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Apr 19, 2018

André Rieu Starts New Year With Show in Ziggo Dome

André Rieu starts New Year With Show in Amsterdam Ziggo Dome

April 18, 2018: For the third year in a row André Rieu starts the New Year again at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. His New Year's concert will take place next year on January 5th.

The performance in the Ziggo Dome is the start of Rieu's new world tour. "After having toured all over the world for a year, it's always nice to start the New Year close to home", says the Maastricht citizen. "Our friends, family and many of our fantastic fans are always there and I'm really looking forward to it."

Following  the New Year's concert in Amsterdam, another New Year's concert will take place on January 6th in the Sportpaleis in Antwerp. Tickets for both shows will go on sale on Friday (April 20th 2018).

The last few weeks Rieu performed in Mexico and Israel and will be touring in Northern and Eastern Europe in the near future. In July he and his Johann Strauss Orchestra will perform a record number of thirteen shows at the Vrijthof in Maastricht.

Thanks to John for this News and the Translation!

Apr 5, 2018

Rieu About Controversial Performance in Israel

Rieu About Controversial Performance in Israel
"Aren't I allowed to play anywhere anymore?"

L1 Entertainment April 4, 2018: The first of the controversial concerts conducted by André Rieu went smoothly Tuesday evening in Israel. The arrival of the orchestra caused a stir of twenty Palestinian artists and organizations. They called for Rieu to cancel the performances because according to them, the Israeli government would use the shows to divert the attention away from oppressed Palestinians.

No Politics
The Maastricht violinist said earlier that he is not involved in politics. "Then I would no longer be able to perform, so to speak," he said. "In America, where tongues are unleashed towards Trump as president, we just played there as well. And in Istanbul we also gave performances, even though Erdogan is not a popular leader.

Rieu noticed earlier that people in the hall were sitting with Israeli flags and thought that in their country there would be a need for his shows.

Festive Mood
Jo Cortenraedt, who is in Tel Aviv where Rieu is giving the concerts, tells L1 Radio that during the first concert on Tuesday evening there was a festive mood in the Menora Mivtachim Arena.

"I also saw Palestinian people sitting in the hall, and it struck me that here, just as in South America, the audience was mixed in age."

Rieu, together with his 60 member Johann Strauss Orchestra and several International Soloists, was for the first time in history on stage in Israel.

ThankYou to John for the Translation 

Mar 12, 2018

Rieu Will Go To Tel Aviv Despite Criticism

Rieu Will Go To Tel Aviv Despite Criticism

André Rieu is not giving in to the comments of twenty Palestinian organizations
They ask the Orchestra Leader via a letter on a website for human rights, to cancel four concerts next month in Tel Aviv.

De Limburger March 13, 2018 - Maastricht by Ruud Maas: A group of twenty Palestinian artists en cultural centers feel that André Rieu should follow artists like Lorde, Brian Eno and Lauryn Hill, who refused to give concerts in Israel. In a letter on Article 1 Collective, a site which is committed to human rights, they write saying that they that they find it inappropriate for the 68-year-old orchestra leader to perform there. A concert in Israel today is considered an equivalent of a performance for "whites only" in the South African resort of Sun City in the eighties, when the government oppressed black South Africans, according to the letter. The signatories believe that the Israeli government supports "big shows like yours" to divert attention from the Israeli decades-long repression of the Palestinians.

The group states that the government expunges the Palestinian culture by shutting down theaters and cinemas, banning events, denying artists a residency permit and incarcerate others without charge. "We admire your charitable dedication, referring to your benefit concerts in your role as ambassador of Wesambulance Limburg, which fulfills the wishes of seriously ill patients to experience a day distracted from pain. There is no breathing space for millions of Palestinians living under Israeli oppression."

Continued in the letter: "As a colleague artist we hope that you are in agreement with us and that we have a moral obligation to avoid all evil, and prevent our art from being misused to disguise oppression. We hope you stand on the right side of history."

From 3 until 7 April inclusive, André Rieu will perform four shows in the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv. This will be the first time he will be performing in Israel. Pierre Rieu, his son and spokesperson, indicated that the shows will go on. "We do not concern ourselves with politics, but with music. According to Pierre, the Orchestra Leader had never previously received a request to ignore a city.

Thank You to John for the Translation 

Feb 22, 2018

More Days For Rieu on The Vrijthof?

Extra Day For Rieu on The Vrijthof

This year Maastricht still had one more event day to be released for the Vrijthof. 
André Rieu actually still needs three, but for now - received the last one.

Maastricht, by John Hoofs, the Limburger.- To choose between André Rieu, Erwin Brepols and a yet unknown artist, was for the Maastricht city council on 10 November not too difficult a choice. If you still have precisely one more day available for an event on the Vrijthof, then you grant that day to someone who has brought the city and the region for years a lot of economic prosperity, someone who reinforces the image and who cultivates a lot of international goodwill. That of course is André Rieu and with the expectation that he might shortly be knocking on the door for yet another two extra concert days
The Norm
For years Maastricht has been wrestling with their self imposed 60 day norm for the Vrijthof. Exclusive erecting and breaking down, for example, of a podium or seats on Maastricht's famous square, such events can only be booked for up to 60 days per year. With the ponderous request of "Magisch Maastricht" [Magical Maastricht (this year 31 days)] there is not much left to be passed along. Definitely not when André Rieu plans on twelve concerts and then adds on a thirteenth. With a perspective of a fourteenth and fifteenth, should the ticket sales increase. 

This year, Rieu's performances are planned for Thursday 5 through Sunday 8 July, Thursday 12 through Sunday 15 July and Thursday 19 through Sunday 22 July. Three times four days in a row, to which now July 4th has been added. Should the run on tickets justify that, then concerts could also be arranged for Wednesdays 11 and 18 July. In that case, the city council would have to make an exception to their 60 day rule. Three extra concerts, means 30,000 more visitors, including additional hotel stays, restaurant visits, and shopping purchases as a result.

Erwin Brepols (local celebrity) cannot surpass this economic impact. Together with the Vrijthof entrepreneurs he wanted to perform an easy accessible concert, in order to celebrate his twenty-fifth anniversary as an artist. In addition, the Sjeng Kraft Kompenei also wanted to claim the last event day, by wanting to contract a national or international artist for Saturday 10 November and be able to use the stage on the Vrijthof the night before the-11th-of-the-11th (Mardi-Gras start) since it is already there. With both requesters in mind, the city council is now looking for an alternate location.

Thanks to John for this and the Translation

Feb 3, 2018

Klassik Radio Will Add World Star André Rieu

Klassik Radio Will Add World Star André Rieu 

Press Release
Klassik Radio will add world star André Rieu as curator to their new streaming service ”Klassik Radio Select."

Star violinist André Rieu will become the curator of his own program at Klassik Radio Select, a new streaming service of Germany's largest classical radio station. The star musician who has 30 number 1 finishes, sold more than 40 million CDs and has over 600,000 concertgoers per year, will presents to the Klassik Radio Select listeners his most beautiful waltzes, film scores, operas and musicals.

Augsburg, February 01, 2018.
Klassik Radio is steadily expanding its world-class number of prominent curators. Violinist André Rieu has now been added to the list of internationally renowned experts, such as Rolando Villazón and Hollywood film composer James Newton Howard. Rieu has sold more than 40 million CDs worldwide, has received more than 500 Platinum and 280 Gold awards, and his world hits have been No. 1 on the hit-parade charts 30 times. More than 2.7 million Facebook fans follow the charismatic Dutchman, who is currently touring Germany and is known in Germany as well as internationally through numerous TV appearances. Rieu thrills fans around the world with his Johann Strauss Orchestra, the largest private orchestra in the world, since 1988.
For "Klassik Radio Select", the innovative streaming service with access to the best classical music titles of all major music labels, the artist will be selecting several of his own favorites. André has an ambitious goal and as curator for "Klassik Radio Select" it will bring him a good deal closer to his dream. "My dream is to make all of classical music accessible to a wide audience,"  says André Rieu.

In addition Classicla radio users will also be able to purchase concert tickets for the spectacular Maastricht Open Airs by André Rieu at special prices through their "Auszeit" online auction platform created exclusively by Klassik Radio. 

"Klassol Radio Select" offers fans of classical music a rich selection in HD quality of film, jazz or easy listening music. The ad-free service offers more than 100 channels for just 5.99 per month. Each individual not only has access to a multi-layered program and absolute listening pleasure, but is also guided by an expert. Depending on everyone's mood, listeners can enjoy a range of their perfectly tailored musical preferences without having to go through lengthy playlists.

"We are very proud to have been able to have one of he world's most successful artists sign on as a curator for the "Klassik Radio Select" André Rieu not only delights his fans with his millions of CD's sold, but he also reaches more than 2.7 million Facebook fans worldwide digitally," says Ulrich RJ Kubak - founder and CEO of "Klassik Radio AG".

Thank You to John and Ineke for the article and translation.

Jan 13, 2018

Donij van Doorn Travels The World With Rieu

Soprano Donij van Doorn travels the world with André Rieu. She was born in Enschede, the Netherlands, and during her studies at the Maastricht Conservatory lived in that Capital City of Limburg, but now she's lost her heart to the Hague. Her favorite place there: Swags (Haagsche Bluf 18)

By Ivar Lingen: "It is such a nice little square. It is a bit sheltered, so that not everyone goes there en-masse" ,says Donij. On the terrace of Scallywags in the Haagsche Bluf she sits down in one of 'those big granny chairs', as she calls them." They sit fabulously." The soprano likes to come there for the homemade cakes. Along with fresh juice.

Donij now lives in The Hague for a little over a year. That she moved to the city by the sea is actually purely a coincidence, she says. "My friend lived in Leipzig and I in Amsterdam, and we maintained this distant relationship for five years. That must be real love, haha. On a shorter term we wanted to find something together. I met friends of mine and they lived in a sister's house that needed to be rented out. The Hague was on our list as an option, but we had not seriously looked at that," she says honestly. "It is a very nice house, and has a lot of character. And the Weimarstreet is very sociable, pleasant and cozy."

In a short time, The Hague has conquered a place in Donij's heart . How did that happen? "From my house you are very quickly to the beach and the dunes. Then you are really 'outside the city'. The Hague also has a lot of charm, it is also more stately. Amsterdam is a bit more crowded. "Donij adds quickly: "And we are still really trying to discover the city."

The latest thing Donij recently discovered in The Hague is "Murphy's Law" at the Doctor Kuyperstraat. "That's such a nice jazz place! Five times a week they have live jazz music there. I have been there three times now. They also have lots of whiskeys - which I love very much, haha!"

Donij met André Rieu during her studies in Maastricht. "He was frantically looking for someone to substitute in the choir. I was a third-year student, or something like that. I just did not believe it when they first called. I thought: yeah, right ... Haha! I went for an audition and we clicked. He immediately took me to his castle in his car, I signed a contract and then suddenly I was in the Efteling for the DVD-special which was being recorded there. It was really a fairy tale how it all started. Afterwards - I was still studying and could not always leave for a few weeks - he tried to persuade me for the fun tours. "Are you coming along to Japan? Really nice, it is only a week and a half. Come on! "He said.

"At some time, when we were performing in the Carré with Ivo Niehe he asked for me to see him during the break. And he asked: "Listen, would you not want to join me as my solo?" I think I was twenty-three, twenty-four. I thought: "Wow, yes, cool!" Naturally I internally jumped a hole in the air. But I had to arrange it with the school. In the end it was a very cool experience: I could go along to America, and for a young soprano, experience jet lag, and sing there with a full orchestra for so many people, days in a row. I thought that to be very special."

Afterwards Donij had to make a difficult decision. "I received an offer from the "Opera Studio Nederland" in Amsterdam. They had seen me in Maastricht and they really would like to have me. It is actually a very selective group of people. I did not feel I was ready to go with André, because I still wanted to learn so much. Opera is my greatest love: to play a role and sing. That is such a neat combination. So I opted for the "Opera Studio" in Amsterdam and that's where we actually parted ways. "For the time being, at least ...

Because three years ago, the 'king of romance', André Rieu, called Donij. "Out of the blue he called me from France: "Can you come to France tomorrow? Because I need a soprano. "I told him I had a performance tomorrow - didn't even know where. "And the day after tomorrow?" he asked. But I was not able. "Okay, could you then go to China in two weeks?" That, I could do, because it was only a week. And it just clicked, just like before. It was so nice. I was at a different level, where it was better working with him. I was very grateful that this happened to come my way." But in the end, Donij was not able to go on a tour to China, because she was not able to obtain a visa in that short of a time. "And so we eventually ended up together on the stage for the first time in Eastern Europe (Prague)," says Donij.

From classical opera to soloist in André Rieu's shows: Donij calls it 'a completely different way of dealing with the profession'. She explains this as follows: "I have been trained and am prepared to do an opera for three hours and to sing above an orchestra. The classical way of course. That is now of course completely different. One aria is mine only, but I also have other things with another soloist. But with jet lag and fatigue from five days of concerts in a row, that is very difficult. And you only have those five minutes to really pop. So you have a completely different mindset. That is very refreshing. On the other hand, I do miss it: In one year, I only do one piece."

For her work "she is gone a lot." Most of the time she is gone from home for a few weeks. "The first thing I do when I come home is to go to the beach. Wonderful, especially after a flight. I was born in Enschede, lived in Maastricht, where the beach is not just around the corner. But now it is like that and then I think: "I have to enjoy this," she says with a smile.

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John's translation

Frank Steijns - All Year Round Champagne

For the second time, André Rieu gives a New Year's Concert in the Ziggo Dome. Frank Steijns is a first violinist in the Johann-Strauss orchestra.

By: Eline Verburg, de Telegraaf: A New Year's concert in the Ziggo Dome is just something different than from other concerts, says Frank Steijns. "This year too André Rieu will add a beautiful and grand act to the concert," he says.

The first violinist has been playing "with great pleasure" in the Johann Strauss Orchestra for more than sixteen years, and has calculated that he has already played the audience's favorite "An der Schönen Blauen Donau" more than 3ooo times. "It is THE waltz of Strauss and the highlight for the audience and orchestra. People stand-up in mass to dance, and then you see how much music fraternizes, "he explains.

Carillonneur and Musical genius
Frank Steijns (1970) graduated cum laude in the studies of violin, music theory
and orchestral conducting in Leuven Belgium. These studies were followed with training as a carillonneur and he is a composer.
Besides his work as a violinist in the orchestra of Rieu, he is also the city carillonneur for
Maastricht, Heerlen and Weert. He regularly plays popular music on the carillon, which ranges from Within Temptation to Metallica

During the New Year's Eve party In the Ziggo Dome without a doubt, the Radetzky march will also be heard. "The absolute New Year's Eve piece", according to Steijns. "Luckily we play that the entire year on stage with champagne."

"The year 2018 has a full program in store for the sixty-person orchestra." Steijns rejoices enormously: " We travel about the whole world. In April we will go to Israel for the first time. Performing in a new country is always exciting and challenging. " In the meantime the entire world is also coming to Maastricht. In July Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra will perform for the fourteenth time "at home" on the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Twelve evenings this time. Through the course of years passed, these open air concerts have attracted more and more fans to South Limburg. "Every evening in Maastricht we count all the flags the fans bring with them. Last year there were more than ninety nationalities on the square. That's about the half of all countries in the world", he said so proudly. In addition to his work at Rieu's and as carillonneur, Steijns is also a composer. In July and for the first time in Maastricht there will be a performance of a huge composition by him for a big choir, Symphony Orchestra and soloists. "It has to be ready by the end of January. So my first good intention for 2018 is: "to continue! "

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John's translation

Dec 9, 2017

A Record of Twelve Rieu Concerts in Maastricht!

A Record Total of Twelve André Rieu Concerts in Maastricht

L1News: There will definitely be twelve concerts by André Rieu on the Vrijthof in Maastricht.
In August, the violinist then announced that he would like to extend the number of performances to twelve. That, now is final. The ticket sales for the extra concerts starts Friday morning. (8 Dec @ 10:00 Central European Time)

Sold out The sale of tickets for the first ten concerts has been a great success, according to the Rieu production office. They are now almost sold out.

New record With the expansion to twelve concerts, the stand-alone violinist has achieved a new record. Never before has he performed on the Vrijthof for twelve times in a row. The extra performances are planned for Thursdays 12 and 19 July.

Tel Aviv In addition, the maestro announced that he and his orchestra will be on stage for the first time in Israel in April. There is also a lot of interest for those concerts. A third performance in Tel Aviv is now also being planned. Ticket sales for these concerts have already started.

Thank You to Ineke for the article and John for translating it for us.

Dec 4, 2017

André Rieu Does Not Have to Pay a Fine For Child Labor

André Rieu Does Not Have to Pay a Fine For Child Labor
NU magazine: André Rieu does not have to pay the fine which the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment had imposed on him due to performance of minor pan-flute players.

This was determined on Monday by the administrative judge of the court of Limburg André Rieu does not have to pay the fine, which the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment had imposed on him for due to the performance  of minor pan-flute players.

The fine was imposed for violations resulting from a 2015 performance during Rieu's traditional summer concert on the Vrijthof in Maastricht, by Romanian pan-flute virtuoso Gheorghe Zamfir and his music and dance ensemble, who were guest performers. A group of young pan-flute players were also part of the ensemble.

Two of them were younger than sixteen and had performed for the public after 11 pm. However, the court finds the basis for the fine insufficient. ARP (André Rieu Productions), the company of Rieu, is not clearly identifiable as an employer of children.

Rieu at that time said that he thought it was childish that he was fined: "It was not until the last concert that someone from the Labor Inspector's office came up and cited us right away, which is very cowardly and absurd, but well - that's how this country is."

Thank You to Ineke for the article and John for Translating it.

Dec 1, 2017

Portrait of Folk Violinist André Rieu

Portrait of Folk Violinist André Rieu

By Astrid Theunissen, from "The Financial Paper."
For thirty years André Rieu has been touring the world with his Johann Strauss Orchestra. And with success: he is one of the three best-earning artists in the Netherlands. Portrait of a perfectionist.

André Rieu in the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, January 2017. Photo: Hollandse Hoogte / Harold Versteeg

In addition to the sixty orchestra members , three pieces of all their instruments and three of their stage clothing (men's costumes, gala dresses for the ladies), their own washing machines also come along during a tour of André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra. After all, experience has shown that the quality of laundry elsewhere does not meet Rieu's requirements everywhere. Even Rieu's sofa bed accompanies him all over the world - only on that couch he wants to prepare and recharge himself for the concert. Furthermore, the decor, the front of a Greek temple, is shipped, a castle or anything else from 100 to 120 meters long, the sound system, which is identical to that of The Rolling Stones, and Rieu's Stradivarius. Someone who watches this precious violin also goes along. Then come his manager, which is his youngest son Pierre, Rieu's personal trainer, Rieu's doctor, the washing ladies, the technical staff, two chefs, and a mobile kitchen. "Those who work hard must eat well," says the violinist born and bred in the Burgundian Maastricht. Everyone always thought: "The" King of the Waltz "is coming," let's prepare a wiener schnitzel for him," he once said. "I was fed up with that."

Touring itself has not yet bored the 68-year-old musician. Every performance is a migration, a logistical challenge and an attack on the physical body, but touring is performing, and performing, says Rieu is "better than sex.". He cherishes his murderous agenda, with ten concerts in December and the same number again in January. And so it has been going on for about thirty years. In between he produces CD's and DVD's and he nourishes his plans, to become even more famous. Because his retirement age does not stand in the way of his ambition. "I'd like to be among them," he said during his recent tour of America, while strolling the Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.

Folk festivals

According to Quote 500, André Rieu is - after DJs Tiësto and Armin van Buuren - with 25 million Euros the most wealthy musician in the Netherlands. "His trademark: the creation of folk festivals of unprecedented proportions, in which highlights from operas, musicals, classical music and film tracks follow each other in rapid succession," according to professor Maaike Meijer, who, together with and amongst other cultural historians, Rieu's school friend Jac van den Boogard, studied "The phenomenon of Rieu," and defined him in the book "Rieu, maestro without borders." 'Rieu is like a wholesaler in musical climaxes", says Meijer, "and if you experience that live, it's quite crazy, fun and festive."

This approach to classical music may be called "disrespectful" by critics, but the formula is striking in both Australia, South America and Japan. "Rieu taps into a trans-cultural source and that is intriguing," says Meijer. "He always knows to play melodies which the audience knows from somewhere. That recognition touches and creates solidarity."'

Born: 1 October 1949 in Maastricht
1961-67: City Secondary school of Maastricht
1968-73: Maastricht Conservatory
1974-77: Conservatory Brussels
1978: Plays at Maastricht Salon Orchestra
1987: Founding of the Johann Strauss Orchestra
1994: Breakthrough with 'The Second Waltz'
2002: Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion
2005: First Vrijthof concert in Maastricht, beginning annual tradition
2011: Performs 'And the Waltz Goes On' in Vienna, a composition by Sir Anthony Hopkins
2013: Coronation concert on the Amsterdam Museum square during the coronation of King Willem-Alexander
2016: Composes the 'Windsor Waltz' for the ninetieth birthday of the British Queen Elizabeth
2017: Celebration of the 30th anniversary of his Johann Strauss Orchestra

His intuition for the needs of his audience Meijer calls that "phenomenal", but he prepares himself very well for that. Before he visits a country, he investigates old local hits, which he then performs. He also invites local musicians to his stage; young pan flute players in Romania, a military mega band in Chile. Nothing is crazy enough for Rieu. In the Netherlands, he had Father Abraham (Pierre Cartner)sing the smurf song, André van Duin doing an act and this summer David Hasselhoff appeared on stage in the car from his former TV series "Knight Rider", to sing his forgotten disco song "Looking for Freedom." It is a long way off from the stiff, elitist world of classical music, where it is not even allowed to cough," says Meijer.

There was a record player on which only heavy classical music was played.

And probably after his father, who stuck up his nose for all music which is not classically classical. André Rieu senior was conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and who demanded high musical expectations of his six children. At the age of five, André Junior received a violin and at the age of nine sang in the boys' choir of the Sint Servaas Basilica, just like Jérôme Minis, who still vividly remembers the rehearsals of nearly sixty years ago. Their musical development has had an ideal beginning there, he says, but they sometimes went "quite barbaric." We studied complete four-part masses of the masters from the Dutch Golden Age, Palestrina, Josquin des Prez, and Orlando di Lasso, and those who sang a false or bad note, had to continue singing on their knees or the conductor would asked your neighbor to smack you one. "Especially after those Wednesday afternoon sessions, the boys had lots of fun when they climbed many meters up the Servaas church using the down spouts on the Roman façade. "André is an adventurer," says Minis. "That which he now achieves, stems from his adventurous character."

Rieu did not wait until his orchestra was asked to come and play somewhere.

Jac van den Boogard, who was a Rieu classmate at the Maastricht City Gymnasium, also knows him as a boy who liked to go to the extreme. "André regularly skipped the solfège, the notes lesson, which he had to practice from his father." His father also demanded that his children attended all his concerts and to listen to Mahler, Bruckner and Wagner. "Pop music was forbidden", says Van den Boogard, who, just like cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and other prominent musicians, often visited the Rieus. "'There was a record player which always only played classic music."

A concert by André Rieu at the Vrijthof in Maastricht, the 6th of July 2013. Photo: Hollandse Hoogte / Otto Snoek

Longing for nostalgia

At the Maastricht Conservatory, Rieu put a striking conviction in his playing during examinations, according to fellow student Jérôme Minis, with whom he remained friends. Nevertheless, Rieu only starts to feel a passion for what he plays when he enters into a relationship with Marjorie, later on wife, as written in his biography "My Music, my Life." She brings him in touch with light salon music. Especially the waltz touches him, and when he starts to play for the Maastricht Salon Orchestra during his Conservatory study, he notices that this kind of music brings both lawyers and workers to dance on tables. And he sees opportunities to breathe new life into this drudging orchestra. "André has charisma and always has ideas, so that he literally and figuratively and in the shortest possible time played the first violin in that orchestra and made it a success," says Van den Boogard. Rieu did not wait until his orchestra was asked to come and perform somewhere; Under his leadership, the orchestra went and performed unasked in events, such as eating herring pieces on the Wednesday after carnival, and he started organizing Mother's day concerts, New Year's concerts and speculaas (brown ginger spiced cookies) concerts with Sinterklaas (St. Nicolas). "He expanded the repertoire with music which he picked up through a newspaper advertisement," says Van den Boogard. "During that time salon music was collecting dust in attics. André received garbage bags full at his front door."

Interior of the dining room in Huis de Torentjes, the residence of André Rieu. Photo: Hollandse Hoogte / Roger Dohmen Photography ... Rieu and his youngest son Pierre in 2008. Photo: Hollandse Hoogte / Ineke Oostveen

"It appears that Rieu must have felt the spirit of the times very well," says the cultural historian. There was a craving for nostalgia. He dusted off that old music and caused a furor with a twelve-piece orchestra back in 1987 which he called "the Johann Strauss Orchestra." It took another seven years before he found someone willing to release a record with him, and that record was his big breakthrough. Rieu's interpretation and performance of Dmitri Sjostakovich's "The Second Waltz" was high in the charts worldwide for months. The following year he played that piece during intermission of the final of the Champions League, and with a rapidly expanding effect, flew around the world."'

Rieu was at the top of the charts thirty times . He sold an estimated 40 million CD's and DVD's, and in 2016 alone sold 364,000 entry tickets. Fans follow and travel after him, but prefer to experience a performance in his hometown of Maastricht. On the Vrijthof, the medieval square where André Rieu and Jérôme Minis played soccer as children, he has traditionally since 2005 given a series of summer concerts for ten thousand people. Per night. "It is then a madhouse in Maastricht," says Erik de Jong, director of the Museum at the Vrijthof. "Everywhere fans walk around with banners, there are umpteen TV teams from all over the world and access roads are being closed."

His audience is already swaying after five minutes. Many artists cannot copy him in that.

But Maastricht is happy with the chaos, says ex-mayor Onno Hoes. "André Rieu creates huge publicity for Maastricht. In addition, every Rieu evening brings the hotel, restaurant and hotel industry an income of around six million Euros and the concerts are a great relationship event. "The latter is not only true for Maastricht; Rieu's eldest son Marc, an artist and painter, has for eight years used the opportunity to exhibit his works in the Theater on the Vrijthof. With success, because everything that has Rieu on it is cherished by his fans.

Loss of millions

"André's greatest strength is enthusiasm," observes Jérôme Minis, himself a flutist in a baroque ensemble. "After five minutes his audience is already swaying. Many artists cannot copy him in that." Jac van den Boogard shares that opinion. "Then you hear him say: "Everyone from South Africa is here ...! "André always uses superlatives."

"The joy which his audience experiences must be greater than grand," says Maaike Meijer, and costs and effort are not spared. "For the filming of a Christmas DVD in the middle of a sweltering summer, he had a whole garden sprayed full with artificial snow. He almost went bankrupt when in 2008 he copied the famous Viennese Sissi castle. The replica of 125 meters long with two ice rinks of 600 square meters was dragged all over the world. Just the erecting and the dismantling cost a fortune. "Because of this delusion of grandeur, Rieu's company suffered a loss of millions. His instruments were forced to be pledged to the bank, and he gave his name as collateral. But André Rieu is not afraid of a little set back. With extra performances he solved his money problems and a year later, in 2009, Rieu was ranked the sixth best-selling artists in the world, ahead of Britney Spears and Beyoncé.

"We never see Rieu grumpy, but of course just like everyone else, he can be."

His financial department is now paying more attention to the expenses of André Rieu, but according to him, everything must still be the most beautiful and the best. "A while ago he exchanged his 1667 Stradivarius for a 1732 Stradivarius," says Jac van den Boogard. "That seems to be an even better year, which makes the violin even sound better."

Rieu sets the bar very high, even for himself. Every evening has to be unique and be an unforgettable evening for his audience. That perfectionism is at the expense of his health. In the beginning of 2012 he rested for a few months, downed through burn-out. Since then he has been training with a personal coach and has adapted his exuberant bourgundian lifestyle. He now eats rye bread with smoke-dried meat and sniffs first at the French cheese to know whether it is worth it to gain weight. But he lets his own catering always serve an excellent cheese. Of course. That is what they are told. By Rieu himself.

The first concert by André Rieu in the Amsterdam Arena, in 2008, with the theme 'A romantic night in Vienna'.Photo: Hollandse Hoogte / Marco Okhuizen

An unabashed piece of PR

"Nothing happens without Rieu being involved. Everything around him is tightly controlled," says Maaike Meijer. Also the marketing department. The two books which he sells on his website were written by his loving wife Marjorie, and the films on his website and the reality series "Welcome to my World", on British television, are manufactured by his own team. "Rieu also knows better than anyone how to generate attention for a new song", says Meijer. "Just prior to the wedding of George Clooney and Amal, he celebrated a song to them via YouTube. Through that gesture it seemed like they were good friends, while they do not know each other personally. This is how his status as a celebrity rises, and at the same time he advertises his new CD."

The numbers
$ 32.1 million The Gross income of Rieu in 2016.
364,821 The Number of tickets sold in 2016 for 60 shows in 46 cities.
67. The listing between 100 artists who sold the most tickets for their shows in 2016.
12. The number of members with whom he started his Johann Strauss Orchestra (now 50 members) in 1987.
7. The number of times that Rieu won the Buma Export Award.
16. The number of weeks that the album 'Strauss & co' in 1994 stood at the number 1 in the album top 100

"It is Rieu himself who thinks of such 'unabashed samples of PR," says Meijer, but he runs everything through Marjorie. She is also actively involved in his activities; she writes the texts he speaks during his performance and participated in the exhibition about her husband at the Museum on the Vrijthof in 2015, "Rieu's love for detail." However, Marjorie remains consistently in the background. She avoids the press, according to museum director De Jong. She does not want to be the woman. Understandable. But it could also be strategy. Perhaps the female fans find it nice to have André seemingly a little bit for themselves."

André Rieu anxiously guards his own image. Everything that becomes public has to be perfect. During a concert there are eighteen cameras to take images for YouTube movies, DVDs and his soap opera. "André is always present at the cutting and editing," says Van den Boogard, who sometimes sits with him in the studio. "André checks all the images, chooses the best pictures, even of himself. "He always appears to be laughing," Meijer adds. "We never see Rieu grumpy, but of course he sometimes is just like everyone else. Rieu becomes grumpy about criticism, even about alleged criticism. He is very sensitive to that."

That could explain why (former) orchestra members, (former) employees and also family members such as his sons and youngest brother Jean-Philippe, who composed for Rieu for six years, do not want to talk about Rieu. Only Kerstin Cornelis, his former personal assistant, once made the cautious statement in one of the many internet films: "We are one big family, very disciplined. He's the boss." Meijer, who regularly visited Rieu in the midst of his orchestra members: "If you go along with him, he is generous, warm and cheerful and is very interested in your personal circumstances. He becomes annoyed and impatient when you go against him. He decides. And when he says that the bus leaves at 3 o'clock, it does not depart a minute later."

No star allures

On the other hand, criticizing his music does not bother him anymore. "André has the mission to make as many people as happy as possible with the music for which he feels passion," says Jérôme Minis. "And you know pianist Liberace's comment, right? When this showman and pianist was asked if he regretted no longer playing classical music but instead entertained, he said: "Oh yes! I'm crying ... all the way to the bank!!"

Rieu has won all the major music prizes, has about 480 platinum records, and has received important awards in several countries. Yet he has not changed since his success, claim Jérôme Minis and Jac van den Boogard. He may drive a nice car, own a nice little castle and sometimes takes a private jet, but no, André Rieu has absolutely no star allures. Van den Boogard: "He does his own shopping at the supermarket, butcher and baker." Minis: "He always makes a cappuccino for me." André likes to pamper others, they say, and does not boast about himself but is very interested in others.

"In his work everything has to be great, but at home André enjoys Marjorie, his two boys and five grandchildren," says Minis. "And the renovating his little castle."The so-called "Huis de Torentjes," (House of the little Towers) at the foot of the Sint-Pietersberg, is being restored by the violinist himself, with some help from Minis' brother. "If André had not become a musician, he would have been an architect," says Minis. "He himself has laid out his garden and designed a great orangery (Greenhouse). There we are drinking wine, between the exotic flowers and butterflies, the size of two hands, which André had flown in from Nicaragua as cocoons . Fantastic."

Rieu does not yet allow himself much time for relaxation. He is again going to expand his Vrijthof concerts to twelve shows, which he recently announced. He has established a media company which streams his shows to cinemas around the world. And he has brought a new tradition to live this year. Every first Saturday of January he will give a New Year's concert in Amsterdam, inspired by the New Year's Concert of the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra. But then, of course, a size bigger. He does not play, like in Austria, in a concert hall with three thousand seats, but in the Ziggo Dome, which can accommodate seventeen thousand people. At the kick-off, last January, the concert was staged with no less than 150 dance couples and an innumerable amount of snowflakes. His fans will be wondering what Rieu has in store for them this year.

Thanks Ineke for this article and John for his translation

Nov 18, 2017

André Rieu: With Discipline and Love To Success

André Rieu: With Discipline and Love To Success
In a good mood, star violinist André Rieu joined NDR Plus reporter Karsten Sekund for an interview.

He looks great sitting there with NDR Plus reporter Karsten Sekund: a red jacket, curly hair, athletic figure - orchestra leader and waltz king André Rieu is already 68 years old. "When you are in the 60's, not everything works by itself anymore," he says during the interview." Now a days I have to pay more attention to what I eat and that I get enough exercise." One, two kilos less might be more to Rieu's liking, but his fans - mostly female - love the musician exactly as he is. He simply explains this adoration as: "My music is made for the heart, for romance and love."

An album for a romantic evening

In general André Rieu is very important to the topic of "love". It is the thread that runs through his 30-year career. "Amore" is also the name of his new album, which was released on November 17th. It has become a collection of beloved popular tunes which Rieu presents in his very own style. The musical spectrum ranges from Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" to Edvard Grieg's "Morgenstimmung" to the tender sounds of "Love Me Tender." An album made for a romantic evening.

André Rieu in front of his orchestra

The master is in front of his orchestra: Around 110 people belong to his team, with whom André Rieu will go on tour again in January. But before that, André Rieu enjoys being with his family during the Christmas holidays, before going on tour in January together with his 110-strong team. Christmas at home is sacred to him, he says. He is not concerned with the lavish foods and huge fuss, but to simply have peace and time with his loved ones, and not having to think about anything else. "I've already been offered so much money to perform at Christmas, but that's out of the question for me," says Rieu. Even on New Year's Eve, nothing is happening with him." At some point you have to relax."

"My team is like a well-oiled machine"

It's easy to imagine that it's no picnic going on a big concert tour. Performing in a different city every night, changing hotel rooms every night, long journeys, and to always give everything for the show, can only work if you have people you can rely on. "My team is like a well-oiled machine," the Waltz-King praises about his orchestra, the technicians and all those behind the scenes who ensure that everything runs smoothly. But that only works because he has the gift to be able to form a team. "I have a vision, a dream in my head and I can implement that without making detours about others," explains Rieu about his recipe for success. Dutchman André Rieu explains what happens when there is no boss with a clear vision with an example of the Dutch national soccer team, which once again did not qualify for the World Cup: "They are all soloists and they think of themselves as being too important, and so no functioning team can emerge."

With his own, perfectly functioning team, the successful violinist will again come to northern Germany and will play next to the obligatory waltz classics also the titles of his new album.

Photo: Orchestra boss André Rieu (r.) With NDR Reporter Karsten Sekund © NDR Photographer: Marie von Baumbach
Thank You to John for the Translaton!

Nov 11, 2017

Alice & Friends: Here I come, Tacoma!

Alice & Friends: Here I come, Tacoma!

As André often says, “Music brings people together”, this is exactly what I experienced as André Rieu & JSO had their US Tour over the past few weeks ... It's been over 4 years since I last wrote a “novel” on Harmony Parlor. I thought I was due for some updates, but now that I attended the Tacoma concert, I didn't know how to write my report...just so much happened over the weeks...before I even got to Tacoma! This report is not about which pieces were played in the concert, but more about how André's music unites people.

Nov 6, 2017

Kyle's Rieully Musical Adventure

Kyle's Rieully Musical Adventure

A month before the concerts, I received a message from Ineke. She told me that Mike Wiseman, the producer from "Welcome To My World", contacted her and she told him about the fan dinner and me, how I am a huge fan, have tons of memorabilia and that I play violin. She added: if he is interested in you, he will approach you. About 3 days later, I received an email from him at about one in the morning ...

Nov 5, 2017

André Rieu - "I'm a Very Strict Boss."

Pforzheimer Newspaper Interview With World Famour Violinist André Rieu!

"I am a very strict boss."

Interview with the world famous violinist André Rieu about tour rituals, noise and the reason of his great success in recent years. {From the Pforzheimer Zeiting (Germany)}. October 2017.)

André Rieu is the violinist of excellence. More than 35 million records sold, 600 platinum and gold awards and one million concertgoers yearly make the 68-year-old Dutchman the most successful violinist in the world. In 2018 he will again unpack his sinfully expensive Stradivarius dating from 1732 and on her will interpret the most beautiful waltzes of his idol, Johann Strauss.

PZ: Mr. Rieu, in 2017 you and your Johann Strauss Orchestra played in the USA, Chile, Mexico and England. Beginning January you will tour Germany and Austria. Do you bring something with you from every country?

André Rieu: I always bring gifts for my grandchildren! Otherwise, I keep all my experiences in my head and in my heart. This is the fourth or fifth time in Chile. Before that I always look in my archives, so that we do not play the same again. This time we had five sold-out concerts in a row. The Chileans are crazy about our music.

PZ: What cannot be missing on a tour?

André Rieu: My red couch! On tour we have a rhythm: At four thirty we arrive in the hall and have a sound check. Subsequently I will withdraw and sleep on my couch. I will not go on tour without it. I bought it in Münster, Germany. Everything you see on our stage we have four times. That's why I have four of them. We also always take the same German chefs with us on tour. It's almost like home.

PZ: What on your stage is forbidden? 

André Rieu: On my stage it is strictly forbidden to not play with one hundred percent input. But that does not happen. My musicians know that, and I cannot stand it when someone is not wholeheartedly involved.

PZ: Is it really possible to tell if a musician is really and emotionally involved? 

André Rieu: I hear it and I can tell whether a musician really and emotionally involved. or if he's doing something just because he has to do it. It is very important to be existential involved. Because that's exactly the reason for our success.

PZ: The German Bundestag recently decided the female quota for supervisory positions. Does your orchestra have a female quota? 

André Rieu: Yes, but not consciously. In my orchestra, about 70 percent are women. I enjoy working with female musicians because they are often faster, more honest and better than men.

PZ: What in particular do you pay attention to when looking for a new musicians for your orchestra? 

André Rieu: First of all, there are hardly any changes in my orchestra because everyone wants to stay. Namely it's a dream job to play with me. I'm proud to say that. It's a lot of fun to be on the road with these musicians. But when there is a change, I pay particular attention to the fact that he or she is wholeheartedly involved. Because then someone has the chance to survive with me.

PZ: Does it sometimes happen that a musician runs astray on tour? 

André Rieu: No, that has never happened before. I have to say, I am a very strict boss. But also a very good one. You have to follow the rules in my orchestra, but may sound like I'm a dictator. That's not me! For example, when traveling with such a large group, you have to be on time at the bus. Out of respect for the others.

PZ: You play on a 1732 Stradivarius. Do you have someone on tour who only cares for this precious instrument? 

André Rieu: Yes. When traveling there are many instances when I do not have my violin close to me. But I do not want her lying around somewhere. Such an instrument is not only worth a lot of money, but it also has idealistic and emotional values. I would like for the next generation to also be playing on it. I bought this Stradivari, but I feel more like its father than its owner.

PZ: Does your Stradivarius have moods like a diva?

André Rieu: Absolutely. It consists of centuries-old wood. Sometimes you play it in a cold, sometimes warm, damp or dry room. Not only does the violin react to that, but also the bow. Add to that also how you feel right now. Are the fingers loose? Is one rested? Everything works together and that generates a wonderful feeling.

PZ: The Stradivari also played on your latest album "Amore". What was so especially important for you with this record? 

André Rieu: If you listen to the record, you should be able to say: "My heart was touched!" For me that's the most important thing, that is what I want to convey with music. When I go to the studio with my orchestra to record a new CD, we always have a whole list of songs in our heads. But only 16 or 17 find their way to the record. On the first day in the studio I am always very nervous. It is, like having a baby. And then we begin, to shape the baby. When the individual pieces reach the heart, I've done my job right. I not only want every piece to be beautiful and perfect, but also a diamond.

PZ: Are you as a musician, really sensitive to noise? 

André Rieu: Yes, that's true. We recently played the opening music at the Televizier Ring Gala in Amsterdam. Afterwards there was a party, but I do not understand why there has to be so much noise. Dreadful! When I'm at home, sitting in the office with my co-workers, I'm the first to say, "Hey, the computer has to go! It makes me too much noise ". I like total silence since it promotes good health.

PZ: On tour, do you search for hotels that are very quiet? 

André Rieu: Yes. I always ask to turn off the noisy heater before moving into a room. I prefer to use two extra blankets. The first thing I do in a venue is take a tour. I want to see, hear and smell the venue.

PZ: If you work on something at home, do you listen to classical music? 

André Rieu: No, at home I definitely do not listen to any music at all. My wife says I'm like four Lipizzaner stallions. I am either running or sleeping. I never relax. But if I do, then I am asleep.

PZ: What did you personally learn from music for your life? 

André Rieu: That music is the most beautiful and valuable thing there is. For all forms of art, music touches the heart the deepest. On television, a man once told of the terrible things he experienced in his youth. And then he sang a song from before. You could see in him that music had a healing effect. I've seen people come to the concert hall in wheelchairs and walk out on their own two feet. While they were simply dazed by the music. Doctors wrote to me that my music has made their patients happy again. That's a big compliment for me.

PZ: Does your music have its own sound? 

André Rieu: Certainly. I am very proud that you immediately recognize, when listening to my CDs, that's André. I always play the music just as the composer meant it to be. Herbert von Karajan once was asked how he knew what the composer meant. He then said, "Listen, the composer composed it and is dead or gone now. But I'm the one who has to do it. Without a musician, there are only black lines on white paper. The musician has the responsibility and, hopefully, the knowledge to make these black lines on white paper come to live. And that's what we do."

PZ: Was it important for you to pass on your musical knowledge to your sons Marc and Pierre? 

André Rieu: I cannot say that I really wanted that. Had they asked me to show them everything, of course I would have done that immediately. But that was not the case. I gave both of them violin lessons, but they were not too enthusiastic about that. So I told them: "Do what you like to do," and that is what they did.

PZ: Did your sons rebel against you during their puberty and fill your house with loud techno, heavy metal or hip hop? 

André Rieu: Of course they did. One of my sons had bright white hair from one day to the next. Of course he did that to shock us. And it even looked good on him! My sons were allowed to listen to other music at home, but my father only allowed classical music. The Rolling Stones and The Beatles were not allowed in by us.

PZ: As a teenager, did you rebel against your parents?

André Rieu: Hardly. Later on I lived out my puberty together with my wife, who also had a very strict father. Three weeks were enough.

PZ: How do you place yourself in a creative state?

André Rieu: I think I'm pretty creative by nature. I do not have to place myself in a certain condition. It works on its own. You think I'm Dutch and smoke marijuana all day? No, I do not do that!

PZ: Have you ever seen a coffee shop from the inside? 

André Rieu: No, never. I do not care about that stuff. And neither do my sons.

PZ: What is typically Dutch about your art? 

André Rieu: We Dutch are relaxed and humorous. That's how we are on stage. That is perhaps the reason for our success. We can combine humor and seriousness without lowering the standards.

PZ: What can you say about your tour?

André Rieu: You can look forward to an unforgettable evening. With a lot of fun, tears, dancing and singing. Normally, with a classical concert, you first look at the program, which orchestra is playing, which conductor and soloists are performing. In my case, people only know that André is coming with his orchestra. Yes, we have to go there!

Author: The interview was conducted by Olaf Neumann.Thanks to Ineke for this article and her translation with John's assistance. 






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