on my equilibrium eight years ago. The situation worsened at the time because I became tired due to too many performances."

Have you learned to be more in tune with your body?
"Yes, definitely. That infection and the grueling period afterwards did not deter me. I think more about my health than ever before. The problems with my equilibrium have fortunately never returned. I do everything to stay fit. That way I make sure everything is in balance and harmony, just like the music we play. That way you can endure. I live healthy, sport under professional supervision with my personal trainer and make sure that I rest sufficiently. On concert days I do nothing else than prepare for the concert. No appointments and no interviews.

Not only has your popularity grown, but that of your orchestra as well.
Last year we celebrated our thirty-year jubilee. In 1987 we started with twelve people on the stage, now there are more than sixty men and women who make music with me. We play with all of our heart and enthusiasm which we feel in us. Nothing is fake, everything is real and authentic. We play classical music but bring it in such a way that it appeals to both young and old. Classical is not meant for the elite alone. Take MOZART for example, I'm sure he was a pop star in his time. If he was alive now, many admirers would want to take selfies with him, and girls' rooms would be decorated with his posters!

Fans from all over the world follow you to the Vrijthof. Does that do anything for you?
"I find it inconceivable. Besides, playing in Maastricht is really "coming home", it feels so fantastic! The entire year we travel all over the world, and in the summer "the entire world" comes to Maastricht. I always welcome my audience to "The Center Of The Universe", because at that moment that is what we experience. Last year there were about ninety nationalities at the Vrijthof. Unbelievable, isn't it?"

Do you yourself decide every year what you are going to do on the Vrijthof?"
"I do that together with my wife MARJORIE. We together decide which compositions are suitable. We never have a certain theme in our heads, it evolves automatically due to the composition of the program. Sometimes an orchestra member comes up with a musical proposal, even MARC (my oldest son); he has an enormous collection and knowledge of film music. Marjorie and I regularly make use of that.

Do you still have time for a private life?
Yes, of course I do! I always call my orchestra "my big family", we share everything together "on tour", love and suffering. But there is always enough time left over for a private life which I can spend with my "small family". That is of course my wife, my sons and not to forget my five grandchildren. That is an unprecedented luxury, being a grandfather of five of the sweetest and most beautiful grandchildren in the world!"


Thanks to Ruud for finding this article and to John for Translating it for us!

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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"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

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