Andre Rieu


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At a Glance

Birthname: André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu
Nationality: Dutch
Born: Oct 01 1949


Biography

André Rieu is the high priest of the violin, the king of the waltz, and he lives in a castle, a castle in Maastricht where the real D'Artagnan, who Dumas' fictional character was based on, was said to have had his last breakfast before he died in battle serving Louis XIV.

It's a castle that André Rieu as a child used to visit to take piano lessons, but he dreamed of living in the castle, renovating it, making it light, filled with golden chandeliers and beautiful paintings. He dreamed of making an orangerie where he would breed exotic butterflies.

André Rieu is also the god of positive ... Read more

André Rieu is the high priest of the violin, the king of the waltz, and he lives in a castle, a castle in Maastricht where the real D'Artagnan, who Dumas' fictional character was based on, was said to have had his last breakfast before he died in battle serving Louis XIV.

It's a castle that André Rieu as a child used to visit to take piano lessons, but he dreamed of living in the castle, renovating it, making it light, filled with golden chandeliers and beautiful paintings. He dreamed of making an orangerie where he would breed exotic butterflies.

André Rieu is also the god of positive thinking. He dreams it. It comes true. For him it's all written in the rhythms of a waltz and the look in somebody's eye.

Thousands of people now dance to his tune. His concerts are a phenomenon. In a recent visit to Australia tens of thousands queued for eight hours in Brisbane and Melbourne for an autograph. He signed every one.

Since his Johann Strauss Orchestra, with up to 50 musicians, began in 1987 literally millions have swayed and smiled to his pied piper glory. He has sold over 22 million albums. His live shows are an extravaganza of crinolined ladies whose every costume he gives personal approval, fairy tale castles and ice rinks. The most excessive and extravagant show to take on the road. But it is a show built for pleasure.

"If I would ever put down my violin I would be an architect. I am always building." Although he's referring to the renovations on his castle it is a metaphor to how he rebuilt the waltz. "I never say stand up and dance to an audience, they simply do. It's because of the way you might play the Danube." He sings to the tune of Blue Danube, a tired sleepy song, and then he sings it in a different time signature that brings a smile to the face and a tap to the toe.

"I put my heart and feelings into it. I sometimes say on stage, 'I went to the doctor because I have been 30 years on the stage and I have never been ill. The doctor says, Mr Rieu, you are a miracle. Your heart beats in 3/4 time.'"

On the release of Forever Vienna, Rieu announced, "The waltz is a very important part of my life. It is an important way to express my positiveness, my bringing humour to the world. The waltz can be sad and at the same time uplifting, so you have to recognise the uplifting part, as well as seeing life from both sides. The waltz encapsulates that. It's very interesting what a waltz does to an audience. You are in my audience and you let yourself go. You give yourself to me and the waltz will grab you, unless you say, 'No, I don't want to,' then the waltz will not reach you."

So far the waltz has reached all over Europe and Australia. Is there something about the English who don't want to dance? He smiles. "It only took one person to discover The Beatles." That's what Rieu said when his orchestra first started and was being ignored by record companies. It only took one man to believe in him to start a worldwide sensation.

André Rieu, part violinist, part magical thinker. He was born very near to where he now lives. His father was a conductor and he as a boy wanted to be a priest. In a way he is a kind of priest. His desire is to alleviate pain and make everything good in the world.

He started off working in a classical orchestra. "My colleagues only ever spoke about money and union stuff. I was unhappier every day because nobody spoke about music. My wife was a teacher of German and Italian and she said, 'I'll earn the money while you follow your dream.' And that was before my orchestra. So in 1987 we started to rehearse. It was a 14 piece orchestra."

Now he has an empire of which one of his sons is a vice-president. His other son is a painter. He says his sons are opposites. One has his head in the clouds, the other on the ground. "I am in the skies and on the ground. People are always asking me how is it possible to be a businessman and an artist at the same time? My big example is Johann Strauss. He had five orchestras and he wrote fantastic music.”

"I am an incurable optimist. I believe that the music itself heals. When I play here in Maastricht in the big square 12,000 people come every night. It is a small city, so the whole city is blocked, the traffic reorganised. And you might think there might be hundreds of policemen to do all this, but I can tell you there is not one. If there is he will be dancing in the audience, so it does sound like I am a priest." He smiles a full-lipped smile.

He is not a Catholic any more but he feels the priest in him helps him communicate with the audience. That and looking people direct in the eyes as if he is frisking each audience member for their soul.

"For a while I was the black sheep of the family because my mother always said don't look people in the eyes the way you do. But now my audience all feel that I know them personally and looking into somebody's eyes is the best way to know someone."

He met his wife Marjorie when she was 13 and he 11. She was a friend of his sister's. Their first date was when he was 22. “She was smoking cigarettes and I held her ashtray the whole evening. I was very attentive, but then we both gave up smoking."

When I suggest that his life would have taken a different course had either of them decided to give up smoking earlier he says he believes very much in divine coincidence. His big break came because of one goal in a football match.

"It was Ajax against Bayern Munich, so Holland against Germany. We were already selling 250,000 records at this time and we would play in the middle of the grass during the break. We knew if Holland would win it would be fantastic but if they lost it would be terrible. But there was one goal by a Dutch guy and that meant my career exploded. I do believe people work for their own luck. I work like a madman. I never get stressed. I love work and I pour my energy at it and I believe I am capable of changing things. I believe I am capable of making people happy. I remember that feeling of total happiness. I had it when I was a baby and sometimes I remember the windows and the blue sky from when I was a baby and the feeling that goes with it."

Although he travels the world he is never jetlagged. He wills himself not to be. His orchestra travels the world with him and usually stay with him and never want to leave. The man who used to drive the tour buses now drives Rieu himself.

Rieu never listens to music to relax. "Relaxing for me is sleeping. When I hear music I am alive. For me it is not to relax, it is my life. It is always there. Music can touch me as nothing else can. I grew up listening only to classical music. The Rolling Stones and The Beatles went past my head, but now I would say I'm inspired by Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Michael Jackson. We just did two Michael Jackson songs when he died and when I performed the whole square was crying."

There is something unstoppable about Rieu. "I want to play the violin on the moon. I would like people to be moon waltzing. But first of all perhaps we could ask Richard Branson to build a concert hall."

Before the moon he plans to play a concert at the North Pole. "I'm going to make music for the people that live around the North Pole. People from each country will come and we will all play and sing together to get attention for global warming and the fact that the North Pole belongs to us all. I will earn no money but I would very much like for the Polar Bears to waltz. Bears do dance you know, I love bears and I think when they hear the Danube the polar bears will dance."

Rieu is an avid conservationist, breeds exotic plants, and saves forests. He believes in putting back. His Stradivarius violin is worth several million euros and is always with him. It will go to the North Pole and to the peace concert he wants to give in Egypt where Israelis and Palestinians will also waltz together.

Does he sleep with his violin? "No, I sleep with my wife, but the violin is in between. It's 400 years old and it's a responsibility. I'm not afraid to work with it or jump with it but it's always there. I don't see it as a male or female in that romantic way, I see it like a part of my life and part of my body.”

His wife works with him creating the tour, the sets, the costumes, the venues. But she never travels with him on the road. "I am married for 35 years, and you know, because my wife is never with me on the road. I have been touring now for 30 years and I will stay touring for another 60 years." So that will make you 120. I question does he really believe he can live that long? "I don't believe it. It's true. I've never been ill. Music has a healing quality. Scientists have proved that. It's the way we play music. We are not on stage to show how good we are. We are on stage to make people have a wonderful time. It sounds like a cliché, but I know it's true."

With that we waltz into his house of butterflies, electric blue and exquisite orange, they dart and flutter and waltz into eternity.

(2009)

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

André Rieu is the high priest of the violin, the king of the waltz, and he lives in a castle, a castle in Maastricht where the real D'Artagnan, who Dumas' fictional character was based on, was said to have had his last breakfast before he died in battle serving Louis XIV.

It's a castle that André Rieu as a child used to visit to take piano lessons, but he dreamed of living in the castle, renovating it, making it light, filled with golden chandeliers and beautiful paintings. He dreamed of making an orangerie where he would breed exotic butterflies.

André Rieu is also the god of positive thinking. He dreams it. It comes true. For him it's all written in the rhythms of a waltz and the look in somebody's eye.

Thousands of people now dance to his tune. His concerts are a phenomenon. In a recent visit to Australia tens of thousands queued for eight hours in Brisbane and Melbourne for an autograph. He signed every one.

Since his Johann Strauss Orchestra, with up to 50 musicians, began in 1987 literally millions have swayed and smiled to his pied piper glory. He has sold over 22 million albums. His live shows are an extravaganza of crinolined ladies whose every costume he gives personal approval, fairy tale castles and ice rinks. The most excessive and extravagant show to take on the road. But it is a show built for pleasure.

"If I would ever put down my violin I would be an architect. I am always building." Although he's referring to the renovations on his castle it is a metaphor to how he rebuilt the waltz. "I never say stand up and dance to an audience, they simply do. It's because of the way you might play the Danube." He sings to the tune of Blue Danube, a tired sleepy song, and then he sings it in a different time signature that brings a smile to the face and a tap to the toe.

"I put my heart and feelings into it. I sometimes say on stage, 'I went to the doctor because I have been 30 years on the stage and I have never been ill. The doctor says, Mr Rieu, you are a miracle. Your heart beats in 3/4 time.'"

On the release of Forever Vienna, Rieu announced, "The waltz is a very important part of my life. It is an important way to express my positiveness, my bringing humour to the world. The waltz can be sad and at the same time uplifting, so you have to recognise the uplifting part, as well as seeing life from both sides. The waltz encapsulates that. It's very interesting what a waltz does to an audience. You are in my audience and you let yourself go. You give yourself to me and the waltz will grab you, unless you say, 'No, I don't want to,' then the waltz will not reach you."

So far the waltz has reached all over Europe and Australia. Is there something about the English who don't want to dance? He smiles. "It only took one person to discover The Beatles." That's what Rieu said when his orchestra first started and was being ignored by record companies. It only took one man to believe in him to start a worldwide sensation.

André Rieu, part violinist, part magical thinker. He was born very near to where he now lives. His father was a conductor and he as a boy wanted to be a priest. In a way he is a kind of priest. His desire is to alleviate pain and make everything good in the world.

He started off working in a classical orchestra. "My colleagues only ever spoke about money and union stuff. I was unhappier every day because nobody spoke about music. My wife was a teacher of German and Italian and she said, 'I'll earn the money while you follow your dream.' And that was before my orchestra. So in 1987 we started to rehearse. It was a 14 piece orchestra."

Now he has an empire of which one of his sons is a vice-president. His other son is a painter. He says his sons are opposites. One has his head in the clouds, the other on the ground. "I am in the skies and on the ground. People are always asking me how is it possible to be a businessman and an artist at the same time? My big example is Johann Strauss. He had five orchestras and he wrote fantastic music.”

"I am an incurable optimist. I believe that the music itself heals. When I play here in Maastricht in the big square 12,000 people come every night. It is a small city, so the whole city is blocked, the traffic reorganised. And you might think there might be hundreds of policemen to do all this, but I can tell you there is not one. If there is he will be dancing in the audience, so it does sound like I am a priest." He smiles a full-lipped smile.

He is not a Catholic any more but he feels the priest in him helps him communicate with the audience. That and looking people direct in the eyes as if he is frisking each audience member for their soul.

"For a while I was the black sheep of the family because my mother always said don't look people in the eyes the way you do. But now my audience all feel that I know them personally and looking into somebody's eyes is the best way to know someone."

He met his wife Marjorie when she was 13 and he 11. She was a friend of his sister's. Their first date was when he was 22. “She was smoking cigarettes and I held her ashtray the whole evening. I was very attentive, but then we both gave up smoking."

When I suggest that his life would have taken a different course had either of them decided to give up smoking earlier he says he believes very much in divine coincidence. His big break came because of one goal in a football match.

"It was Ajax against Bayern Munich, so Holland against Germany. We were already selling 250,000 records at this time and we would play in the middle of the grass during the break. We knew if Holland would win it would be fantastic but if they lost it would be terrible. But there was one goal by a Dutch guy and that meant my career exploded. I do believe people work for their own luck. I work like a madman. I never get stressed. I love work and I pour my energy at it and I believe I am capable of changing things. I believe I am capable of making people happy. I remember that feeling of total happiness. I had it when I was a baby and sometimes I remember the windows and the blue sky from when I was a baby and the feeling that goes with it."

Although he travels the world he is never jetlagged. He wills himself not to be. His orchestra travels the world with him and usually stay with him and never want to leave. The man who used to drive the tour buses now drives Rieu himself.

Rieu never listens to music to relax. "Relaxing for me is sleeping. When I hear music I am alive. For me it is not to relax, it is my life. It is always there. Music can touch me as nothing else can. I grew up listening only to classical music. The Rolling Stones and The Beatles went past my head, but now I would say I'm inspired by Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Michael Jackson. We just did two Michael Jackson songs when he died and when I performed the whole square was crying."

There is something unstoppable about Rieu. "I want to play the violin on the moon. I would like people to be moon waltzing. But first of all perhaps we could ask Richard Branson to build a concert hall."

Before the moon he plans to play a concert at the North Pole. "I'm going to make music for the people that live around the North Pole. People from each country will come and we will all play and sing together to get attention for global warming and the fact that the North Pole belongs to us all. I will earn no money but I would very much like for the Polar Bears to waltz. Bears do dance you know, I love bears and I think when they hear the Danube the polar bears will dance."

Rieu is an avid conservationist, breeds exotic plants, and saves forests. He believes in putting back. His Stradivarius violin is worth several million euros and is always with him. It will go to the North Pole and to the peace concert he wants to give in Egypt where Israelis and Palestinians will also waltz together.

Does he sleep with his violin? "No, I sleep with my wife, but the violin is in between. It's 400 years old and it's a responsibility. I'm not afraid to work with it or jump with it but it's always there. I don't see it as a male or female in that romantic way, I see it like a part of my life and part of my body.”

His wife works with him creating the tour, the sets, the costumes, the venues. But she never travels with him on the road. "I am married for 35 years, and you know, because my wife is never with me on the road. I have been touring now for 30 years and I will stay touring for another 60 years." So that will make you 120. I question does he really believe he can live that long? "I don't believe it. It's true. I've never been ill. Music has a healing quality. Scientists have proved that. It's the way we play music. We are not on stage to show how good we are. We are on stage to make people have a wonderful time. It sounds like a cliché, but I know it's true."

With that we waltz into his house of butterflies, electric blue and exquisite orange, they dart and flutter and waltz into eternity.

(2009)

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

André Rieu is the high priest of the violin, the king of the waltz, and he lives in a castle, a castle in Maastricht where the real D'Artagnan, who Dumas' fictional character was based on, was said to have had his last breakfast before he died in battle serving Louis XIV.

It's a castle that André Rieu as a child used to visit to take piano lessons, but he dreamed of living in the castle, renovating it, making it light, filled with golden chandeliers and beautiful paintings. He dreamed of making an orangerie where he would breed exotic butterflies.

André Rieu is also the god of positive thinking. He dreams it. It comes true. For him it's all written in the rhythms of a waltz and the look in somebody's eye.

Thousands of people now dance to his tune. His concerts are a phenomenon. In a recent visit to Australia tens of thousands queued for eight hours in Brisbane and Melbourne for an autograph. He signed every one.

Since his Johann Strauss Orchestra, with up to 50 musicians, began in 1987 literally millions have swayed and smiled to his pied piper glory. He has sold over 22 million albums. His live shows are an extravaganza of crinolined ladies whose every costume he gives personal approval, fairy tale castles and ice rinks. The most excessive and extravagant show to take on the road. But it is a show built for pleasure.

"If I would ever put down my violin I would be an architect. I am always building." Although he's referring to the renovations on his castle it is a metaphor to how he rebuilt the waltz. "I never say stand up and dance to an audience, they simply do. It's because of the way you might play the Danube." He sings to the tune of Blue Danube, a tired sleepy song, and then he sings it in a different time signature that brings a smile to the face and a tap to the toe.

"I put my heart and feelings into it. I sometimes say on stage, 'I went to the doctor because I have been 30 years on the stage and I have never been ill. The doctor says, Mr Rieu, you are a miracle. Your heart beats in 3/4 time.'"

On the release of Forever Vienna, Rieu announced, "The waltz is a very important part of my life. It is an important way to express my positiveness, my bringing humour to the world. The waltz can be sad and at the same time uplifting, so you have to recognise the uplifting part, as well as seeing life from both sides. The waltz encapsulates that. It's very interesting what a waltz does to an audience. You are in my audience and you let yourself go. You give yourself to me and the waltz will grab you, unless you say, 'No, I don't want to,' then the waltz will not reach you."

So far the waltz has reached all over Europe and Australia. Is there something about the English who don't want to dance? He smiles. "It only took one person to discover The Beatles." That's what Rieu said when his orchestra first started and was being ignored by record companies. It only took one man to believe in him to start a worldwide sensation.

André Rieu, part violinist, part magical thinker. He was born very near to where he now lives. His father was a conductor and he as a boy wanted to be a priest. In a way he is a kind of priest. His desire is to alleviate pain and make everything good in the world.

He started off working in a classical orchestra. "My colleagues only ever spoke about money and union stuff. I was unhappier every day because nobody spoke about music. My wife was a teacher of German and Italian and she said, 'I'll earn the money while you follow your dream.' And that was before my orchestra. So in 1987 we started to rehearse. It was a 14 piece orchestra."

Now he has an empire of which one of his sons is a vice-president. His other son is a painter. He says his sons are opposites. One has his head in the clouds, the other on the ground. "I am in the skies and on the ground. People are always asking me how is it possible to be a businessman and an artist at the same time? My big example is Johann Strauss. He had five orchestras and he wrote fantastic music.”

"I am an incurable optimist. I believe that the music itself heals. When I play here in Maastricht in the big square 12,000 people come every night. It is a small city, so the whole city is blocked, the traffic reorganised. And you might think there might be hundreds of policemen to do all this, but I can tell you there is not one. If there is he will be dancing in the audience, so it does sound like I am a priest." He smiles a full-lipped smile.

He is not a Catholic any more but he feels the priest in him helps him communicate with the audience. That and looking people direct in the eyes as if he is frisking each audience member for their soul.

"For a while I was the black sheep of the family because my mother always said don't look people in the eyes the way you do. But now my audience all feel that I know them personally and looking into somebody's eyes is the best way to know someone."

He met his wife Marjorie when she was 13 and he 11. She was a friend of his sister's. Their first date was when he was 22. “She was smoking cigarettes and I held her ashtray the whole evening. I was very attentive, but then we both gave up smoking."

When I suggest that his life would have taken a different course had either of them decided to give up smoking earlier he says he believes very much in divine coincidence. His big break came because of one goal in a football match.

"It was Ajax against Bayern Munich, so Holland against Germany. We were already selling 250,000 records at this time and we would play in the middle of the grass during the break. We knew if Holland would win it would be fantastic but if they lost it would be terrible. But there was one goal by a Dutch guy and that meant my career exploded. I do believe people work for their own luck. I work like a madman. I never get stressed. I love work and I pour my energy at it and I believe I am capable of changing things. I believe I am capable of making people happy. I remember that feeling of total happiness. I had it when I was a baby and sometimes I remember the windows and the blue sky from when I was a baby and the feeling that goes with it."

Although he travels the world he is never jetlagged. He wills himself not to be. His orchestra travels the world with him and usually stay with him and never want to leave. The man who used to drive the tour buses now drives Rieu himself.

Rieu never listens to music to relax. "Relaxing for me is sleeping. When I hear music I am alive. For me it is not to relax, it is my life. It is always there. Music can touch me as nothing else can. I grew up listening only to classical music. The Rolling Stones and The Beatles went past my head, but now I would say I'm inspired by Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Michael Jackson. We just did two Michael Jackson songs when he died and when I performed the whole square was crying."

There is something unstoppable about Rieu. "I want to play the violin on the moon. I would like people to be moon waltzing. But first of all perhaps we could ask Richard Branson to build a concert hall."

Before the moon he plans to play a concert at the North Pole. "I'm going to make music for the people that live around the North Pole. People from each country will come and we will all play and sing together to get attention for global warming and the fact that the North Pole belongs to us all. I will earn no money but I would very much like for the Polar Bears to waltz. Bears do dance you know, I love bears and I think when they hear the Danube the polar bears will dance."

Rieu is an avid conservationist, breeds exotic plants, and saves forests. He believes in putting back. His Stradivarius violin is worth several million euros and is always with him. It will go to the North Pole and to the peace concert he wants to give in Egypt where Israelis and Palestinians will also waltz together.

Does he sleep with his violin? "No, I sleep with my wife, but the violin is in between. It's 400 years old and it's a responsibility. I'm not afraid to work with it or jump with it but it's always there. I don't see it as a male or female in that romantic way, I see it like a part of my life and part of my body.”

His wife works with him creating the tour, the sets, the costumes, the venues. But she never travels with him on the road. "I am married for 35 years, and you know, because my wife is never with me on the road. I have been touring now for 30 years and I will stay touring for another 60 years." So that will make you 120. I question does he really believe he can live that long? "I don't believe it. It's true. I've never been ill. Music has a healing quality. Scientists have proved that. It's the way we play music. We are not on stage to show how good we are. We are on stage to make people have a wonderful time. It sounds like a cliché, but I know it's true."

With that we waltz into his house of butterflies, electric blue and exquisite orange, they dart and flutter and waltz into eternity.

(2009)

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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