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Oct 30, 2014


Enlarged this photo to post on here, because I just love it! It looks like a painting.

Oct 25, 2014

Oct 24, 2014

ANDRÉ RIEU Love in Venice

ANDRÉ RIEU Love in Venice Takes Fans On A Romantic Journey
New Album Will Be Released on November 4
DVD and BluRay Available on Nov 11


LOS ANGELES - Classical phenomenon André Rieu will release his latest album - Love in Venice – on November 4, 2014. Brimming with Italian vitality and romance, Love in Venice features a selection of popular tunes performed in Rieu’s unique and unforgettable way.

Love in Venice CD features Italian classics such as “O Sole Mio,” “Volare,” “That’s Amore” and “Santa Lucia”; the famous “Barcarole” by Jacques Offenbach; the “Lagoon Waltz” by Johann Strauss; and the Toselli Serenade. Additionally, for the first time ever, Rieu’s own compositions - the title track, “Bella Tarantella,” and “La Gondola” - have been recorded and included on an album release. Two other Rieu treats, “Azzurro” and “Mama” are also included.

This year’s open-air concert was held in the romantic Dutch square, the Vrijthof in Maastricht, under the title "An Italian Night." André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra captivated more than 80,000 fans from across the world taking them on a journey to Italy.

The DVD/BluRay is testament to those unforgettable nights in July when André Rieu turned Maastricht’s main square into a Venetian "piazza grande."

As always, spectators were in for an almost three hour treat including gondolas, world class soloists and a long list of Italian classics and Rieu favorites. Two hours and forty minutes of a musical and visual extravaganza has been edited to BluRay and DVD.

André Rieu says, "I'm asked in almost every interview I do whether I'm a romantic. Of course I am! Venice, La Serenissima, is for me the epitome of romance. For many years, my wife and I have taken our own personal trip once a year to Italy - I'm a big fan of the Italian way of life. And so my new album is a declaration of love to Venice and the fantastic music of this country. And I hope that it will bring back the happiest of memories for you, the listener."

A native of Maastricht, Netherlands, André Rieu is the world’s best-selling classical musician and has brought about an international revival in classical music with his spellbinding musical extravaganzas. André owns the biggest private orchestra in the world and has sold more than 40 million albums and DVDs. This year marks the 20th anniversary of his breakthrough album Strauss & Co, which launched his stratospheric rise in 1994. Since then, he has received more than 400 Platinum and 171 Gold Awards, and he has more than 1.3 million Facebook fans.

In the UK, André made chart history in 2010 when his album Forever Vienna reached No.2 in the UK Pop Charts as well as going straight in at No.1 in the Classical Charts. No other violinist has made such an impact on the charts.

Every year, André, his Johann Strauss Orchestra, chorus and international soloists travel across the world, performing about 100 concerts in front of an audience of one million people. His tours have been on Billboard’s Top 10 for the past ten years.

Check Out The CBS Sunday Morning Interview With André

►BLU RAY and DVD Tracklisting:
1. Azzurro 2. Funiculi Funicula 3. Second Waltz 4. Granada 5. Non Ti Scordar De Me 6. Nessun Dorma 7. Snowwaltz 8. Besame Mucho 9. Vieni Sul Mar, arv_14 10. The White Horse Inn 11. O Mio Babbino Caro 12. Gold And Silver 13. Nitsch Jaka 14. Those Were The Days 15. Caro Nome 16. Intermezzo Sinfonico 17. Tiritomba 18. I Belong To Me 19. The Beautiful Blue Danube
20. Ode To Joy (All Men Shall Be Brothers) 21. Radetzkymarch 22. Strauss & Co. 23. Barcarole, arv_14  24. Storie Di Tutti I Gironi (Dromen zijn bedrog) 25. Buona Sera 26. Buona Notte Bambino 27. Marina 28. Maastricht Anthem, arv_09 29. Maastricht, City Of Jolly Singers 30. Volare 31. Adieu, Little Captain Of My Heart 32. Marina.


►CD Tracklisting:
1. O sole mio 2. Volare 3. Les Gondoles à Venise 4. Bella Tarantella 5. Santa Lucia 6. Azzurro 7. Love in Venice 8. Mama 9. La Gondola 10. La Danza 11. Maria, Mari 12. Tiritomba 13. Lagunenwalzer 14. That's Amore 15. Vieni sul Mar 16. Serenata, Toselli 17. Barcarole
18. Buona Notte Bambino

Oct 22, 2014

Three More of Our Earliest André Rieu Fans






Cathy Camarda, Boston, Massachusetts

I saw Andre for the first time on PBS one Saturday morning in 1997. I thought WOW, this guy is nice looking and I love the music too!! I knew in advance he was coming to Boston PBS station to promote his upcoming Boston concert since I was a volunteer at the station and I was able to be there that night. 

I know that many fans always want something from celebrities. So I thought instead, I would bring him a present! I wanted something that would remind him of his trip to Boston, so I brought him a print of a painting that hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts called Boston Common at Twilight (photo attached). I put it in an 8x12 frame and I took it with me to the studio.

When he arrived, I said Hello and he said Hello and when I had an opportunity during a break I said to him: "I have something I think you will like" and he said: "You do???".  And I showed him the picture. He immediately took it from my hands and while he was intently looking at it I explained that it was a picture of Boston Common where Strauss held his first American concert. He said: "Yes, it was called the $100,000 concert because 100,000 people attended and they paid $1 to attend".

He thanked me and I asked him if he wanted me to put

it in the green room and he said yes since he had to go back on air. I took it back there and placed it right on his violin case.

He stayed at the studio for 3 hours. At the end of the evening he brought along programs that he signed for all the volunteers and in mine he wrote "To Cathy, thank you for the picture". I asked if I could take a picture with him and he said yes. I have attached the photo (in a frame).

That was the first time and I had spoken with him, there were other times and with a picture taken, but that's story for another time!




Inge Cosette, from Germany, lives in Montréal, Canada

When did I meet André for the first time? I was in Baden-Baden (Germany). My mother was dying and my friend invited me on a Sunday afternoon in May 1997 for coffee, she said I would have to see that André Rieu. All of Germany would stand on its head because of him. He was at the time on TV every 4 weeks and I watched with her.

What impressed me most, was that he played finally something for my age group and music I loved since I was a child and my mother took me to the first Operetta "Land of smiles" from Léhar. I also liked that he was good looking and his whole ambiance. He was then still a little shy. After I buried my mother I went back to Canada and saw him advertised for Montréal. My daughter was supposed to get tickets and she forgot. When she finally went, it was sold out. It was his first concert here because Quebecers love Johann Strauss and all the Viennese music, so he was a hit with the French Canadians right away.

From then on I booked my flights around open air concerts in Germany and also through PBS here we got tickets in Montréal. At the beginning he came every 2 years and then every year until 2011. After that PBS forgot about him. I think it had something to do with the Gold Membership. Before they always said that he was their biggest money maker. That station is strictly dependent on donations.

I have never been photographed with André, but I took my first picture from him in 2OO2 at a music store here in Montréal, where he signed books, CDs and whatever people put under his pen. For me it was the book from Marjorie. Later, when I sent pictures to the lady that was in charge of the tickets from Mountain PBS, (Television Station) to show her what I did in miniature, she never said a word. Then one day I got a call from Paul Larson who interviewed André in Maastricht and he told me he had a surprise for me, he wanted to come and film my Mini JSO. I said yes and he brought me an Album from André signed. 




Virginia Baker, Portland, Maine


One night in 1995 I turned on the TV and there he was playing "Meditation". It was a close up of his face and I went... "who is that." I was mesmerized. The next morning I went to the largest music store in New York and liking to do things myself I looked under Andre Rieu, JSO, European Orchestras, etc. before I finally broke down and went to the clerk. He said: "Yes, look under violin". And there it was. From Holland with Love! In another record store I found the VHS tape. I was obsessed. There was a woman named Julia who started a site which she eventually gave up. But I followed that.

In 1997 André made his first tour of North America. He was not coming near me in NYC, so I went to Montreal, Canada. My niece was going to college at McGill in Montreal. As in the USA, there was nothing anywhere announcing that he was coming. I called the booking office in Montreal and was assured he was coming. Sent my niece to the box office early and she said there was no sign anywhere, but there were some "old ladies" standing there. She got front row tickets and was worried that it would be a show for elderly people. Nothing showed up in print anywhere, but the arena was fairly full. There was a review the next day in the paper. I don't know if it was that one, or another one where it said, "The women's dresses were a cross of Cinderella and Salome." (Remember these were the first ones). It was essentially the "From Holland with Love" concert.

Since 1997 I have been to at least one concert every year, sometimes more, but I lost count. I only went to one Meet and Greet in Manchester, NH. I guess by now I have spoken to just about every orchestra member. Had a long conversation with Frank at a concert in NH. Some years I go only once because there is nothing near us and can't keep spending to travel.

I have been to Maastricht 5 or 6 times, can't even remember. Stayed at a little hotel down the street from the square, same room every year except this year because I had my niece with me and needed a larger room. My neighbors in NYC heard me the day I got the first CD playing it over and over and two came to my door: "What is that music?" And that got them started. We went together a few times in NY.

Worst moment: Standing in the basement of the hotel in Toronto (Canada) in a too-tight bathing suit waiting for the elevator. The door opened and ... yes, there he was). And so it continues ...

Oct 4, 2014

From The Limburger today ~ Translation by John

André Rieu (65) Finally AOW (old age pension)


André Rieu (65) Finally AOW (old age pension)
 
On the eve of a concert tour and the release of his new album "Love in Venice" André Rieu is celebrating his 65th anniversary. "Finally AOW (old age pension), finally out of the financial worries." At the invitation of the violinist/conductor, the European press went en masse to Limburg.

The waltz may have somewhat a stuffy image, but I am not ashamed of it.

Missing is a Turk. "Where is he then? In Istanbul? "André Rieu inquires." And also an Argentinean? Oh well, we’ll forgive him."

The Limburger: More than sixty journalists and camera crews gathered together in André Rieu’s music studio in Maastricht. There the violinist and his Johann Strauss Orchestra play a few extracts from the new album "Love in Venice" which will be released November 3 worldwide, and of course is made of 24 carat Romanticism.

"O Sole Mio"," Serenata"," the Lagoon Waltz", That's amore ... gondolier Rieu takes his audience on an idyllic cruise through the Grand Canal, under the Bridge of Sighs, direction Dogan Palace. The maestro is bathed in a sea of flashes. He raises his hands to heaven and smiles benignly. Eyes twinkling behind the horn-rimmed glasses. The stand-alone violinist and conductor is visible in his element. "When I see a smile on the faces of my musicians, I know that we can go ahead and record," as he explains the process of intensive rehearsals to record a perfect recording. A German journalist writes this all down with his mouth wide open.

Hey, there's Pierre Rieu, Andrés son and Vice President of the Rieu organization. "At least, that's what my business card says, "he says laughingly." "I'm here to relieve my dad and that is necessary, since he was overworked. Now he takes his rests, jogs and trains in the weight room."

The Stalker
Whether Pierre, father of the twins Lieke and Linde (4), also watches his own condition? "We're going on tour to Brazil the day after tomorrow. But I can come back earlier to celebrate the twins’ birthday. That is possible since I know the boss very well. Incidentally, my father hates it that he will not be in the Netherlands then. He is crazy about his grandchildren, he’s a great grandfather. At home we call him 'the stalker'. If he finds the time, he comes over."

Pierre is delighted with his Dad’s Venetian adventure. "His Abba record from last year, following 40 years of Waterloo, somewhat affected him in a way. Fine album mind you, but "Love in Venice", that's my father."

After the studio session, the entire entourage travels to André Rieu’s castle at the foot of the Saint-Pietersberg. There is champagne, exquisite Italian pastries, Italian espresso and Italian ice cream cart. Extras in colorful Venetian carnival attire stroll across the inner courtyard.


In the extensive gardens, major German TV channels are waiting patiently for Rieu to come in front of the cameras and speak about "Eine Nacht in Venice – the new Album. The organization is perfect. The international media circus from Poland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austrians and Turkey (who just arrived) is split up in blocks split up so that Rieu can be asked questions about his Italian production. ("As is always the case with my wife Marjorie when she joins me on the couch) "'I still want to waltz all over the world, " he says." "The waltz may have a somewhat a stuffy image, but I'm not ashamed of it."

The 'King of the Waltz, "who broke through 20 years ago with the album "Strauss & Co.", has built a powerful empire with the sounds of his 1732 Stradivarius violin. He sold over 40 million albums, won 411 platinum and 100 gold records.

Ambition
With his concert tours - his next Dutch tours will bring him on the 13th (Ziggo Dome) and 14th of November (Ahoy) to the Netherlands - seems to be no end. In fact, when everyone was merrily waltzing on all continents, Rieu had his sights set at the North Pole and the moon. That ambition, to perform in cold regions, ended up in the refrigerator.

"My stadium tour with the completely copied Schönbrunn brought me to the brink of bankruptcy. Here, in this room, Rabobank wanted to pull the plug. "Well, I said there is no pulling the plug." But I realized that it was too big for me. It was in excesses which distracted from the music."

Making music is his passion and his life, the waltz interacts with his existence, but "I'd like to go into politics. To bring back respect for each other. Marjorie forbids me that. "I cannot keep my mouth shut," she says.

"What I am very concerned about right now, is the extinction of the elephant. There, I have to do something. It surely is inexcusable that I'm here to talking about it and not lend a hand. " ... Elephants? Suddenly in our minds we hear "The Elephant Song (1975)" by singer Kamahl. In three –quarter time, of course.


Translation by John

Oct 2, 2014

André Rieu ~ Emotions in The Editing Room

Searching For The Most Beautiful Emotions 
In The Editing Room
 
André Rieu records his concerts with twenty-seven television cameras. Thirteen of them are aimed at the Orchestra and fourteen of them permanently on his public. They are continually searching for the most emotional and romantic moments within the audience. A laugh, a tear ... Facial expressions are very important.

"You can create emotions," explains Rieu. "It takes days to view all those recordings, but it is quite fun to do. My wife Marjorie and I always slide together when we create a DVD and I have the best movie editor in the world." Since he also is a musician, he knows exactly when to cut the image. The recordings of an album can be quite costly. "Most orchestras record their instruments separately. We never do that. The entire orchestra gets together to record a piece in one setting. It is more expensive, but the sound is so much nicer."

Keyboard specialist Ward Vlasveld plays an important role in that. He is one of the veterans of The Johann Strauss Orchestra and sits in the studio's control room behind the mixing panel.
Translation by John

Oct 1, 2014

At Home André Rieu is Just Grandpa


Orchestra leader reveals new album "Love in Venice" in Maastricht to 75 journalists from 12 countries

At Home André is Just Plain Grandpa

André Rieu turns 65 today and it was 20 years ago that he broke through with "The Second Waltz". During an early birthday party for the international press in Maastricht he presented his new album "Love in Venice."

The Limburger/By Peter van de Berg: André Rieu does not have much time to reflect on his birthday today. After a quick toast in his private Maastricht studio with the Johann Strauss orchestra, the entourage departs for Brazil where in Sao Paulo nine concerts are planned. That was different last week when the stand-alone violinist was the focal point of interest during a party in the gardens of his castle "House the little Towers". No less than 75 journalists and camera crews from 12 different countries, even from Argentina, all came to the Netherlands to be present at the presentation of his new album "Love in Venice". And befitting a real world star, Rieu presented the launch of his new album in a grand style.

The Venetian carnival runs rampant within the walls of his domain, located on the eastern side of the St. Pietersberg. Extras in colorful traditional dress and with gleaming masks surround the "Kaiser" of the Waltz. He gives them a few small pointers as to how they need to stand for the photo sessions by the many photographers who jostle for the best possible picture.

Teun Ramaekers views the scene from a safe distance. "He just can’t leave it alone. Typical André. Always directing a tight ship," he says that with a smile. Flutist Ramaekers (60) from Maastricht has been part of the Johann Strauss Orchestra for 27 years. He has seen Rieu evolve into the most important musical export product of the Netherlands. "We studied together at the conservatory in Liège. I have been with the Johann Strauss Orchestra from the very beginning. André wanted to try something different and expand his Maastricht Salon Orchestra. I had a permanent position as professor on the conservatories in Eindhoven and Liège, which I gave up. André had an unshakable confidence that everything would turn out alright. The beginning was a huge adventure. Look where we are now. I have been extremely lucky." Ramaekers praises Rieu for realizing his dreams. He is really a special case. André has done everything himself and kept it in his own hands. He has never depended on anyone else." Mutual respect is the strength of Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra. "The enthusiasm one sees is not fake. We all profit from the success. That is why we work so darn hard" says Ramaekers.



Hence the reasons why all the orchestra members are present in the castle garden of their patron. Earlier that day they gave a preview of the new album in the studio, which incidentally will be released to the market on October 31st. Romantic melodies like "Azzuro" and "La Gondola". Rieu revealed some secrets of the costs of recording the CD and DVD, and afterwards the group departed in the luxurious orchestra busses for the ride to the orchestra leader’s residence.

"It is the first time that we address the introduction of a new album in Maastricht this way. Actually quite special," says son Pierre. "But at home André is just plain "Opa" (Grandpa) to his grandchildren. We do not emphasize the fact that he is famous." His fans do that. For the past twenty years, Rieu has performed almost everywhere. Last year he was in Turkey for the first time. This year in November there are two performances programmed. Hence the presence of a Turkish journalist from the paper "Hurriyet", along with promoter Selim Sefada". In 2013, ten thousand tickets were sold in no time at all. That is why we are doing an extra concert this year. Classical music is trendy in Turkey. Rieu is even loved in the Islamic culture. I think that music transcends every religion. He could therefore perform very well in Dubai or Abu Dhabi."

Back to the castle garden. In the meantime, he is steadily working the interviews with the international television teams. In the reception room of the castle the representatives of the press await their turn. Rieu knows that he owes everything to "the Second Waltz". "For years I had to peddle my music in Hilversum, no one wanted me. I picked up an album and heard "The Second Waltz." I added that one quickly to an album. If I had not done that, it would have turned out quite differently." Twenty years later, the record company "Universal" is very happy with the violinist. "It is not going to well with the companies, but I still have a contract with them, since my public still buys CD’s. They want to get their hands on a real CD."

Since André has turned 65 and is eligible for AOW (Old age Pension) that does not mean he is going to slow down. "My health is excellent. I changed my lifestyle. I do weightlifting, which helps me to stay fit. I divide my energy better. Normally I used to do all the promotion myself in all the countries. Now I bring everyone to Maastricht for a day. Moreover, I do not mind having the state pension benefits. Finally I no longer have to worry about money."

Thanks to John for this and the Translation

Sep 30, 2014

Happy 65th Birthday André!!

20 Years of Success Thanks To The Second Waltz
October 1, 2014-The Limburger: Today André Rieu celebrates his 65th birthday and 20 years ago he broke through internationally with "The Second Waltz." Reason enough for a party in the gardens of his castle "House the little Towers". Not only  a reason to look back at the success of the orchestra leader of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, but primarily a moment to reflect on the new album "Love in Venice."  For that 75 journalists and camera crews came from 12 different countries.

Sep 29, 2014

André Rieu sends his congratulations to George Clooney and his wife Amal who got married in Venice. 
He dedicates the title song of his new CD 'Love in Venice' to the newly weds. Click HERE To Watch

André Rieu "Money is not my motivation"

Waltz king André Rieu
 "Money is not my motivation"

Maastricht/Vienna (APA) - André Rieu is somewhat like the Woody Allen of Classical Business: Tirelessly the soon to be the 65-year-old publishes one CD after another and is just under a third of the year on tour with his Johann Strauss Orchestra. The latest album called "Love in Venice" will be released on October 31. And whoever would like to experience the waltz king in person has the chance on January 17th in Salzburg, Austria.

For this CD Rieu typically combines the genre of the great Italian hits of "O sole mio", "Volare" and "Azzurro", and arranges them just like the classics of the "Barcarole" by Offenbach. And of course Johann Strauss is also on board the musical gondola with the lagoon waltz. And finally this time Rieu recorded three of his own original compositions - "Love in Venice", "La Gondola" and "Bella Tarantella".

Shortly before his 65th birthday which will be on Wednesday (October 1) the chart favorite and for this special occasion gave an interview in his castle in Maastricht to Dutch journalist about the idea of retiring, the expressions and ideas of his orchestra musicians and his feeling when he plays "The Blue Danube Waltz" for the 3,000th time.

Question: From where does your style of romance come from? 
Rieu: I am often asked whether I would like to have lived in the time of Johann Strauss or in Vivaldi's time in Venice. The answer is no. I like to combine the romance of that time with todays. I'm totally crazy about iPhones and apps.

Question: What exactly is the secret of the typical Rieu sounds? 
Rieu: there are no tricks to that; my heart just tells me how to play those pieces. If Strauss would hear me somewhere on a cloud, I hope he is happy. When I'm on stage I try to interpret the music in all honesty. And thank God the works of Strauss are so awesome. At about every concert I play the "Blue Danube Waltz" - 100 times per year and have been doing so for 30 years. But it never bores me, because it's such a gorgeous piece.

Question: Given that your 65th birthday is forthcoming and to retire right now for you is not an issue? 
Rieu: I could not possibly imagine that! One only retires when one works. I do not work – I have fun. Of course sometimes it is exhausting, but when I'm with my orchestra, gives me incredible energy. It's like people who run a mom-and-pop store. They do not retire either, but go on and on. Okay - I have 100 people in my employ, which is more than at a Mom and Pop store of course. But this is my life. And when I no longer can go on, I will not go on any more- but it is not that close yet.

Question: In addition to so many mature fans you also have numerous young followers. How do you explain that? 
Rieu: This is, I think, because my music still has so much feeling. And children do not think, they feel. There still is a violin boom in all the music schools in Holland – of which I'm very proud.

Question: You are known at your concerts for the effects, the costumes and all the pomp. Was that concept one of your own ideas? 
Rieu: I developed that myself. I find classical orchestras sometimes to be a bit boring. When I sat there for the first time as a violinist, I immediately thought: here I do not want to become old and developed my own ideas for my own orchestra. Why are the beautiful ladies always dressed up in black and have a face as if they are dead already?! Why not bring a little happiness into your life? Because that is not only true in music. With more laughter in life there would be less war. The world is much too serious. I really mean that. I do not want to bring an even closer understanding of the classics to the great mass - that is not my message. I just want to make music my way and be happy on stage. That is what I like to radiate.

Question: How costly will the new tour be for the album "A Night in Venice"? 
Rieu: You know I once had Schönbrunn Palace copied and then I was broke. I was 34 million Euros in debt. But the bank let me go on, and the following year we had recovered our debt. But I promised my wife not to do something like that ever again. The current tour is now taking place with the full orchestra, choir, soloists, large LED screen and beautiful scenery. We play the most beautiful Italian melodies, but also have the Berlin Comedian Harmonists with us this time; we play many waltzes and melodies from opera, operetta, musicals and film. I do not build castles any more.

Question: For the last five years now, you have been dealing very proactive with your financial problems. Where does this frankness come from? 
Rieu: Why should I hide it? It is a part of life, and I do not see this as a failure. When you have a dream, you must follow it. And I'm not doing this for the money. Money is not what drives me; otherwise I would be selling oil pipelines, would be unknown, but much richer.

Question: You travel with your tours around the globe, but still live in your home town of Maastricht. From where do these home ties come from? 
Rieu: Maastricht is a beautiful city, and we have everything here. Here I can compose in peace. On the new album there are three of my compositions, which are all dedicated to Venice, including a tarantella. When my four year old granddaughter heard them for the first time, she shouted: "Pizza!!!" She immediately thought of Italy, which I thought to be a nice compliment. And my studio is located only a few minutes from my castle, which is a big advantage. As a child I always thought how fantastic it would be to have a castle - and here as a five year old, I received piano lessons. And then many years later when on a walk with my wife I said: "That castle I would like to have." She just answered: "But you still have to sell a couple more records." And that is what I did.


Thanks to John for the ©Translation 

Sep 27, 2014

Mirusia, the muse of André Rieu

Australian soprano experiencing nationwide premiere of her second solo show in Maastricht
"My Favorite Things"

Mirusia, the muse of André Rieu

The Limburger - Sept. 26: Mirusia Louwerse is on her own now. Tomorrow evening in the Theater on the Vrijthof will be her second nationwide premiere of her solo show "My Favorite Things". My career is like a fairy tale".

By Peter van de Berg: Eventually a day will come when André Rieu and his violin will be the special guest in her program. At least in Mirusia Louwerse’s dreams. It is a fervent wish of the Australian soprano who has Dutch roots. "I would really truly love to see that", she says with a smile. "André means so much to me. He is my mentor, a father figure. I always call him "Uncle André" and I am very thankful to him. He often gives me advice. When I am on stage with him, I am never nervous. Then I know everything is going to be alright."

Rieu’s muse, as she is described on billboards, does not hide the fact of her admiration for the orchestra leader. From 2007 until 2012 she toured with Rieu and his Johann Strauss orchestra all over the world. Currently Mirusia Louwerse (29) performs on her own and is no longer present at every Rieu concert. She again resides in Australia, where she is a world star, but also maintains a residence in Maastricht, where tomorrow the second national premiere of her solo show "My Favorite Things" will take place. "I enjoy coming to Maastricht. I can easily walk along and shop here without being pestered. I like that. I totally feel at home here."

Mirusia’s parents immigrated in 1980 to Brisbane. She was born in Australia and followed courses in classical singing at the Brisbane Conservatory. Through her Aunt Els from Vlissingen, the city where the family Louwerse originally hailed from, she became part of André Rieu’s organization. "My aunt had heard that André was looking for a soloist so she sent him an e-mail with my website. One day later in Australia, our phone rang; André Rieu wanted to speak with me. It was a complete surprise as I did not know anything about my aunt’s actions. Could I come to Maastricht? Which of course I did. We immediately clicked. A week later I returned to Australia with a Rieu contract in my pocket."

Mirusia Louwerse told me the story with sparkling eyes and an English accent. Even though she grew up "Down Under", she speaks very good Dutch. "My entire life I have been surrounded by people who speak Dutch. I learned English through music. As a toddler I came in contact with Australian children’s songs." Since her first performance with the world famous violinist’s orchestra, she speaks to the imagination of the fans. Mirusia Louwerse was immediately christened as "Rieu’s Angel." Her version of "Ave Maria" during the 2008 Vrijthof concerts has been viewed more than five million times on YouTube. She is quite impressed. "It seems like a fairy tale. I could never have dreamed that when I started singing - It is wonderful."

Her singing career started during her fourteenth year with country songs. They formed the basis for her current existence as a classical songstress. "I want to touch people with my songs, that is my goal. Talent shows have taught me how to stand on stage. My parents never forced me to choose music, I wanted that. I can still remember how often my Mom would have to call me for dinner when I was in my bedroom rehearsing songs."

British songstress Sarah Brightman is an inspiration. She combines pop songs tinged with operatic arias. Popera as Mirusia likes to call that. "Admittedly I am a soprano, but I do not like to sing opera pieces the entire evening. I find that boring. My show will have some pop music in its musical repertoire, a nice variation. I composed one song myself called "Journey", that is about sailing. On the water you are free. You can sing as loud as you like. Anyway, I love sailing, and in Brisbane I can do that to my heart’s content.Totally being yourself."

The youngest winner of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland Award (2006) will perform her second solo show accompanied by an orchestra and an Australian choir. "I am looking forward to the premiere. It is going to be a wonderful evening and I am very proud that I have been afforded this opportunity."

Translation by John

International Journalists Gather At Rieu's Castle

André Rieu's Venetian CD
The Limburger Sept. 26: It was a party with a Venetian  flair - the presentation of André Rieu's new CD. Roughly seventy journalists and camera teams from twelve different countries were present yesterday the entire day at his private studio, castle and in the garden of the famous orchestra leader, where "Love in Venice" was christened. The CD will be released at the end of October. In Wednesday's paper, the day that the Maastricht violinist will celebrate his 65th birthday, a  nice report of the gathering at André Rieu's.
(Thanks to John for the Translation)

Sep 19, 2014

Click HERE To Read a Nice Interview With Mirusia!
"I was launched from graduating at the Conservatorium 
to working on the world stage with a mega star. 
André became my mentor".

Sep 17, 2014

Two More Early André Rieu Fan Stories

Early André Fans
John and Bobbie - California USA

From John and Bobbie: Our first introduction to André Rieu was in early 1996 when we received André’s CD "André Rieu Live" from John’s cousin in the Netherlands. Shortly after receiving that first CD, we were channel surfing one evening and saw a PBS special featuring André and the JSO. We found his music to be very enjoyable and entertaining, and have been hooked from that time on. Since John, at that time was working in Las Vegas and only commuted home on weekends, he again found André on PBS there one evening, and only to find out that the previous weekend when John was home, André and the JSO had performed in Concord, California, not too far from where we still live. Had we known in advance, we could have made arrangement to attend his concert, but alas, it apparently was not in the cards. He also found out that André and the JSO had performed in the Los Angeles area a week or so earlier. One of John’s roommates, who travelled to Los Angeles on his days off, had brought in a full page add from a local Los Angeles newspaper.

Our first live André Rieu concert was in 2002 accompanied by John’s cousins who then lived in Columbus Ohio. What a wonderful experience. That was the concert where Suzan made her first solo appearance. (See Sonja’s story) We had chatted with some of the JSO members and other crewmembers after the concert but did not meet André until a few years later. Although we were at the same concert, we did not know Sonja at that time, but made contact with her shortly afterwards when we had returned back to Nebraska where we were living at that time due to John’s job. Our next concert was two years later, 2004, in Indianapolis with friends from a little place just outside Cincinnati, and that too was another great experience. There we finally met Sonja, Sigrun from Germany, and Kirsten, André’s spokesperson. After the concert, we finally did meet André for a real short time, long enough for an autograph, and chatted with some of the JSO members, who all were very friendly and cordial. In between live concerts we have enjoyed many André Rieu PBS specials on TV.

2005 was a busy concert year for us, when we attended three concerts. Our first concert that year was in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was marvelous. André put on a great performance and managed to have great audience participation. The day after the Cincinnati concert, we attended what we would consider the "Very first André fans picnic", organized by Sonja, in a park just outside her home. It was great meeting fans from previous concerts and new fans and enjoying their experiences. July brought us to the Netherlands for our second concert and the very first André concert on the Vrijthof. With John’s sister we attended the very first fan’s dinner and the fan’s picnic in the Maastricht City Park. We enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Maastricht. André out did himself. His Maastricht concerts were and still are unbelievable; a very memorable experience that will not be soon forgotten. Our third concert was closer to home in Fresno, when André toured the Western United States, and was attended with family and friends.

Our next André meeting was totally unexpected and unplanned. André was again touring the Western US, and performing this time in San José California. Since we had established a friendship with Sigrun from Germany, she was to spend some time with us, but before she would be coming to us, she was staying with friends in the San José area and would also be attending André’s concert. She was to ride back with us to our home after the concert. While discussing a place to meet, since we had not purchased tickets for André’s concert, we decided to attend, so a frantic search for tickets was started. Only to be told that the entire venue was sold out. Every seat had been bought by PBS supporters. Somehow we managed a couple of tickets through the internet and enjoyed, although a little from afar, (we were sitting almost in the rafters) a wonderful concert. We were to meet Sigrun at the North entrance of the arena after the concert, and on our way out happened to see Dan "the Banner Man" and his wife Alice in the center of the Arena. Having met them previously in Maastricht we thought it would be nice to say "hallo" so down we went to meet with them. While chatting, someone, we assume from the TV station came by and ushered us all into a room for the "Meet and Greet". (A program established by PBS whereby fans could meet and chat with André for a nominal pledge/fee of course). 

While chatting with Kirsten, she excused herself and announced that André was on his way in. Imagine our surprise when André and several photographers walked in and he came straight towards us saying: "I want a picture with these folks". You could have blown us over with a feather. Next thing we knew there were cameras in our faces, and we wondered: "What had just happened?" Sorry to say the pictures were never posted on André’s site, but he still does whenever he and the JSO are on tour. It was an experience we still to this day talk about. We did feel a little out of place at that "Meet and Greet" and therefore made an early and hastily departure to catch up with Sigrun who was wondering what had happened to us and where in the world did we run off to.

2007 was another great year for André concerts. There were the Vrijthof concerts, the "Fairytale" concert in the Efteling in the Netherlands as well as André’s premier "Schönbrunn" Castle concert in Toronto. Also a concert never to be forgotten and a place where we had lots of fun with the JSO members as well as other fans 

In the past almost eighteen years we attended many concerts, including all the Vrijthof concerts so far every year. In 2007 John was asked to work with Sue on the Harmony Parlor, which he gladly accepted and has been busy with that ever since. In addition he also helps Ruud and Ineke with their translations on the André Rieu Movies site on a regular basis, and has assisted Sonja with her "Translations site" prior to 2007. It is through André’s music, that we have met some very nice people who have the same love for his music as we do, and many friendships have flourished and are ongoing. During our travels chasing André around the world, e.g. Australia, Canada and a couple of European countries, we have accumulated a few "High Fives" from him and amassed a nice collection of his CD’s and DVD’s which we play and/or watch frequently. John and Bobbie


Alice Leung Hails from Hong Kong 
Now lives in Vancouver, Canada


From Alice: The year was 1985 when Andre’s music first invaded our house in Hong Kong. My brother went to a "Hi-Fi" store and the sales guy told him about this nice black vinyl which he just got in, very nice music, and from then on, it was my family’s most favorite album. It was the "Serenata" of Andre Rieu and the Maastricht Salon Orchestra, but we‘ve always called it "The Little Bird" album. We also bought the CD to be able to play it everywhere, including our car, we recorded it on a cassette tape as well. The first factory-installed in-dash CD player was introduced in 1985, we did not own a car with that luxury back then, but we had a house in the suburbs and my brother would always turn the volume nice and loud, so the little bird’s singing kind of blended with the trees and flowers in our garden. My father took some "audioless 8mm home movies" before I was born, so when we played the movie I always played the Serenata to go with it. We had records of Paul Mauriat, Mantovani, Percy Faith etc. etc. but only the Little Bird’s music would give that special touch to our home movies. I have photographic memories seeing my grandmother in the black and white movie with Gold and Silver as background music, and my eldest brother playing happily with some battery-operated chicken when he was a kid with Bummelpetrus in the background. He’s now 60. 

My grandmother passed away before we immigrated to Canada, we couldn’t bring her along, but we brought the Little Bird to Vancouver in 1990. With digital technology I brought our 8mm tapes to a professional shop to have the movies converted to DVDs. The guy told me he could add music to it, I thought "Oh! Nice!", but the music he had on the DVD was just not right, it totally spoiled the mood when watching our precious memories, so, I have the DVD "mute" , play our lovely Little Bird and we’re all good again. Although we had our first CD (black vinyl record) of Andre as early as 1985, the most precious one in our family, we didn't even know what he looked like until much later...what a waste of my life!! Interesting, wasn't it? Maastricht...which sounded like a complete stranger to us... was already in Hong Kong... long long ago!! Who would have known, including Andre himself, that he'd be soooo popular now, that people from around the world visit Maastricht because of HIM!


Several years went by. Suddenly, one evening in Sep 2006 my father was watching TV, flipping channels and there was some very nice music but it wasn't until I heard Toselli’s Serenade that I ran out from my bedroom and asked "Who’s playing?" My goodness!! The charming violinist, gorgeous cellist (Tanja), and the whole beautiful orchestra! A scene which didn’t seem to belong to the real world. Instantly I googled Andre Rieu, bought our first Vancouver concert tickets in 2006, ordered my Homecoming DVD (the first Maastricht concert 2005), googled this, googled that, totally obsessed, got my personalized license plate A RIEU in 2007, and ordered more items from Andre’s web boutique, including My Music, My Life, written by Marjorie. I got chills and almost a heart attack as I was reading the book, I looked at the back cover of our Serenata (The Little Bird) and it says "Andre Rieu & the Maastricht Salon Orchestra"….WHAT??? Didn’t know we had HIM all along!! While my brother might have known and remembered the name on the CD, I wasn’t familiar with conductors’ name, and Maastricht??? Not even English… never heard of it… Music this good we just didn’t even think the musicians were still alive.

As I was reading the book further, I literally cried when I read about the difficult times that Andre and Marjorie had to overcome in the early years, and how the Serenata became a huge success was especially touching, I felt the Rieu family was like our long-lost friend…or no, they’re more like a family….except they don’t know us. Imagine Marc and Pierre were just a few years old when we played his dad’s music! And now the boys are all grown up and so talented!

As soon as I started my Google, I found so much info in Sonja’s translations website, I read the inspired fans stories, and was amazed in the tremendous effort put in to help promote Andre in the States, how they wanted him to come back every year….As for me, having missed so many years of watching Andre’s beautiful concerts, I had a lot to catch up…spent most of my spare savings on Andre’s DVDs, fans products, and a few trips to see Andre out-of-town, something we had never done before in our whole lives, and of course kept myself busy checking out more info in Sonja’s website and Ineke’s movies website. Since 2008 I created my first paper flags for the Maastricht fan dinners and in 2009 our entire family (my parents and my sister and brother in law from Hong Kong) traveled to Maastricht to attend the hometown concerts and fan events. If you like to watch our fun video, click HERE

Sep 10, 2014

Rieu Gives Violin Lessons To a Sprookjesboom Cast Member

Rieu to Give Violin Lessons To a Sprookjesboom Cast Member
 (Fairy tale tree) 

September 2, 2014: This morning, Andre Rieu received a real very special guest in his music studio. He provided a private violin workshop for Wolf who will start playing the violin on 27 September 2014 in the new Sprookjesboom (Fairytale tree) musical. The premiere is getting closer so a violin lesson from a professional came in handy. "I really never give violin lessons, but Wolf had asked me so sweetly that I gave in just for once." And I must say: "He has a lot of talent! If he really practices a lot, he'll become a very famous violinist," according to Rieu.
Thanks to John for the Translation

Sep 9, 2014

Our Earliest André Rieu Fans - Part ll

Ruud and Ineke
From Holland

Since her earliest days she has been familiar with the German and Austrian operatic music because her mother was often singing operatic arias while doing the dishes. And she and Ruud have known André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra since the beginning (1990).

From Ineke: Ruud and I attended a concert in the 90's in a small theater in the Netherlands. At that time André performed mainly in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany. After his big breakthrough in the Netherlands in 1995 (soccer match Ajax (Holland) – Bayern- Munich (Germany)) the floodgates opened. I remember that we attended a concert in which Suzan Erens was the soloist for the first time - but I cannot remember which year that was.

André performed abroad very often (he was even more famous in Germany and Belgium than in the Netherlands) and suddenly we were aware that he had returned to the Netherlands in 2004 with a big show in the Roda Stadium in Kerkrade (DVD The Flying Dutchman). That signaled the moment for us to buy tickets again. There we met our first fan friends in person: Gemma and Nand from Belgium and a couple of Dutch fans. Because Facebook did not yet exist, the fans found each other through Sonja's guest book and website. We were slow starters. We had not been alert enough to buy tickets in time, so we were on the field far from the stage, but we could follow the concert on the big screens and the show was breathtaking. It was freezing cold but I'll never forget that concert!

Approaching the stadium I remember that we saw horse trailers outside on the parking lot and we wondered: ‘What is going to happen here?’ Before the concert started, a soccer player walked onto the stage and asked the audience: "What are you doing here? I'd like to do my training exercises." Well, that was not possible of course and then he said: "Well since I am here now, I'll teach you the "wave" as we do in soccer stadiums." It was very entertaining. We did not know yet that we had to use the wave techniques in the concert!! (Snow Waltz). André played for 4 hours, including his American tour repertoire with a country medley. Little Akim was there, white doves, the gurgling, the horses, Irish John Sheahan, German Otto Waalkes, Marcel Falize and his three young sons ... We had so much fun. We saw people happily waltzing in the smelly puddles and droppings which the horses had left behind! So please don't complain if you get wet during a concert, or covered with fake snow, confetti or whatever, because it could be worse!! We’d never laughed so much and had never experienced such a concert before! It blew us away. So special, we had the time of our lives. We were hooked and fans forever.

Gerd Leers, mayor of Maastricht was in the audience and he said to André: "You cannot perform in Kerkrade (a rival Limburg city) and not in Maastricht, because you are a Maastricht resident and Maastricht also has a soccer stadium...." Yes..... but that is not what André had in mind.... And if André has something in mind......pfooooh.... It had to be the Vrijthof in the center of the city!! To make a long story short: The next year the concert was in Maastricht on the Vrijthof square ...

Later on we noticed that we had missed Cortona in 2003, and that is what we regret most. Of course, we attended the first Maastricht concerts the following year and all those that followed during the next 9 years. It has become our primary hobby and holiday destination: By 2014 it has grown to include a fan website, three weeks in Maastricht, 8 concerts, thousands of international fan friends, fan dinners, fan picnics, fan events. It is amazing!


We have attended countless concerts with fan friends all over the world: in several European countries, Canada, USA and Australia. Also, of course, the "Specials" in Toronto, Heidelberg, Mainau and Vienna, which were unforgettable.

And ... most importantly: since we were not "real" classical music lovers, we learned a lot about classical music! André taught us the meaning of several arias from operettas, names of composers, and so on.

By 2007 Sonja had become too busy to continue with her translations website. We discussed it in Maastricht where we all met each other. There the idea was born that Sonja would keep the Translations website dormant to save all the information (www.andrerieutranslations.com), while Sue Berry and John de Jong would continue Sonja's guest book and start the blog ‘Harmony Parlor’ (which developed into an entire website by itself). When Facebook became popular, Sue created the Harmony Parlor group on Facebook in 2010, which currently boasts over 4000 members and the lively discussions moved from the website guest books to Facebook.

Ruud and I started the Movies fan website in 2007 with the idea of posting mainly video clips, TV programs and interviews. In the meantime we have posted over 500 videos on our movies website. To this very day, the movies website (from Holland) and the Harmony Parlor (from California, USA) still work happily together. Sonja and John who were born in the Netherlands and Entia from South Africa assist us with English translations, so we are a great team. Read the "History of the fan websites" on http://www.andrerieumovies.com/Historyfanwebsites.html


Ruud and I have never been to Meet and Greets, nor did we purchase expensive travel packages and we have never met André in person. We are proud of the few high-fives which we have received in the aisles and my first photo with André was a coincidence in the CinemaLive broadcast of Maastricht 2012 in Heerlen. We went to Heerlen with a few Dutch fan friends, for a weekend in Christmas atmosphere and we were about to leave the cinema after the movie had finished. Then... André came downstairs – there were not many people around – and we asked for a picture with him. Johan, his body guard, took the picture. So this is my one and only trophy with André and I am very proud of it! We did not exchange two words and I don't know whether André knows me, but I am especially happy with this photo because it was a spontaneous picture and not a forced and expensive "Meet and Greet" photo  ... Ineke



Han Scheuerman
Florist who Resides in Maastricht

From Han: Thirty years have passed since André gave his first concerts in the Staar gebouw (building where the male choir "Maastrichter Staar" is rehearsing) in Maastricht during the Hieringebiete (annual carnival). By that time we had already had our flower shop in the suburb of St. Peter for many years. The bouquets that were offered after André Rieu's performances were ordered from us. Towards the end of the concerts we would be in the wings with the flowers ready.

At that stage there was always a very pleasant atmosphere - not only in the hall, but also amongst the musicians. That became the basis for a healthy interest in the Rieu phenomenon! It has been quite fascinating to watch from such close quarters how André and the JSO conquered the world - from so small to so huge. 

From a business point of view we have always been involved with the Rieu Company. Particularly since the family moved to our suburb, St. Peter. We were familiar with the interior of their house as before them the house was inhabited by Jesuits. And because we used to decorate the crucifix at the corner of their house with a floral garland on Good Friday, we were invariably invited for coffee with an Easter egg.

The tradition of the garland of flowers still exists! Because we live in the same neighborhood we have regularly shared activities with Rieu; for instance, the Orchestra rehearsed in the gym across from our business. I often slipped inside to quietly enjoy the music in the corridor. The beautiful sounds often drove me to tears, with no one around me. But they were still a long way from the great success they are today.

To this day, I follow all their activities, including all interviews recorded around the world. I feel privileged to have been invited – along with my grandson Jamie – to the Castle for the recording of André’s Christmas special as a result of this connection. In those 5 days I experienced how closely the family worked together on this huge undertaking - Marjorie and Pierre have also left their mark on it. It was conceived, directed and edited frame by frame until it was merged into the sublime result, frame by frame. Only the best is acceptable.

(translation by Entia)

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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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