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Apr 23, 2015

Rieu To Be Namesake For Prize Offered by Amikejo

Rieu To Be Namesake For Prize Offered by Amikejo

André Rieu has attached his name to a new encouragement prize which will be offered by the youth symphony orchestra "Amikejo"

It is the first time that the conductor has attached his name to an award. Every year the André Rieu incentive award will be presented to Euro-regional musical talents in the categories of strings, wind instruments an percussion. The jury, which will determine the winners, consists of Mark Prills, conductor of Amikejo, Ruud Merx and Franks Steijn, musicians from the Johan Strauss orchestra and Tom Berghmans, member on the board of the LSJO.

The talents, between the ages of 10 and 23 will be assessed by the jury in three components: Passion and Enthusiasm, Talent and being an ambassador for out-of-the-box thinking. In addition to a certificate, the winners will also receive an amount of money which they can invest in their own musical career.

The André Rieu incentive award will be presented for the first time on Sunday, April 26

Thanks to John for the Translation

Apr 14, 2015

Additional Vrijthof Concert

André has just added another day to his Vrijthof concert series. Additional concert will take place on Thursday July 9, 2015 ... Concert starts at 21:00 hours. (9:ooPM) Official tickets on sale now. For those who are interested in purchasing tickets, we wish you the best of luck.
  

Apr 7, 2015

Ruud Merx - Searching For Roots in Limburg

Searching For Roots in Limburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to John for the English Translation

Mar 31, 2015

Folk Music Star Karl Moik Dead at 76

The Austrian presenter and entertainer Karl Moik died in a hospital in Salzburg. He was treated there for several weeks due to kidney problems. Moik was 76 years old.

From André Rieu - "Karl was a wonderful artist, a great moderator and a good friend to whom I owe a lot. I thank him for great moments".

Mar 27, 2015

From André Rieu's Facebook: Today is ► Vereniging Keep Them Rolling's 'The Final Push' in Holland. A beautiful tradition to keep the memory alive of what the allies did for us, so that we can live in freedom now! I am so proud that my son Pierre joins me in memorizing these heroes. Tonight my Veterans concert will be broadcasted on Dutch TV. More info can be found at: ► www.avrotros.nl/andrerieu

(Friday - March 27, 2015)

Mar 25, 2015

A long time André fan and friend to so many of us, George Harper, has passed away today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Sue and their family ... be in peace now George.

Feb 14, 2015

André Rieu is the most romantic man of The Netherlands

Thanks to Ineke for sending the newspaper clipping from the Telegraaf.

Feb 10, 2015

André Rieu Musician or Mountebank?

André Rieu Musician or Mountebank?
 
Martin Buzacott - He's a byword for kitsch, a shibboleth among the classical cognoscenti, but André Rieu is also one of those rare classical musician who can fill stadiums and reach an entirely new audience. Is he just a musical showman, or are we underestimating him? From Australia, Martin Buzacott explores the phenomenon that is André Rieu.


Thanks to Ineke for sending this

Feb 8, 2015

André Rieu earns more than ever before

Castle Out of The Scaffolding
André Rieu earns more than ever before

From Weekend January 2015, by: Boris van Zonneveld
Expensive restoration completed. A few years ago André Rieu avoided total bankruptcy, but now he is back fiddling in full swing. The gains of the Maastricht Waltz King have increased to roughly six million a year. That makes him one of the top earners in the Dutch showbiz. Nevertheless, sacrifices had to also be made. A portion of those millions was used to renovate his castle "Huis, de Torentjes" (House, the small Turrets) on a grand scale. Now it looks more attractive than ever.

More now than ever before André Rieu is the pride of the Netherlands in the music world. His agenda for 2015 is filled to the top with performances in places like Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, and Germany and of course he is not likely to forget the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Every year from all over the world, half a million people visit Rieu’s concerts there. So his concerts can be placed on the same level as those from big pop stars such as Elton John, Barbara Streisand, and teenage idol Justin Bieber.

And financially André Rieu is better off now. That was sorely needed, because six years ago he was on the brink of total bankruptcy. He had to borrow 34million Euros to stay afloat, mortgaging everything he owned in his business to the bank, including his very expensive Stradivarius and his name. With the repayment of his million Euros debt, all is well now, and since after he reorganized his company for the better, the violinist earns more now than ever before. He recently published his earnings for 2013, and that revealed a large profit of 5.7 million Euros. The year prior to 2013 his profits were 5 million Euros and the year prior to that 3.3 million. He has never earned more and to think this is all clear profit, even after paying all the taxes. To achieve this, Rieu really had to cut costs. So in the last few years he had to say good-bye to 21 employees, shrinking his workforce in three years from 115 to 94.

His Own Little Neighborhood

Previously the star violinist had a hand in doing the craziest things. For his performances in Europe an entourage of thirteen fully filled freight trucks followed him of which three hauled only the chandeliers and carpets. That was so as to create the proper ambiance in the concert halls. During his tour through America, a bus laden with only fitness equipment rode along. He also copied the Viennese castle "Schönbrunn. The dragging along of all those items not directly related to his music, took huge amounts of money, but that did not keep the violinist awake at night, because he never did it for the money. Under pressure from the impending bankruptcy, another critical look was taken at the spending pattern of the violinist and choices had to be made. The Rieu caravan primarily travelled around the world on borrowed money, and with the last one, he and his wife Marjorie financed that one with all their private possessions. They were buried under a mortgage of millions. He borrowed 2.5 million to build a new studio, and around his castle "de Torentjes" in Maastricht he purchased numerous building so as to create his own little neighborhood, including homes for his two sons.

 Now that the last few years’ business has again been profitable, and Rieu is earning millions like water, money also became available for his greatest possession, his castle, for a drastic renovation. That is very necessary every few years since "Huis, de Torentjes" is almost 500 years old. It dates back to 1526. Up to the square tower on top of the roof, the castle was encased in scaffolding. A few years ago they discovered that part of the St. Peter’s mountain, where Rieu resides, was at one time part of the sandstone pits. During sewer works on André’s street, remnants of a tunnel and railway tracks, an underground sandstone wall, a gutter, building components and two fragments of a gravestone from 1734 were found.

Vomiting Sounds

In 2015 the castle again appears in a spick and span condition, fully restored to its former glory. Since the castle is a monument, all the old details must be maintained every hundred years or so, thereby not changing the outer appearance. Of course this was taken into account with this large scale renovation. It is expected that the millions will continue to flood into Rieu’s company for the next several years. And then to think that in the beginning of his career it took him years to land a record contract. The young André was successful and performed mostly in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, but no one wanted to release his music. "It took me seven years to land a record deal" he once said. The first record boss with whom he had an appointment, asked him; "What do you play? Waltzes? Then he made a sound as if he had to vomit. He really did that" André told. But I kept going back to the record companies and after seven years, someone finally listened. The last record boss saw something good there, since in the meantime André Rieu has sold over thirty million records and DVD’s worldwide. 

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John’s ©translation 

Feb 5, 2015

Highest Carnival Award for André Rieu

Highest Carnival Award for André Rieu

Maastricht Feb. 5, 2015: A new - and at the same time a very high award from the Tempeleers - has been awarded to André Rieu on Thursday morning. 't Joonk Leech,( New or young Light) is what this jewel is called, and dates from an ancient tradition of the Momus Society, the forerunner of today's Maastricht carnival.

The comparison with the Trichter, granted by the municipality of Maastricht to individuals or institutions on social or cultural areas of particular value to the capital of Limburg, can safely be made.

With son Pierre in attendance, a contingent of Tempeleers, Garderizzjemint, Kachelpiepers (Stove Pipes) and a battery of photographers and film crews, all watched as Prince Odin hung  the decoration around the neck of the most famous Maastricht Citizen ever. Prior to that official moment, Tempeleer president Henk de Jong read André Rieu's merits. A long list of special performances and moments.

Rieu, who together with the Johann Strauss Orchestra, is ready to depart for Berlin, told the audience that as a Mestreechter citizen he was very delighted with 't Joonk Leech award. He once again emphysised the point that music brings people together. "You see that during my concerts, but just as well as with carnival." He added: "You can very easily compare one of our concerts with one of the basic principles of carnival. During both events, there are no ranks or classes. Everyone is equal and together everyone is enjoying the event"...

"It Joonk Leech" was the highest distinction during the Momus reign. At that time the Momus members maintained close ties with the Jesters Academy in Dülken, Germany, and the Momus Society incorporated
a variety of the Academy's symbols."

Thanks to John for the Translation

Jan 30, 2015

High Carnival Award For Rieu

High Carnival Award For André Rieu

 The Limburger: André Rieu is to receive 'T JOONK LEECH (a New Light) award, which is the highest award of the Maastricht Carnival Organization, "De Tempeleers" . This will be the first time that "De Tempeleers" will award this jewel. "t Joonk Leech" dates back to the time of the Momus-society, the forerunner of the urban carnival club. The award, a golden crescent moon, originated in the jesters academy in the German city of Dülken, with which the Momus maintained close ties. 

Rieu will receive the award for his services to Maastricht, its culture and the Maastricht Carnival (Mestreechter Vastelaovond), and in the case of the conductor, particularly in he field of music.

Thanks to John for the Translation

Jan 27, 2015

André Rieu - Holocaust Memorial Day

Today on Holocaust Memorial Day I'd like to commemorate my wife's relatives who died in concentration camps and all the victims of Auschwitz. Let's all make sure this will never happen again ... André Rieu

Jan 26, 2015

André Rieu: Love, Italy and a Holiday on Lake Garda

Interview With André Rieu
About Love, Italy and a Holiday on Lake Garda

Interview by Schlager, Germany: The great virtuoso André Rieu fills all the stages in the world and is currently on his great European tour in Germany until March and allowed us a brief interview in between concerts.

Dear Mr. Rieu, we are very pleased that you took the time out to speak with us and give us an insight into your relationship with Italy. Your new album is called "A Night in Venice". What would you do if you only had one night in Venice?
What would I do? ... I think everything that is romantic. Gondola ride, sitting on the Piazza San Marco - simply wandering along, strolling over the many bridges, admiring the buildings and just let me do my thing. And hope I would meet Commissario Brunetti somewhere and have a glass of wine with him! (laughs)

You are a Donna Leon fan? *** Oh yes, very much so. Marjorie and I never miss an episode.

You wrote the theme song for Donna Leon and there are also three original compositions by you on your new album, all of which are dedicated to Venice ...
Exactly. The Gondola waltz, a tarantella and really important song on the new album for me: Love in Venice.

The song "Love in Venice" you dedicated that on Face Book and YouTube to George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin ...
Yes! We had just finished that when the two got married. I wish them both all the best and hope it brings them happiness. My wife finds that the most romantic thing I've ever composed. We've been married 39 years, and I think we've done everything right together. Maybe they'll do that too, I hope so. (laughs)

What is so special in the composition "Love in Venice"?
I usually play my Stradivarius, but for "Love in Venice" I looked for a violin with a different sound. It should be softer, "more lovingly". I have tried many violins and found a really beautiful, very gentle one that fit perfectly for the piece.

What role does composing play in your life?
Mozart composed with his left hand and at the same time played billiards with his right, drank and made love. So that does not work for me. It is not easy to find time for that, because I often am on stage and we are constantly traveling. I compose together with my first violinist Frank Steijns, who is also an excellent pianist. The idea for "Bella Tarantella" came to me, for example, when I was with Frank in a taxi in Santiago, Chile. Suddenly there it was. That was a wonderful moment!


Could you have ever imagined not playing the violin, but another instrument?
My father was a conductor, and gave me my first violin at age five. I immediately felt that this instrument is like a voice. You can feel its vibration while you play. A piano is also a fantastic instrument, but there is no direct contact with the body. The violin, in this respect is unique in the world; it is very close to you. And that's what I like about it.

That sounds like a love relationship ...
Yes, that's right. When you spend hours each day with an instrument, you must love it. Otherwise it becomes anguish.

There can be no love without broken hearts. Could heartache also be found in your music?
I think that sadness and love belong together, like sadness and joy. I do not think that there can be love without heartache. They belong together. If I love a person, it is for 100 percent. But you can also find heartache in my music.

Azzurro, Volare, That's Amore, O sole mio ... many songs on the new album are about yearnings.
Precisely and about romance. The song, "La Gondola", for example is very melancholy. In every waltz by Johann Strauss you will find joy, love and grief, like in the "Lagoon Waltz." And you also find it in literature. Look at one of the most famous books by Thomas Mann "Death in Venice". Venice is actually an epitome of beauty and romance - but also of transiency - actually a little more opposed to the other cities of Italy.

Rome for instance?
Yes, Rome is quite different, but also fantastic. I could spend hours in the Coliseum – had I not become a musician, I would have been an architect.

Where does this love for Italy come from, so many Northern Europeans have it?
That is due to the sun and love. Marjorie and I both love the country very much; we are big fans of the Italian "way of life". Marjorie speaks perfect Italian, and we go there privately once a year for a week.

So we could find you during the summer at a campsite on Lake Garda?
Haha, no! We mostly travel to Rome and not during the main holiday season. Otherwise I could not move around undetected, that would not be a holiday for me.

In January and February 2015 you and your Johann Strauss Orchestra come to Germany, Austria and Switzerland for twenty concerts. What can the audience expect?
A completely new program with many Italian hits which will make our audience hopefully forget the winter, but also waltzes, operas, operettas and film music. Also the Berlin Comedian Harmonists are with us on the 2015 tour. And at the end we all have a big party. I'm really looking forward to all of it.

*** Donna Leon (aka Commissario Brunetti) is a German television series based on a series of crime novels set in Venice by Donna Leon. It has been produced since 2000 by the ARD in Germany. This TV series is also shown in Spain and in Finland by Yle. Music: André Rieu.
Thanks to Ineke for this German article and John for Translating it for us

Jan 18, 2015

André Rieu My family is The Center of My World


André Rieu
My family is the center of my world

He is the most famous Maastricht citizen on earth, sold forty million CDs worldwide, lives on top of the Sint-Petersberg in a castle, but André Rieu does not see himself as the Sun-King of Maastricht. "I want to make people happy especially with my music."

Nouveau Magazine - Interview by Marion Florusse: This coming summer, André Rieu will again change the Vrijthof into an open air concert hall in which thousands of people can enjoy his romantic concerts. The maestro, who since 2007 has been touring the world with an entourage of over one hundred personnel, still intensely rejoices himself about a new production. As a boy he fell in love with the waltz: light music for the experienced ears accustomed to the heavier works from the classical repertoire. But for him it was a revelation, which eventually would lead to world fame. Together with his wife, Marjorie, they live in "House the little Towers", a sixteenth century castle located on top of the Sint-Petersberg. Their sons Marc (1978) and Pierre (1981) live with their families on the estate and are employed with the Rieu firm. The Rieu firm is huge and for instance they bring their own catering business on tour with them, but also many decors to transform each location into a romantic place. To the public concerts of the passionate violinist and his Johann Strauss Orchestra are colorful musical tales.

As a child I already dreamed of making people happy with music

Soon you will be playing another home concert on the Vrijthof. How do you like being on that familiar place? "That is fantastic. We tour the entire year around the world and enjoy all the concerts, but on the Vrijthof in Maastricht we indeed play especially well. It is the most beautiful square I know. Really!! Where else can you find such a large square, surrounded by beautiful historical buildings, which does not have a public garden, statue or fountain in its center? Here thousands of people can enjoy my concert, and in turn my orchestra and I enjoy them of course".

How do you explain the enormous success of your musical formula, the Johann Strauss Orchestra, the music, the entourage? "I think that is because we ourselves have so much fun with the music and that radiates itself out. It seems to be contagious".

After his studies at the conservatory in Brussels, the violinist performed with the Limburg Salon Orchestra, but it was always a dream to make classical music attractive to the general public. Eventually he succeeded.

What was crucial for you to take that step? "At a certain point my wife told me: "Just leave that orchestra because you are very unhappy. You have a dream, make it a reality, so I will go and earn a living for a while." And that she did. By that time in my life I also realized that making choices was very important in order to be successful and happy. You can continue your entire live and complain that you are not happy. But you have to do something about that!"

In 1987 André Rieu founded the Johann Strauss orchestra. Initially it consisted of twelve members, but currently sometimes more than fifty members occupy the stage. In the birth year of the orchestra André and his wife started their own business: André Rieu Productions.

You live in a castle, are world renowned, wealthy and beloved. You feel that way too? Laughingly: "No, such aspirations I do not have. I am lucky if I can make the sun shine during the Vrijthof concerts. Ha, ha! Other than that, that equation is totally wrong!"

What were your dreams like when you were a little boy? "I always dreamed to make people happy with my music and I am very happy to have been able to make that dream a reality. When I see how the people enjoy our music evening after evening and how such joy and happiness exudes from the Vrijthof, then I am not only happy but also a little proud."

I enjoy my grandchildren tremendously, they are darlings, all four of them

What was your childhood like growing up in Limburg? "Everything at home revolved around music. My brothers, sisters and I all played several musical instruments, so it was somewhat of a mini-conservatory at home. When my mother was not playing the piano, my father was practicing scores. When we were dressing there was always a record being played. Classical of course, anything else did not exist in our home. We divided humanity into two categories: musicians and the rest. My father was the conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and every week all of us, my mother with six children, would go to his concerts. In addition, I along with my brother Robert spend our entire childhood in the St. Servaas choir."

What affected you in the music?
"The atmosphere which made the biggest impression on me and which definitely was the basis for my musical career, were the Midnight Masses on Christmas in the St. Servaas, which I found colossal as a choirboy. The church was then beautifully decorated with flowers, there were lots of candles, incense, a large nativity scene and the people sang Christmas carols with the choir .... Almost as beautiful as the Vrijthof concerts, ha, ha ... !!

Which music do you like to play in your spare time? "When I am not rehearsing, studying or recording a CD, I do not play music. I much rather play then with my grand-children."

What does Limburg, and in principle Maastricht mean to you? "I was born here and with the exception of my studies in Brussels, have lived here my entire life. Maastricht is a wonderful city, it has everything you need, but it is small enough that I can go by car from my house to my studio on the other side of town in five minutes—but don’t let the police know! Maastricht is also a beautiful city with beautiful historic buildings that define the appearance and atmosphere. I love old towns. Moreover, there is coziness, especially in the summer with all the cafe terraces on the Vrijthof."

What do you miss most of Maastricht when you are on tour? "My family first and foremost and everything else that I just mentioned."

The castle where you now live, was previously not a favorite place for you, what changed your feelings about "House the little Towers"? Since we have lived here, we have done many changes and restorations. It has become much lighter. Earlier it was dark and gloomy."

How is it to live in such a place? "Truly magnificent. It lies on the outskirts of the city, with the front facing the river Maas (Meuse). In the rear, our garden starts at the St.Petersberg. As far as I am concerned, no human being can live nicer than that. Is there a Hollywood boulevard that can top that?"

What does it mean for you that so many people have an uplifting experience when they attend a concert by you and your orchestra so that they speak of another life through this experience?  
"Is that a fact? I have actually never heard that before. But if they are happy with my music, I'm very happy of course."

What is the main driving force in your life? "The pleasures I and my orchestra have in the music."

Is the man André Rieu a different person than the celebrated musician?
"No, not at all, I am the same person on stage, only in rock costume. At home I prefer to wear jeans."

How would you like people to remember you later on? "Oh, I would rather not think about that. I still enjoy life to the fullest and the music."

What is the most important lesson you have wanted to give your two sons? "I do not think that I consciously have wanted to give them lessons. They are both great boys and have a huge heart. They care for other people, and that makes me proud, just like my grandchildren. Very proud. I enjoy all four immensely, they are darlings."

Did your family have to make sacrifices for your career? "I do not think that Marjorie and the boys look at it that way. When the boys were still small I played with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and was often home, maybe more frequent than most fathers, since my afternoons were free.

What does family mean to you? "Very much. My family is the center point of my world. That is where I get all my energy."

You have known your wife Marjorie since you were eleven….What is the secret of your marriage? "Secret??? I would not know why! We love each other and together we have a lot of fun in music and our work."

Your wife is your toughest critic, what does her judgment mean to you? "Her opinions weigh heavily on me and I always listen very seriously to her critique."

Is Marjorie the secret force behind your success, the wings on which you fly? "Marjorie and I fly together, I believe, that is nicer than alone. We both gain strength from that."

What makes your really happy, besides music? "Since I have become a grandfather, I believe I enjoy that aspect of my life the most. But when I am standing on the Vrijthof, and see all those people in front of me enjoying our music so much, then I am also very happy,"

You are now 65, but still not nearly ready for your pension. How do you experience getting older? "I am not too involved in that. Of course you notice that you are getting older, since for instance, you cannot run as fast as you used to and you have more ailments than when you were younger. But actually I am not really bothered that much by that. And I do everything I can to stay fit and healthy."

What does all that entail? "I have a personal trainer under whose supervision I do weightlifting three times a week. He also accompanies us on tour so I do not have to interrupt my training schedule. He also advises me on foods. I do not smoke, have an occasional glass of red wine, eat healthy and varied and above all, not too much. And fortunately an occasional little piece of Limburg vlaai (pastry)."

What, when you look back on your career, has been the most remarkable change in your life? "I was brought up with classical music. I really never heard about the "Beatles" nor the "Rolling Stones". Yes, their names maybe, but the sort of music they played, I really never knew. Something like that was not allowed in our house. And I was not allowed to go out, so where would I have heard that. Only though Marjory I learned to know lighter music. Not so much pop-music, but operettas, waltzes and dance music. I immediately found that to be beautiful and that has caused a major change in my career."

What is your best memory? "I have many beautiful memories in my career as well as in my private life. The first concert on the Vrijthof ten years ago was very special. To be allowed to perform there, in my own city, in front of thousands of –especially then—Maastricht citizens: an experience never to be forgotten. But still now too, again every year, when people now come to the Vrijthof from all over the world, my orchestra and I immensely enjoy playing there. It has a unique atmosphere, which we will never forget."

How do you look to the future?
"Mostly, and although the politics do not always indicate a positive - optimistically I hope to be able to continue in doing what I love to do for a long time to come, namely making music and having people join in the fun.

André Rieu was born in 1949 in Maastricht in a musical family where father André Senior was a conductor, with two older sister, two brothers and a younger sister. He was given the names of André Léon Nicolas Marie, and studied violin at the conservatory in Brussels and where he received lessons from amongst others from Herman Krebbers. In 1994 he scored a world hit with "The Second Waltz" by Dmitri Sjostakovitsj. With his wife Marjorie, whom he married in 1975, they have two sons, Marc (1978) and Pierre (1981). He has one grandson and three granddaughters of which two are twins. Since 2002 the violinist has been a "Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion." With his Johann Strauss orchestra he performs mega concerts all over the world.

Thanks to Ineke for the article and ©Translation by John 

Jan 13, 2015

There are not enough words to thank John for all the hours he puts into The Harmony Parlor to bring all of us the News of André in English with his German and Dutch Translations! We hope all your wishes come true and the coming year is filled with Health and Happiness John!

Jan 2, 2015

André Rieu very rarely listens to music in private

André Rieu very rarely listens to music in private

André Rieu, the most successful violinist in the world begins his German tour in January with the program "A Night in Venice" and will also be on stage in Berlin. After his world tour this year, the Dutch Waltz King will again set off on a journey through German arenas and concert halls and presents his new program. On February 5, he and his Johann Strauss Orchestra will play in Berlin's O2 World. The musician André Rieu knows no boundaries. And does not make music just for the fun of it.
Berliner Morgenpost: 

Which audiences or whichever city in particular are you looking forward to in 2015?
That is very hard to say. Every city has its own peculiarities. The German audience knows the music we play very well and they have been coming to us for years. That’s wonderful. In June we will also be in Romania for the first time and conduct open air concerts there. To go to a new country for the first time is always something very special. I believe it is the mix of tradition like we have in Germany and in new countries such as China, Taipei and Singapore in 2014, which makes my job just like always fulfilling and exciting.

Which personality in the music industry in 2015 are we still going to see and hear?
I hope many talented young violinists.

Do you listen to a lot of music at home?
Not really. I rarely listen to music in private, and never in the car. I relax a lot better by cooking, reading, or playing with my grandchildren.

With which music did you grow up?
Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Wagner. My father was a conductor. The Beatles totally passed me by. No sex, drugs or rock 'n' roll. At home, only classical music was played. My siblings and I all learned one or more instruments. Music was work then, and not fun.

Is there a style of music which you cannot get along with? And if so, why?
Yes, there is. For me, music has to have a tune and harmony. With contemporary classical music, I can do very little, others should do that. It also does not interest me, since it just is not mine. And rap or heavy metal I would definitely not play, it just does not fit. But good pop and rock music, why not?!

What is the status in principle to the classics, what does the future hold with respect to classical music?
I hope a lot of new, young audiences. The classical music world needs time to descend from its high pedestal. Why not speak with the audience during concerts? Bernstein did that, he had the audience and many young people involved. Why does everyone have to look so serious, as if someone had just died, no matter what kind of music they play? I have 120 permanent employees, and my orchestra is the largest private orchestra in the world. No one is crazy enough to afford his own orchestra. I do not receive subsidies - I have to sell tickets and CD's to keep the business running. And I do that, amongst other things, by playing classical music. And it works. You just have to try to make the people go home happy.

Do you have something like a ritual before your performances?
Not necessarily a ritual, but a steady routine. Before each concert I take a nap, we eat together with the orchestra, and I tune the instruments with everyone individually.

What do you associate with Berlin?
Lots. My father-in-law lived in Berlin before the war up until he fled; my wife's family is Jewish. He was a very great Charleston dancer and at that time could only take his record collection with him. Marjorie and I both love the city very much, we "still have a suitcase in Berlin", in the truest sense of the word. Always longing to return. In 2015 the Berlin Comedian Harmonists will be going on tour with us. A tribute to the years of the 20s and 30s of this city.

Is there anything with which you cannot go without on trips? 
Apart from my Stradivarius I would say that I cannot travel without my phone, without photos of my family or without my red sofa.

What would you like to read about yourself in 2015 in the newspaper? 
I have no idea ... anyway I never read any article about me.
Thanks to John for the Translation

Dec 18, 2014

Rieu Exposition In The Vrijthof Museum

Rieu Exposition In The Vrijthof Museum
Exhibition during concert series

De Limburger, by Ruud Maas: Maastricht-Violinist André Rieu will have his own exhibition at the Vrijthof museum next year. The exposition named "Attention to Detail" will open in June, just before the orchestra leader starts his yearly concert series on the co-located Maastricht square.

Museum director Erik de Jong states that the exhibition is organized in close cooperation with the Rieu family. "We’ve been carrying this idea around since February, and we would like to honor André in this manner. The motto of our museum is: "Made in Maastricht" and Rieu is of great importance to the city, both culturally and economically. We feel we are indebted to him."

"Attention to detail" highlights will include the musical creative process of the 65-year-old Rieu and his Strauss orchestra. In addition, sets, costumes and worldwide tours will also be featured. The principle areas are details which visitors to the Rieu concerts only are able to see for a distance, de Jong says. "Now you will be able to see how André was inspired by five dresses he saw in a movie of which his costume makers came up with as the final ultimate dress."

The exposition can be visited from June until September, not coincidentally, around the Vrijthof concerts. "Of course we hope that many visitors, who attend André’s shows, will also visit us. Normally as a museum we stand with our nose in the wings, the podium is right in front of our building. In that aspect we hope to be less unnoticed in 2015."


From Chapeau Magazine

Wednesday December 17: For the first time next summer we will be able to see an exhibition about André Rieu, namely in the Museum on the Vrijthof. Under the title of "Love for detail" attention will be paid to the way the music is chosen and translated by André Rieu and his Strauss Orchestra. The museum calls that "musical creative process."

In addition, attention is given to the costumes, the decors and the attributes. And finally, his worldwide tours will also be represented, accompanied by the different decors and the entire logistics. A brochure will also be produced in which the exhibition is being explained.

The exhibition is being produced in conversation with the Rieu family. The initial opening of the exhibition is being planned a few days prior to the 2015 Vrijthof concerts.
Thanks to John for Translation

Dec 16, 2014

André Rieu Postpones Birmingham Concert

  • Due to illness, André Rieu will be postponing tomorrow’s show, rescheduling on Tuesday 23 December 2014.

    Statement from the promoter:
    “Due to a severe bronchitis, André Rieu is unfortunately forced to postpone his concert in Birmingham, which was supposed to take place on Wednesday, 17th December 2014 at the LG Arena. A new date has already been set: André Rieu and His Johann Strauss Orchestra will return to the LG Arena Birmingham only six days later on 23rd December 2014 at 20.00. All tickets remain valid for the new date. Audience members who wish to return their tickets will be refunded and should return them where they were bought. All other remaining concerts in London, Manchester and Glasgow will go on as scheduled. André Rieu sincerely regrets any inconvenience this may cause and hopes to see you all on December 23rd!”

Dec 11, 2014

André Arriving at Bucharest Airport ~ Brrrrrr ...

Dec 10, 2014

Rieu Sold-Out Bucharest Concerts in Record Time

Rieu to perform on a square in Romania
Lady Gaga and Elton John were predecessors
Bucharest -- André Rieu will give an outdoor concert in Romania on 13 June. He made this announced yesterday during a visit to the country. It will be a concert based on the annual Vrijthof concerts performed by the violinist in Maastricht.

The venue will be the Piata Constitutiei in Bucharest, the capital of the country. The square is right opposite the largest parliament building in Europe. In recent years several great artists have already performed on that spot. Since 2010 AC/DC, Elton John, Shakira, Roxette, Sting, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Leonard Cohen, Iiron Maiden and Roger Waters have successively performed there.A month later Rieu will perform his annual Vrijthof concerts in Maastricht. These are planned for 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 July.

Update: André Rieu sold-out concerts in record time, a third performance fixed

Violonist André Rieu announces he will perform a second and a third concert in Bucharest on June 12 and June 14, after the tickets for his June 13 performance were sold-out in just three hours since they have been put for sale. More precisely, 12,500 tickets have been sold for the concert due on June 13, and other 10,500 tickets for the second concert fixed on June 12.

Tickets for the second concert on June 12 were available in Eventim network for prices ranging from RON 172 and 864, but they were soon sold-out on Wednesday as well, so the organizers set a third concert on June 14.

“Dear Romanian fans, I am overwhelmed by the warm reception you gave me yesterday (on Tuesday) at my arrival to Bucharest to announce our first concert in Romania. You welcomed us with open heart and we shall open our hearts to you. I am looking forward to seeing all of you in June, in Constitution Square for some magical evenings, full of music, dance and romance in the starlight!”, Rieu told Romanian fans, as quoted by Agerpres.

Nov 20, 2014

A Role For André Rieu in "Code M"

A Role For André in "Code M"
 
The Limburger - Sittard: André Rieu will be playing a role in the family film "Code M". The violinist will appear in this film as himself, just as he did previously in "Flikken Maastricht." Additional actors are Peter Paul Muller, Derek de Lindt, Nina Wyss, Senna Norsato and Joes Brauers.

The recordings of this film by producer Dennis Bots are in full swing.

In code "M" the historical story of D'Artagnan, musketeer on the court of Louis XIV, fuses with a contemporary exploration of a "still unknown piece of Dutch history."

Course materials will also be available with the film, and there will be a two-year exhibition at Castle Hoensbroek about the history of d'Artagnan, who after many missions in Europe was killed in Maastricht. Ineke Mahieu is editing the screenplay into a juvenile novel.
The film is co-produced by Roermond citizen Elbe Stevens. "Code M" will premiere next year in June.

Thanks To John For The Translation

Nov 17, 2014

André Rieu Fan Al Girard Enjoying Retirement

Al Girard Enjoying Retirement

What a great time to thank a fan who has done so much for all of us on the Harmony Parlor bringing us photos of so many concerts and everything in Maastricht ...

Al Girard as most of you know as our Harmony Parlor Photographer in Maastricht, was interviewed by Edmonton, Canada Television! All the Maastricht Fan Picnic and Fan Dinner photos he has taken for us, not to mention the many Maastricht Concert photos! Great interview Al and thank you for all your work for the Harmony Parlor! Click HERE To Watch Al's Interview!


Nov 16, 2014

Classical phenomenon André Rieu lands at #2 on Billboard

Classical phenomenon André Rieu lands at #2 on Billboard’s Traditional Classical chart with Love in Venice, marking the 20th time that Rieu has earned a Top 10 album on that chart.  The album also debuted at #5 on Billboard’s overall Classical chart.

US BILLBOARD: Released on November 3, 2014, Love in Venice 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, all performed in Rieu’s unique and unforgettable way.  The album also includes three of Rieu’s own compositions – the title track, “Bella Tarantella,” and “La Gondola,” marking the first time the maestro has recorded and included his own compositions on an album release.

**Additionally, beginning Thanksgiving weekend, U.S. television stations will rebroadcast Rieu’s 2013 Christmas special, Home for the Holidays, featuring Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra, together with soloists and a choir, performing 26 holiday classics. Filmed in his hometown of Maastricht, Holland, this special was first broadcast in the U.S. last year to great fan acclaim.

Initial markets to schedule 2014 broadcasts include Atlanta, GA; Baton Rouge, LA; Chattanooga, TN; Chicago, IL; Cleveland-Akron, OH; Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX; Hartford & New Haven, CT; Las Vegas, NV; Little Rock, AR; Milwaukee, WI; Monterey-Salinas, CA; Montgomery-Selma, AL; New York, NY; Norfolk & Richmond, VA; Orlando, FL; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; and Tampa, FL, among others, with more being added daily. Check local listings for complete broadcast information.

A native of the 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 1.4 million Facebook fans.

In the UK, no other violinist has made such an impact on the charts. André first 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.  Love in Venice has today made a monumental return to the UK Pop Album Chart as his new orchestral album enters at No. 4, competing with youngsters Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and only just behind Taylor Swift – an extraordinary result for an album of music mostly written in the 1800s. The album is also No. 1 in the Classical Chart.

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.

André and his Johann Strauss Orchestra embark return to the UK next month for an extensive arena tour, including two nights at Wembley.  His previous UK tour, November-December 2013, helped Rieu rise to the top of Billboard’s Hot Winter Tours chart, beating out contemporary artists such as One Direction, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Phish for the #1 spot during the same time period.

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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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