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Oct 7, 2015

How André Rieu Travels

Another Chapter From the Book "Rieu, Maestro Without Borders"

Written by Peter Peters (2014) - In 1988 André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra went for the first time on tours in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany. Six years later, the successful adaptation of Shostakovich’s ‘The Second Waltz’ ensured a breakthrough. In a Bavarian commercial Rieu drove around in a steamroller to three-quarter time, and during the intermission of the soccer match in 1995 between Ajax and Bayern Munich, he was standing midfield playing that piece on his violin. (Link below for video) The success of this adaptation was the beginning of a European career, initially mainly in Germany, and later on also in many other countries. Since 1997, the orchestra travels almost yearly to the United States. The construction of the studio in Amby (a quarter in Maastricht) in 2001 where Rieu since then has been producing his own CDs, videos and DVDs, coincided with his first tour to Japan. Two years later the tour in that country consisted of seventeen concerts in eleven cities.

In 2004 there was a change in the organization of concert tours. Just like many travelling artists, Rieu worked with local agents and production offices. They managed the rental of venues, technical support and ticket sales. Since the tour in 2002 to the United States did not go well, it was decided to do the organization in-house, and no longer use the services of the promoters. Rieu thought that his company could do better business directly with the venues where he would be performing. By letting his own staff take over the role of intermediary, he would not only be more efficient, but also more profitable. Rieu and his immediate staff were thus able to control the logistics surrounding the performances into the smallest details.

Since 2004 how do Rieu and his company operate in regards to the organization of a foreign tour? What is involved in organizing a series of concerts in, for example Brazil or China? It begins with an assessment of the market for Rieu's music. The extent of the market depends not only on his fame and popularity in a country, but also on the economic prosperity. 

In order to investigate the opportunities, Frans Neus and CFO Roel VanVeggel travel to cities where venues are available which suit the kind of concerts Rieu gives: a minimum of six thousand seats, space for the public to leave their seats and waltz in the aisles, and enough space for the stage apparatus. According to Neus the availability of suitable venues in a country is crucial. After determining the concert dates, the planning of the tour starts, contracts are drafted with the venues and vendors of Rieu products, such as program booklets, CDs, DVDs, and the local support organizations. To generate publicity around the concerts, the company arranges interviews for Rieu with local and national television and radio channels.

A recent example. In the summer of 2013 the company made plans to go to China. Previous tours to South America and Mexico were hugely successful and a massive market beckoned. Rieu has had his eye on China for a long time, says Frans Neus from his office in Maastricht, although the Chinese do not buy CDs, they are very responsive to everything that comes from Europe, especially where it concerns music. "We are looking at China because we are constantly having to find new markets. In order to keep the business going, it is essential to perform at least a hundred profitable concerts annually. That means that with traveling, days off during a tour and promotional activities you are on the road almost 200 days a year. There have been years with as many as 120 concerts. In China, we completed contracts with venues in Shanghai and Beijing (the latter was dropped due to date/technical reasons). The same occurred with Taiwan. When you have a venue and a date, you can start the sales. Part of the seat sales we’ll do ourselves, while another part is handled by a local organization. In the case of Shanghai, it is AAG, a major US promoter. Most tickets are sold over the internet. Regarding publicity, we develop a strategy for each country. Which is the best newspaper to advertise in, which radio and television stations are there? We prefer to make our own specials available. The station then has materiel and we then purchase suitable commercial slots."

Neus does not doubt that the concerts in China will be a success. "It is a universal formula. I do not think there is a country where that does not work. If you only see the concert and not the environment, you would not know in which country you are." A universal formula regarding the programming of concerts goes hand in hand with a standardization of transportation of the orchestra to enable concerts.

The decision to minimize the dependency on local facilitators has many consequences regarding the logistics. For an international tour not only do about 50 orchestra members, soloists and their instruments travel, but so does the technical crew and a large part of the equipment, needed for the concerts. In order to perform concerts on several continents within a short period of time, the company has four complete sets of musical instruments, costumes and technical equipment at the home base in Maastricht, Europe, America and Asia. This for instance reduces the risk that musical instruments remain stuck somewhere along the way. To give one an idea of the scope: a set can consist of seven trucks full of light, sound and video equipment, musical instruments and costumes. The accompanying crew travels in three converted buses, each with twelve beds. 

Not only are the instruments and technical equipment taken along, but for instance also washing machines, with which the men’s shirts are laundered after each concert. Two chefs ensure an elaborate buffet for the musicians and crew every evening. They cook with fresh and local produce. Peter de Beer has been travelling along as resident physician on the orchestra’s intercontinental journeys for several years. He brings along a large suitcase with medicines, but more importantly, he finds out where in a city the good hospitals are located. As a specialist in tropical diseases, he knows, thanks to his network, where to find good medical care in non-European countries. During a recent tour to Istanbul three judo mats came along, so that Rieu could do his daily workout in his hotel room under the guidance of his personal trainer. The more the company can regulate matters by itself, the less it is dependent on others.

Information about the book: Dutch title: Rieu, Maestro Zonder Grenzen. Available in Dutch only. Authors: Maaike Meijer, Peter Peters, Jac. van den Boogard. Publisher: De Bezige Bij and can be ordered at ►

Translated by Entia from South Africa and John from the USA 

Oct 1, 2015

André Rieu Awarded For 35 Million Albums

An Award For 35 Million André Rieu Albums

It is a party for André Rieu. On his 66th Birthday he received a very special present: he received an award from his record company "Universal" because he sold 35 million records worldwide. That makes him the best selling classical artist in the world.

RTL Boulevard: Oct. 1, 2015 - He was presented this award in Rome during a press conference. "This is fantastic. I did not know I would receive this," the proud musician told RTL Boulevard.

Not yet retired
The 66 year old André is definitely not think about retiring. "It is so enjoyable what we are doing, traveling the world together with my orchestra. Why should I stop? Everything is getting better and people are beginning to know me more," explains the violinist. He regularly receives reaction from his enthusiastic spectators. "I did not know you play such nice music. I'm also a fan," André said about a fan's reaction.

And luckily for his fans, in the coming years they are not getting rid of him yet. "We just agreed, we are going to add another 20 year on to it."

Starting this month, he will again be traveling the world over: Mexico, Turkey, France, Belgium, England, Germany. And on Saturday, November 14th, André Rieu and his orchestra will be in the Gelredome.

Thank you to John for the Translation

Sep 30, 2015

André's Birthday is tomorrow, October 1st
Happy Birthday André!!
And - André told John Suchet in Rome yesterday he will have a new grandchild in January!

Sep 28, 2015

Violinist Alina-Lin Jong Paintings

Travel Impressions by Rieu Orchestra On Canvas

People, colors, landscapes. A journey with the orchestra of André Rieu is never boring. Since 1991 Alina-Lin Jong has been a violinist in the world famous orchestra. Many impressions she experiences during the journeys she translates into colorful paintings with quirky abstracts. For Saturday and Sunday the Wynja studio will combine paintings, sculptures and music in an extraordinary triptych exhibition. In addition to paintings by Alina Lin there will also be sculptures by Trudy Steegh. The exhibition starts with the third form of art: music. Accompanied on the piano by her partner Ruud Merx, Alina Lin will perform concerts on both days.

While studying at the Conservatory of Maastricht, Alina Lin joined Rieu's orchestra through one of her classmates. "Back then we were only with thirteen musicians. We rehearsed weekly and had a couple of gigs a year in Limburg." The orchestra broke through in 1994 with the Second Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich, it became a hit and since then, the orchestra travels all over the world. "We just returned from South America. Santiago had four sold-out concerts and in Lima 17.000 people attended a concert . "You can make people happy with music everywhere", she says. "Critics do not find the Rieu orchestra a classical orchestra. That does not matter. It's not a competition. Many people experience classical music as being heavy. We play a much more accessible, lighter repertoire. And the audience is allowed to chat or dance. That's what makes it so special."

Alina-Lin met her husband Ruud Merx in the orchestra. "He is the trombonist who balances the trombone on his chin." Ruud will also be at the Wynja studio to accompany his wife on the piano. On Saturday and Sunday they will perform a concert of about an hour. The program remains a surprise. "It is a light repertoire and we are taking a small world trip. Ruud is quite excited about it. And: one is allowed to sing along."

In addition to her part-time job with André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra, Alina Lin paints. "It's for relaxation. I love color and shape. Sometimes something unaware of my travels appears in the paintings. "In fact an Australian soprano discovered a lane from Brisbane in one of the paintings. "It is very nice to hear that people recognize something."

During the exhibition Trudy Steegh will show sculptures which exude a sense of security, belonging and power. She captures emotions in stone. Her sculptures show people's important emotional moments. Intimate, loving and with a melancholy character. Trudy works from her own emotions and spirituality. Stone, perception and intuition are for her the guidance for a figurative design 'which make you ponder for a while.' Picture: Sietse - Thank you to John for the Translation and Benny Geets for sending the article.

Sep 23, 2015

A Chapter From: "Rieu, Maestro Without Borders"

A Chapter From The Book
"Rieu, Maestro Without Borders"

Istanbul, November 2014: By  Maaike Meijer - Gosha handles the makeup of all orchestra members, clothes them and makes - together with Nelly Custers and Mien Depondt - all the dresses. She has been working for Rieu for fourteen years already. "I know what André has in mind, I know his taste. He always looks at our design, but also to the final result, when the orchestra member tries the dress on for the first time. Often he changes something on it. Many of the dresses which are currently being worn are still designed by Nellie Custers. We do not work according to a historical model, and, contrary to what some people think, no copies are made of nineteenth-century Viennese ball gowns, contrary to what some people might think. It is the Italian wedding which inspires us, where the bride is often dressed in an flamboyant style. All dresses run from a narrow waist, with a petticoat, so that they stand out full from the center outwards.

André himself selects the fabrics. He likes beautiful clothes and historical costumes. Whenever we make a new dress, we also take into account what the wearer would like. For a dress that would be crucial to a performance, such as the one for soloist Carla Maffioletti, we purchase ten times as much fabric as is needed, and then André decides what he finds most suitable. The color of the dress should compliment the personality of the person.

A dress needs six meters of fabric. We do not use silk, because it doesn’t wash well. Satin is better. The clothing must be durable, because it will be subjected to a lot of packing and unpacking. If we – no matter where - find exceptionally beautiful dresses anywhere which are particularly well suited for someone, we will purchase them. They must have classic allure, radiate wealth and breathe historic atmosphere. André has a vision in his head; he really visualizes an image, and we attempt to approach that.

When designing, we also have to take into account the changing of costumes. That often needs to happen quickly. A soloist may have to change costumes four times within the same performance and that also means four different sets of matching shoes and jewelry. Fortunately I’m not prone to stress. Sometimes a zipper breaks on stage and then you have to solve the problem within a minute, often quickly stitching it up and then figure out how to repair it permanently and properly later. All that matters is that it looks good on stage … ‘The show must go on’.

The costumes have changed over the years. The dresses used to have a more common style, with large puff sleeves. The fabrics used to be more lustrous and colorful and often 
even had a opalescent sheen. That was followed by a transitional period, with lots of embroidery and ‘old-fashioned’ designs. Today the costumes are more modern. They have also become more expensive: a dress takes 120 work hours to make, which, together with the cost of the fabric, represents a cost of three-and-a-half thousand Euros. The decorations and rhinestones are sewn on by hand.

We have an excellent seamstress in our team and two embroiderers. Every lady in the Orchestra has four dresses. We have the entire outfits in four-fold, including the instruments. So do the math: fifteen thousand Euros per female orchestra member. But through those dresses our orchestra is not a boring black and white scenario like other orchestras. We also have beautiful little jackets, because it can be cold and the ladies have plunging necklines.

The men’s outfits are not as labor intensive – ha-ha – but they too have four tuxedos each (tailcoats), which we buy from tailors who do customized sewing. They cost twelve hundred Euros each. The tuxedos have also been modernized over the years. 
Adjustments are made to ensure a perfect fit whenever someone loses or picks up some weight. The suit has to fit well, has to breathe and allow for ease of movement, a cellist for instance needs sleeves that allow for big movements which are essential when playing that instrument. 

I start each concert at eight o'clock with the makeup for the tenors. Many of the ladies do that themselves, but the men there are less skillful in that. After the show I am still busy for a long time, packing, laundering shirts. The men's shirts have to be washed after every performance, but I like doing that. They must always look pristine when on stage."

Translation by John (USA) and Entia (South Africa) - We thank the Publisher for their permission to translate this for The Harmony Parlor

Information about the book: Dutch title: Rieu, Maestro Zonder Grenzen. Available in Dutch only. Authors: Maaike Meijer, Peter Peters, Jac. van den Boogard. Publisher: De Bezige Bij and can be ordered at ►

Sep 22, 2015

André Rieu 2016 Maastricht Concert Dates

The 2016 Maastricht Concerts will take place on 8, 9 and 10 of July 2016.
Ticket sales for Gold Members to begin on 24 September 2015. The official ticket sales will start Saturday 26 September 2015. 
Good luck to those contemplating the purchase of tickets.

Sep 19, 2015

André Rieu is Coming To USA Theaters!

 ►Coming To USA Cinemas on October 20th!!

‘André Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht Concert’ With Exclusive Interview Comes to Select U.S. Cinemas for One Night This October

Fathom Events, CinemaLive, André Rieu Productions and Universal Music Bring ‘The King of Waltz’ André Rieu’s Legendary Hometown Performance to the Big Screen on October 20 Only.

Experience a magnificent musical performance when André Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht Concertcomes to select cinemas nationwide for one night on Tuesday, October 20 at 7 p.m. (local time). Recorded live in the breathtaking setting of Rieu’s medieval hometown in Maastricht, The Netherlands, the concert has already broken box office records in the UK, The Netherlands, Denmark and Australia, and stars the Dutch maestro, along with his famous 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra, sopranos, tenors and some very special guests entertaining the audience with stunning performances, spectacular fireworks and sublime music. The theatrical event boasts extra features curated specifically for cinema audiences including an exclusive interview with André moments after he steps off stage.
“We are thrilled to bring this extraordinary concert event to U.S. cinemas all the way from The Netherlands”
Tickets for “André Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht Concert” can be purchased online by visiting or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 210 movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

The concert features many notable guest artists and soloists, including Australian soprano Mirusia Louwerse, whom André calls the “Angel of Australia,” and The Platin Tenors. Some of the many highlights of André Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht Concert in cinemas include Mirusia’s deeply emotional rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”; the stirring “This Land is Mine” from Exodus and André’s signature waltz “The Blue Danube” and many more.
Rieu said, "I am so delighted that my hometown concert will be coming to cinemas! It's going to be an incredible evening - and I can promise you it will be a musical night to remember. If you can't join us in Maastricht, we will come to you, in your local cinema."

“We are thrilled to bring this extraordinary concert event to U.S. cinemas all the way from The Netherlands,” said John Rubey, CEO of Fathom Events. “André Rieu captivated the audience during his historic hometown show in Maastricht, and now we can offer the same sensational concert to U.S. audiences.”
CinemaLive CEO & Co-director Peter Skillman said, “We are very excited to be working with Fathom Events to bring André Rieu’s record-breaking 2015 Maastricht concert to cinema audiences in the U.S. as André’s worldwide cinema audience continues to grow year on year.”

For artwork/photos related to “André Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht Concert,” visit the Fathom Events press site.

About Fathom Events
Fathom Events is the recognized leader in the alternative entertainment industry, offering a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events in movie theaters nationwide that include live, high-definition performances of the Metropolitan Opera, the performing arts, major sporting events, music concerts, comedy series, Broadway shows, original programming featuring entertainment’s biggest stars, socially relevant documentaries with audience Q&A and much more. Fathom Events takes audiences behind-the-scenes and offers unique extras, creating the ultimate entertainment experience. It is owned by a consortium called AC JV, LLC., comprised of AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), the three largest movie theater circuits in the United States. In addition, Fathom Events’ live digital broadcast network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live events to 820 locations in 177 Designated Market Areas® (including all of the top 50). For more information, visit

About André Rieu
Known for his energetic and festive live performances and with album and DVD sales of more than 40 million worldwide, André is the world’s leading pop classical artist and consistently appears on the worldwide list of highest-grossing touring artists. Since his Johann Strauss Orchestra, with up to 60 musicians, began in 1987, his spectacular live shows have gained him hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world. In 2014, 700,000 people saw his live shows – with an audience of over 100,000 in the UK alone!

André Rieu and members of his Orchestra attend the red carpet of 
The 'Willkommen bei Carmen Nebel' Show at Velodrom
September 19, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

Sep 3, 2015

Come Along With Anthony and Read His Adventure!

Come Along With Anthony and Read His Adventure!

Excerpt: But it was after the concerts in Maastricht when everything changed. Ineke and Ruud contacted me about Michael Wiseman, a producer who was interested in old tour programs. So I emailed him and after some messages I received the best news of my whole life! He offered me to come to my house with his camera team so I could show them all my memorabilia. I immediately said ‘yes’ without doubt. And finally the time arrived - Michael sent me some more messages about the meeting and I didn’t believe what I was about to happen until one hour before leaving Lima I received a message with the exact time he was going to come to my house, so I went to the airport with all my nervousness in me.

Aug 29, 2015

ANDRÉ RIEU Made His Dream Come True

André Rieu
International Artist Who Made His Dream Come True

In the mid 90’s André Rieu waltzed the Netherlands flat with his Viennese sounds.  In 1998, he was in the Top 40 for at least 28 weeks with the Second Waltz. From Algemeen Dagblad August 26, 2015 by Arno Gelder. 
A monologue by the most popular international artist, André Rieu - homegrown and one who made his dream come true.

Since 1988 we have been touring with the Johann Strauss Orchestra through the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The concerts were always sold out. Our repertoire; a mixture of Viennese waltzes, polkas, operetta melodies, classical pieces and opera arias.

I was convinced that many more people could enjoy our performances, but for that a CD and TV were needed. That was not happening. Why, no one knows. Along with Marjorie, my wife, I repeatedly traveled to Hilversum, but no one saw any benefits in my requests. It took us six years. And no, it did not surprise me that waltzes and romantic music were successful. I doubted though that the entire public was on its ass. The audience always loved the waltz, but symphony orchestras barely ever performed them. In the classical circles they were generally looked down upon. Why?? I never understood that. Strauss was a brilliant composer. My father, a 30-year conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, was a great admirer of his works. That our first CD "Strauss and CO" was such a huge success really overwhelmed us though. The record company expected to sell about 25,000 copies before Christmas 1994. That became 250,000 in the first three months. More than Michael Jackson's "Thriller" were sold here. When the TROS that year broadcast a concert, we achieved incredible high ratings, the highest rating since the final match of the European Soccer Championship in 1988, in which the Netherlands won.

My wife Marjorie and I fell crying into each other's arms. 
It was the best reward for all those efforts of all those years.

This month we leave for concerts in Chile and Peru. Peru will be our first time. We will perform in a sold out stadium in Lima for 18,000 people. Isn’t that unbelievable? Then in September, I’ll put the finishing touches on the new CD "Roman Holiday" which will be released in autumn (November). And the DVD "Wonderful World", a recording of the concert this past summer in Maastricht, will also be released. Starting in October we will tour the world: Mexico, Turkey, Paris, Belgium, England, Germany, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. And do not forget the Gelredome on November 14th

My health? To perform concerts all around the world is my life, the JSO is my second family. Twice it went wrong with my health. That had to change. Now I, just like top athletes have a coach. Ruud Gransier is an orthopedist, a nutrition expert and European bench press Champion. Under his supervision, I do strength training three times a week. I do not always feel like it, but when it is over, I feel a lot better. Besides, I place more rest breaks in my schedule. I now have four grandchildren and they are for Marjorie and me a wonderful relaxation. The success of the Second Waltz has really turned our lives upside down, but I do not have the feeling that I have become a different person through it - I only have a bigger and faster (electric) car.

Thanks To Ineke for sending the article and John for Translating it

Aug 28, 2015

The Traveling Judge and André Rieu

The Traveling Judge
Frank Visser is a TV personality who has been hosting the "Traveling Judge" show for many years.
He travels the country with his team of legal advisors to assist the public in legal matters.

Text: Bea Kastrop - Photo: Roger Veldman: For this issue, Mr. Visser wanted to do an interview with André Rieu, a man he admires for various reasons. And André Rieu and his wife Marjorie's would not miss the opportunity for an interview with the "Traveling Judge." Here is a conversation between the two men who both had the courage to go their own way.

Mr. Visser:  "We both actually turned against the elite. If twenty years ago you would have said that you wanted to go to an André Rieu concert, you would be dismissed as a commoner. You have never let that bother you and ultimately you now mean more to classical music than the whole avant-garde music placed together. This in fact really has no influence at all. When I started the "Traveling Judge", the legal elite also looked down upon that and me. But it never occurred to me not to do that just because of it. "

Rieu: "Some time ago I met Geert Mak, who basically told me the exact same thing. He, as a serious historian was also looked down upon by the elite. It was again too popular, you understand. If the majority likes something, you as a critic can easily distinguish something by breaking it down. For us it's just a matter of persevering. "

Mr.Visser:"Exactly, as long as we have the time to live".

Rieu: 'What the h…..?! You're only 64! You are just beginning! Do you get enough exercise?"

Mr. Visser: "More than you, I think."

Rieu: 'More than me? I have a personal trainer and three times a week, for two hours at the time I am exercising. I have been doing it for three years now and it is fantastic. I am a different person! "

Mr. Visser: "I also participate in athletics. At the gym. And when I come home from my sculpting, I too take a shower, you know!"

To The Moon

Mr. Visser: "Do you sometimes dream of something totally different? Something you would still like to do or experience? "

Rieu: "No. I am living my dream. For me freedom is one of the most important things in life. Freedom of thought, of action, of "being". I do not have a boss and I can do whatever I want. My dream was to make music with my orchestra and along with that see the world, but not as a tourist. Now I travel around the world with a bunch of friends and I think it's a very nice life. Perhaps there might still be one thing ... If I could ever go to the moon ...

Mr. Visser: "That does not tell me anything at all. What do you need to do on the moon? "

Rieu: "When you look from the moon to the earth, you see no more boundaries, no black or white, no rich or poor. I like to place things into perspective and that is placing things literally into perspective. Then it's just our earth. To me it seems like a fantastic experience. "

Mr. Visser: "I used to dream of becoming an actor. If I were still young I would become an actor. As a "Traveling Judge" this is the closest I can come to the performing arts, hahaha. Originally a lawsuit was for a large part just like a theater. And the funny thing was that once someone entered the arena, the class difference was gone. Everyone could speak their mind. Even the little man. That also takes place with the "Traveling Judge" and people naturally feel that it should be that way. "

Rieu: "We really are in agreement with that. The abolition of that elitist thing. I've never did it for the success. I still don’t. I played in the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, where my father was the conductor. And I was missing something, but I did not know what. Later on I discovered that it was the sheer distance from the public which bothered me. I wanted to make music for the cleaning lady, the professor, young and old, for everyone. Music is the form of art which touches all hearts. My wife Marjorie played a very important role in that quest. Without her I would now be lying in the gutter! I mean that seriously! Classical music creates a lot of victims. Because the stress is so high. Today, the musicians have to compete against those perfect recording outfits. "

Needing a Drink?

Rieu: "You have to make decisions which have a profound impact on people's lives. Does that create a lot of stress? "

Mr.Visser: 'Sometimes. I do think it is extremely important that you have a close relationship. If you don’t, you will see in our profession, and indeed also in television, and then alcohol becomes a danger. Before I met my wife, I definitely was antisocial. In the sense of just doing what I wanted to: just studying and working. I had no interest in friends and going out for me was a waste of my time. Through a good wife and a normal family life you do get ... many of those highly paid lawyers all have a few marriages behind him. They work till late at night and then after a few drinks go home. Now I must admit that sometimes after a lengthy hearing as the "Traveling Judge" I too need a drink. The concentration is then so great! And you are just no longer part of this world."

Rieu: When I'm on the Vrijthof and I see all these people enjoying them selves... that makes me so happy. Then after such an evening I too need some red wine to come back to earth again, though. And not just I. My entire group."

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

Aug 20, 2015

André Rieu Provides a Marriage

André Rieu Provides a Marriage
In tears Mirusia Louwerse gave her "yes" word to Youri

Without André Rieu Mirusia Louwerse would not recently have said her vows to her friend Youri Wystyrk. She was in fact discovered by him as a soprano and he works in the team of the world famous violinist.

By Johan Lok: In the romantic castle Heeswijk in North Brabant Mirusia Louwerse recently promised her friend Youri Wystyrk eternal fidelity. The singer, who made headlines with André Rieu’s Johann Strauss Orchestra met her true love thanks to the Maastricht violinist. Youri is part of his production team. "We liked each other from the very beginning, but there was nothing between us" said the soprano. "I went back to Australia for a year, where I lived almost my entire life with my parents. We both noticed then that we missed each other greatly. In order to participate in the coronation concert which André performed in Amsterdam on April 30, 2014, I went back to Netherlands. That is when the spark really jumped over. From that moment on we were inseparable."

Diamond Ring

Youri had thought of a very special way to propose marriage to Mirusia. "He did that during a dinner party in our favorite restaurant "Rozemarijn" in Maastricht. Two of my girlfriends, Giedré and Agnes, who both play violin in André’s orchestra came in while playing the love song "Nog Nooit" (Never) by Herman van Veen. That is the song Youri often sings to me. I cried immediately. It became even more emotional when shortly thereafter two members of the choir entered while singing their own texts to that piece. Youri wrote that especially for me. When he knelt down on one knee in front of me and asked me to marry him, of course I said: "Yes." And as a gift he gave me a lovely diamond ring." Mirusia and Youri opted for an intimate ceremony. "There were about 50 guests present. My parents had come over from Australia. Sadly André could not attend. He and his wife Marjorie were on holiday in Italy, and unfortunately due to the busy schedule of the orchestra could not make changes. He did send us a personal letter full of congratulations and surprised us with a beautiful bunch of flowers. My 92 year old grandmother handed over the rings. She did that together with Youri’s grandfather, who is also 92. Do you know what also was so beautiful? When we both said our vows, suddenly the sun broke through. That was a very special moment."


After the wedding the couple traveled to Thailand for their honeymoon."With André’s orchestra we have been to many places in the world, but had never been to Thailand. In addition we both love Thai food, so that is going to be enjoyable" said the bride after the wedding. Rest of course the question whether consideration is being given to a child. Mirusia bursts out laughing. "Well, not just yet. First I will do my solo tour and afterwards also a tour with André. So there is currently no time for a baby, but there will definitely be one. I know for sure that Youri will be a very good father."

Thanks to Ineke for the article and John for Translating it.

Aug 19, 2015

Mirusia and Youri - André Rieu saw love thrive

Thanks to Willem-Alexander Mirusia and Youri said "Yes!"  
André Rieu saw love thrive

Privé Magazine by Yvonne Hoebe: André Rieu’s star soprano Mirusia Louwerse and his security guard Youri Wystyrk did not dare to speak to each other during one of Rieu’s world tour for at least six months. In South Africa they had a small conversation with each other and that is when the spark jumped over, but the first kiss did not happen until Amsterdam during the King's ball at the museum square in honor of King Willem-Alexander. 

André Rieu, who considers the Australian Mirusia his biggest discovery since he listened to a tape sent by her aunt, saw their love thrive in front of him. André also had a part in the marriage proposal which Youri had in mind, so says Mirusia who would also liked to have had her mentor at her wedding, but André was already committed to his own yearly Italian vacation with his entire family.

Mirusia: "After the last Vrijthof concert, Youri had the idea of going to eat in our favorite restaurant in Maastricht. I did not suspect a thing, not even when after the main course, when Giedré and Agnes, two violinists from the orchestra came in to play; to be honest I thought the restaurant owner had hired them to perform. But when our singers Marcel and Bob appeared and together with Youri started to sing Herman van Veen’s song "Nog Nooit"(Never) I started to suspect something. "YES!" I shouted throughout the restaurant when Youri placed a beautiful diamond ring on my finger. I had never experienced such a romantic moment. Youri managed to pull that plan off beautifully thanks to the cooperation of André.


From that moment on, Mirusia’s life, next to her performances with Rieu’s orchestra, her solo career and the preparations of her tour "This Time Tomorrow" was dominated by her fairytale wedding, which would take place in the Noord Brabant castle of Heeswijk.

Mirusia: "I always dreamed I would marry but never knew when, where and with whom. A year ago we started with the preparations, we wanted to have everything organized well in advance. Also since we were on tour the last months prior to our wedding. It had to be romantic and it was. I found my dress in the Netherlands. Classical with a modern twist. Youri found it beautiful. We even thought of getting married in Australia, after all I was born there. I am three quarters Dutch and one quarter Polish, just like Youri, funny huh? But he was born in the Netherlands. So our choice was the Netherlands since there are no castles in Australia, and they truly belong in romance. Our relationship is a fairy tale, so that fits. In addition we wanted our grandparents to be present, my grandmother Ria lives in Breda and Youri’s grandfather in Maastricht and they both are 92 years old. We had thought for them to hand over the rings, and that is what they did. That is when I had to wipe away a tear. We had a wonderful day and felt the love of the people around us."

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

Aug 7, 2015

Mirusia’s Wedding: Rieu provides his "angel" with a groom.

Mirusia’s Wedding
Waltz emperor must henceforth share his muse Mirusia
Rieu provides his "angel" with a bridegroom.

The Telegraaf by Evert Santegoeds: Andre Rieu (64) brought Mirusia Louwerse (30) from afar, Australia, and provided her a new life. The star soprano, from Dutch parents, beams when on the Vrijthof and all the other venues in the world where she performs with the orchestra of the Waltz emperor. But these days Mirusia beams like she has never done before ... on her own wedding, and especially for her groom Youri Wystyrk, a member of André's security team! A year after their first date, they married ...

The rings were presented by her 92-year-old grandmother and Youri's equally old grandfather. Their presence was eased by the absence of her discoverer André Rieu who was on a long ago planned vacation in Italy.

The singer, who had made so many headlines with André's Johann Strauss Orchestra, received a great personal letter of congratulations and all the best wishes for prosperity, love, health and happiness from his holiday address. And Rieu has a special place in his heart for Mirusia, he even compared her with a supernatural being when he found her in 2007 and first heard her sing. "Tears came into my eyes. It was as if I heard an angel sing".

Never before

In the North Brabant Castle of Heeswijk the fairytale wedding took place. But it might have very nearly never have come this far ... "We dared not to speak to each other the first half year. Eventually, while on tour through South Africa, during a chat after a concert the spark immediately jumped over. Last year, after the Vrijthof concerts, Youri lured me to our favorite restaurant. There was a band and some singers and he asked me to marry him. He had written his own text to the beautiful song "Never before" by Herman van Veen. It was so romantic!"

Tossing and turning

In the beginning the two were moving around each other hesitantly and cautiously, and it took a long time until there was a first date. Mirusia and Youri let no grass grow under their feet afterwards. And a year later, they married: "The evening and night before the wedding we again spent apart from each other. That evening I did some nice things with my bridesmaids, who had come over from Australia. Honestly, that evening I just lay there tossing and turning, wondering what he would think of the wedding dress. But he loved it!"

The proud groom, "I really became emotional. I always see Mirusia on stage and even then she always looks dazzling. But this time she surpassed that even more, I had never seen her so beautiful. Our relationship is a fairy tale in every way, and so was every minute of our wedding."

Although the weather did not totally cooperate that day, the sun did break through the moment HARALD BERGMANN mayor of Middelburg; the town where Youri hails from, asked them to pronounce their yes-word. And sun will also still be shining the coming week: "We're going on our honeymoon to Thailand. Although we've seen the world with André, we've never been there. After that we go to my native Australia. Only in February we will be back in the Netherlands as my tour "This time tomorrow" starts!

Thanks to John for the Translation 

Jul 11, 2015

The Second Fan Picnic in Maastricht This Weekend
A Record Number of 100 Fans attended!
(The Great Photo as always by our own Al Girard)

Jul 8, 2015

Ineke and Ruud done by "Andre's photo service on the Vrijthof"
Maastricht 2015

Jul 5, 2015

Photo Taken by Al Girard at Last Night's Concert

Jul 4, 2015

Some Special Concert Photos From Last Night

Jul 1, 2015

Photos of André on The Vrijthof Tonight in Maastricht

 Jayne Bailey who is in Maastricht, just took these (unusual) photos of André on the Vrijthof
climbing a ladder and posted them on our Facebook Group ... He's always hands on with everything!! ;-))

The Mystery of André Rieu Master of Detail

Exhibition and Scientific Book Unravel The Mystery of André Rieu
Master of Detail

André Rieu, stand-alone violinist, maestro and above all loved son of all of Maastricht. His world success in classical circles is dismissed with disdain. But the question always remains: "How does this Limburg citizen manage to do that?" Now simultaneously a book and an exhibition reveal a little corner of the secret of his success formula: "Perfection and emotion!"

Nuts, that distain for popular culture.
by Marie-Therese Roosendaal

De Telegraaf: Radetzkymarch, Funiculi Funicula, the Blue Danube, Adieu mein Kleiner Gardeoffizier, Viennese blood, Auld Lang Syne, Sirtaki, Don’t cry for me Argentina. The evergreens are a constant fixture at André Rieu’s concerts, the man who gave the waltz new life. Three scientists working in Rieu's home of Maastricht were surprised that no one had ever seriously examined the phenomenon, André Rieu, and so off to work they went. Their book, "Rieu, Maestro without borders" unravels his success formula. Honorary professor of gender studies Maaike Meijer, who eagerly delves into the popular culture, was the spokesperson, and also spoke for her coauthors Jac van den Boogard and Peter Peters.

Life Songs
She wonders why André Rieu as a research project has been left alone for such a long time. Everyone says: "Hey, how is that possible! And that is that as though it speaks for itself. Nuts, really, that distain for popular culture, life is not only about Bach. The cultural spectrum is just great, rich and divers. I really like classical music and I am an omnivore. I love "Life Songs", the Jordaan (a district in Amsterdam) and the accordion. In a "life song" you can read an entire social development. Through fetlocks, and girls in high heels with Chihuahuas. When I had a girlfriend in Brabant, I enjoyed carnival music and operettas at her home. My first Rieu concert on the Vrijthof recalled an acute nostalgia of that time. "Tiritomba" immediately whisked back into that world." "Rieu always selects pieces which we have almost forgotten. That gives you an aha-moment: Oh, yes that is right, the waltz music of my parents. That enters unexpectedly and brings forth emotions." Conductor Rieu orchestrates that emotion. In classical concerts normally always the hands of musicians are only seen: Look at those violinists, how virtuous. That draws the viewer away from his own emotions. With Rieu the public is brought into view on the big screens; a waltzing couple, a mother who flips away a tear. To see people cry makes you cry, to see them laugh makes you laugh." He knows what he does: but it is more intuitive than conscious. It is based on experience. Before his break-through in 1994 with "The Second Waltz" by Sjostakovich, he had of course already performed in every "doghouse". For the elderly, for organizations. He knows what makes the public happy, or peaceful. And he lays it on thick, while with classical music one should always be composed, kind of flat and not full out. The orchestra members look fantastic, the ladies in ball gowns. It gives you the illusion of a
fairytale. And the bar is always set very high, everything goes into perfection.

"From the operas he brings the emotionally laden arias. He then expresses his admiration for the great Puccini. And say: "Come in, classical music is also for you. Along with his orchestra he then jokes around: from the man with the triangle who fell asleep just before the crucial moment. The violinist who pretends he drank too much. It is jocular and carnival-like: people are allowed to laugh at the elite, may take revenge on their oppressors. That is reassuring: we are allowed to come in, and we are also allowed to laugh loudly. Ingenious how he lowers the threshold of the classical music." He is also a precursor to classical music, which in crisis does not know how to get full concert halls, tormenting their brains on how to turn the tide. They also want go out on the streets more often, the Amsterdam Canal Festival is a good example, or during the enthronement of Willem-Alexander, the performance of DJ Armin van Buuren with the Concert Building orchestra. And Rieu does it all by himself, clever, in a culture where since the fifties the building subsidy became ever higher. It is no secret that he would like to conquer the world, and he is well on his way: he is especially successful in Australia, more so than in the Netherlands and Germany. I guess that is because classical music there is less prescriptive and less averse to the state of the popular genre. And in America they think of Rieu as classic." Maaike Meijer enjoyed the performances: "Nicer than CD’s. The encores are a concert all by themselves. It is one folk fest, the public goes crazy. And me too!" Is the maestro sometimes accused of megalomania, which she too places in context: Of course Andre Rieu is megalomaniac! Without his great dreams he would never have come this far. But that millions around the world enjoy his music is his most important drive."

Pomp and Pageantry almost touchable
Below the portraits of his teachers, Robert Stolz and Herman Krebbers you find the sofa bed of André Rieu. Stella Schurgers laughs: "The real one! He has four, and one always accompanies him. Just prior to every concert he lies down for a little while in order to charge himself up again." Stella, a Maastricht Rieu fan from the first hour, sits ringside as a volunteer coordinator at the Museum on the Vrijthof. Tomorrow the André Rieu exposition "Love for Detail" opens. A museum, which otherwise just like André Rieu, runs without a penny of subsidy. Inspired director Erik de Jong states: "Made in Maastricht is our motto. And then you very quickly wind up with Maastricht’s favorite son. His story is now well known, so to go there again ...

He racked his brain about a new approach: "When I was in his studio I noticed images of Maastricht hanging on the wall. He told me he had sent a winter scene back to the artist since it did not depict snow. And although the artist pointed out the bare trees, winter for him means snow. OK, so she added snowflakes. And I had my theme; "Rieu’s eye for detail." I hesitate to use the word perfectionist, which to me indicates a fear of failure. He is not afraid; he just wants to make it precise. Stella Schurgers is admiring the Sissi dresses with the small waistlines and hoop skirts. "During the concerts on the Vrijthof from row 32 you only see the contours, now this pump and pageantry is almost touchable." 

In the museum a studio has been furnished, complete with ironing board and sewing machine. Small suitcases are lined up in a row: Every musician has his own suitcase, with their own things. Glittery pumps, a small makeup bag, jewelry, photo of the violinist on the inside of the suit case lid. "That means four times the same suit cases with the same identical contents. For everyone. That again is perfection. If one suitcase happens to be in Bucharest for a concert, the second one might be on its way to Australia for the next concert series."

On the wall you can read the story how Rieu comes to the costume department with pictures of dresses he has seen in the series "The Tudors" and in the movie "The Other Boleyn Girl." "Get inspired and pay attention to the details" was his directive. The results are displayed on a mannequin, the blue- white dream dress of soloist Carla Maffioletti. In the museum even a ballroom has been laid out. Dance school Bernaards even placed dance steps of a waltz on the floor. Schurgers laughs: "I can see myself swirling around here! I have known André Rieu long before he became so big. With Hieringe Biete, eating herring pieces on Ash Wednesday, he always performed with the Salon Orchestra on Our Dear Ladies Square. (Onze Lieve Vrouwe plein) Even then he brought people into exaltation." Musical scores, a black and white photo of a little André with violin and all the program booklets. But the highlight of the exhibition is a live presentation: the Maastricht luthier Niels Rijsemus. Unperturbed he keeps on plaining wooden curls. Then he beams:"My first violin went to André. A great honor. And in 40 years from now I will still recognize that sound. The sound from the violin and from André Rieu."

Thanks to John for the Translation - his last before leaving for Europe on a well earned vacation!














Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013




"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André on The Theater Steps" by Bee

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André and Pierre on The Theater Steps" by Bee