Biography


 
1949
 
André is born under the sign of Libra as his parents’ third child. His parents and their two young daughters had moved from Amsterdam to Maastricht shortly before. (André later got two brothers and another sister). To the present day, André Rieu has been at home in the beautiful capital of the Dutch Province of Limburg, namely in Maastricht.
       
  1954   André, his brothers and sisters grow up exclusively with classical music: symphonies, chamber music and opera. Encouraged by his father, a professional conductor, André starts taking violin lessons at the age of five. A.R.:"I had great difficulty concentrating at the start. That was because my violin teacher was so beautiful and so blonde that I fell in love with her and stared at her all the time, instead of listening to her instructions!"
       
  1967   After leaving grammar school, the talented young man first continues his musical training on the violin at the conservatoire in Liège and later in Maastricht (until 1973).His teachers are Jo Juda and Herman Krebbers.
       
  1974   André Rieu moves to the conservatoire in Brussels, where he receives violin tuition from André Gertier.
       
  1975   Still a student, André marries his "great love", Marjorie.
       
  1977   André Rieu concludes his musical training with distinction (Premier Prix) at the conservatoire in Brussels.
       
   1978    Their first son is born. His name is Marc. In the same year, André Rieu founds his first orchestra, the Maastricht Salon Orchestra, with which he appears in the Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany and even the United States. At the same time (until 1989) he is engaged as a violinist in the Limburg Symphony Orchestra.
       
   1981    André's and Marjorie's second son, Pierre, is born.
       
   1987    André recruits his Johann Strauss Orchestra. A.R.:"At that time, we rehearsed for 6 months before getting started. There were just twelve musicians in the beginning. Today, there are 43, and sometimes even 50 on very large stages. "In the same year, the new orchestra leader and his wife found the André Rieu Productions company.
       
   1988    New Year's Day is the big moment: André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra give their first public concert. This is soon followed by brief tours, also through the Benelux countries and the Federal Republic of Germany.
       
   1994    The "From Holland with Love" album is released in the Netherlands and something happened that no one would have thought possible: "From Holland with Love" triggers a waltz wave in the tiny country.A.R.: "This CD was the definitive breakthrough for me. One of the pieces on it is the "Second Waltz", a beautiful, very melancholy waltz. Really, the piece is called 'Waltz No. 2 from Jazz Suite No. 2' by Dmitry Shostakovich, but itwould probably never have been a hit with a title like that. Marjorie came up with the name 'Second Waltz' at the time, and that's what it became famous as. "From Holland with Love" soon headed the Top 100 in the Netherlands. The album stayed in the Top 10 for more than a year!
       
   1995    At an international football match in Amsterdam stadium, the smart man from Maastricht fills the half-time interval with the "Second Waltz". The fans in the stands sway in time with the music and hum along enthusiastically, as do the TV viewers. While Ajax eventually wins the match against Bayern München, André Rieu gains thousands of new followers. After an initial concert in Hamburg's Musikhalle and several television appearances, the "From Holland with Love" album is also released in Germany, where it instantly heads for the charts and gets into the Top 5 with ease. It stays for months in the weekly hit list compiled by Media Control and receives several gold and platinum disks.
       
   1996    André Rieu is dubbed the "Modern King of Waltz" by the media and next launches the "The Vienna I love" and the live "In Concert" albums on the European music market. Again, he can assert himself in the charts in many countries, even against international pop icons like Madonna, for example. A.R. on "The Vienna I Love": "The album 'The Vienna I Love' contains two violin solos that I particularly enjoy playing: the spirited gipsy melody 'Hör ich Zimbalklänge' and the 'Méditation' from the opera Thais by Jules Massenet. I've been playing the latter piece for about 20 years now, but I still find it a fascinating melody. And when I'm on the stage, I can always very clearly sense that it goes straight to the audience's heart as well. Of course, that motivates and inspires me! A.R. on "In Concert": "A live CD is always something very special, I think. You really get to feel the atmosphere that filled the auditorium. 'In Concert' was recorded at the Concertgebouw in Haarlem, a wonderful concert hall with a magnificent audience. Also in 1996, André Rieu received the World Music Award in Monte Carlo.
       
  1997     A year of hard work: André Rieu has little time for his private life and family, as he is permanently on the road with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. An extensive concert tour takes the charming orchestra leader and his musicians across half of Europe. Still, he takes the time to record "The Christmas I love" and thus fulfill a personal musical wish: "When making this CD, we chose the songs that I've heard at Christmas from my childhood on. They very much remind me of Christmas at home with my parents and of the many, many midnight masses I sang in as a choirboy…"
       
   1998    On the "Romantic Moments" album, the "King of Waltz" puts the emphasis on dreamy, romantic melodies. The tone is set by the "Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet". In addition, André Rieu this time comes up with classical pieces, such as the "Etude op.10" by Chopin, Mozart's "Adagio" and the melancholy "Far From Home Largo" from the From the New World symphony by Antonín Dvorák.A.R. on "Romantic Moments": This CD is totally different from all the others. I like listening to that kind of music when I have time to dream. Although I lead a fairly hectic life, I'm a romantic person at heart and love peace and quiet. Antonin Dvorak's music really puts me in a happy, contented mood."
       
   1999    To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Johann Strauss (3 June), André Rieu brings out the "100 Years of Strauss" album. "I have such great admiration for this composer that I simply had to honour him with this album!" Finally, André and his orchestra take their leave of the millennium with the CD entitled "Celebration".
       
   2000    A.R. on "La vie est belle": Composing is something I've really been doing all my life. As a child, I tried to invent pretty melodies, first for the violin and then also for the piano. This is the first time that I've released a waltz on CD that I composed together with my brother, Jean-Philippe: La vie est belle!"
       
   2001    First tour in Japan. Construction of our own recording studio - allowing us to produce CDs, videos, DVDs and specials all by ourselves right from the start. The first product made in our own studio, 'Dreaming', proves a great success!
       
   2002    André's son Pierre joins the business, with responsibility for all technical production aspects of the concerts and recordings. The second product from our own studio, 'Walzertraum' is issued in 7 versions all over the world!
       
   2003    The tour in Japan is extended to include 17 concerts in 11 different Japanese cities. As André is celebrating 25 years on the stage, an anniversary CD is released in the autumn: Romantic Paradise. To include his fans in the celebrations, André makes Romantic Paradise into a double CD, one of the two CDs being a gift. The CDs are enormously successful. The Romantic Paradise Special is recorded in the Italian town of Cortona. André invites his fans to come from all over the world to attend the recordings for the special - three concerts - all for free! Later in the same year, preparations begin for a tour of the USA and Canada, planned for April/May 2004.
       
   2004    Early in 2004 the Romantic Paradise Special is nominated for the Rose d'or. In July, André gives a spectacular concert for an audience of 18,000 in the Parkstad Limburg Stadium in Kerkrade. This performance results in a CD and a DVD: The Flying Dutchman.
       
   2005    After the traditional New Year’s Day concert in the Cologne Arena on 1 January and a successful winter tour of Germany, Austria and France, in the spring of 2005 the ‘Flying Dutchman’ flies with his orchestra to the USA and Canada for an extensive tour of 19 concerts. After another successful tour, André shakes his home town of Maastricht to its foundations with three fabulous summer concerts on the Vrijthof Square. A CD and DVD of these concerts will be coming out later on this year.
       
   2006    The year 2006 began in the traditional way, with a winter tour in Germany. In March, André was touring in France and in April and May he was back in the USA and Canada. The tour included 25 cities, making this the biggest USA/Canada tour ever! In July the brand-new André Rieu office opened in New York. That month also turned out to be the busiest month ever. In Vienna a fabulous special was recorded on the square in front of Schönbrunn Palace; it turned out to be the biggest production ever undertaken within the André Rieu concern. Within a week André was waltzing his home town of Maastricht off its feet with three midsummer night concerts ending with a special appearance from the Harlem Gospel Choir. One week after that the same choir joined André on the stage in their own home town, New York, where a second special was recorded in the famous Radio City Music Hall. That evening André and his orchestra won the hearts of thousands of Americans in just a few hours, raising the roof of New York’s famous theatre. Both specials appeared on DVD; the new CD reflected the New York special. September 2006: 4 concerts in Tokyo. October, November, December: concerts on the west coast of the USA, in Canada, Germany and Belgium. André Rieu is living up to his nickname of the Flying Dutchman more than ever before!
       
   2007    A report of the 2006 American tour was broadcast on Dutch television as a series of six programmes from January. Later these were issued as a DVD entitled ‘André Rieu on his way to New York’. The German TV station ZDF broadcast a musical special: ‘Meine Welt ist die Musik’, showing André in Tuscany, Venice, Vienna, Paris and Maastricht. This German musical special came out as a DVD later in the year with the title ‘Romance’. In March André Rieu and his orchestra toured through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and France, followed by a spring tour through America and Canada. As in previous years, once again André gave a number of summer evening concerts at the Vrijthof square in Maastricht. September saw André Rieu performing with the Harlem Gospel Choir at the Gelredome in Arnhem. A concert at the Efteling amusement park was broadcast in two parts on German and Dutch television. A reality TV show was made about the preparations for this special. In the autumn André Rieu visited Australia to promote his 2008 concerts, which brought on real Rieu mania: in October André became the first artist in history to have 9 DVDs in the top 10! Next the double CD and DVD ‘In Wonderland’ was recorded in the Efteling amusement park. On 14 and 15 December André Rieu performed at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada, the largest indoor stadium in the world, in a Viennese evening set in a reproduction of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. This was the kick-off for the big ‘World Stadium Tour: A Romantic Vienna Night’.
       
   2008    The grand World Stadium Tour ‘A Romantic Vienna Night’ came to Europe too! With a set featuring a life-size replica of the imperial Schönbrunn Palace (the world’s biggest mobile stage) André Rieu and his Johan Strauss Orchestra performed together with more than 250 artists in Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels. The concerts were a great success. The concerts featured the Platinum Tenors, the Vienna State Opera Ballet, 80 Vienna Debutantes, the golden coach with the Empress Sisi and Emperor Franz-Joseph and the Vienna Figure Skating Association. In March André Rieu set a new record in Australia when the millionth item was sold. Australia is entirely under the spell of André Rieu. On 7 April 2008 André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra received the golden Medal of Honour from Mayor Gerd Leers of Maastricht – the greatest distinction the city can offer. The autumn was all about Australia. Rieu broke record after record with sales of his CDs and especially DVDs. He was the most successful artist in 2007 and in 2008, with more than 2 million copies sold by the end of 2008. From mid November Rieu toured Australia with more than 500 people, taking the replica Schönbrunn Palace with them. Almost 300,000 people came to his concerts ‘down under’. The Melbourne concert, attended by more than 38,000, was broadcast live on Australian and Dutch television. The DVD ‘Live in Australia’ was released worldwide. 2008 was a top year for André Rieu and his orchestra. At the end of the year he was the only classical musician in the top ten of the Pollstar list – the important annual ranking of best-selling worldwide touring acts. The only artists above the King of Waltz were big names like Madonna and The Police.
       
 

2009 

 

 Following tradition, 2009 began with the successful New Year concerts in the Köln Arena, followed by a tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In March a Japanese tour was planned. For April, May and June, Rieu again did a tour of America and Canada for 24 concerts. At the end of 2009, Rieu did Australia, this time with an arena tour through all the big cities. By the end of January the tour was practically sold out. In the cities of Melbourne and Sydney there was the possibility of extra concerts. André turned 60 and became a grandfather no less than three times! He rose 2 places to number 6 in the Billboard Chart for best-selling tours worldwide. In America he was again the best-selling classical artist of the year. In December André performed alongside artists such as Lady Gaga & Michael Bublé for Queen Elizabeth II of England.
 

 

 

 
   2010  

 Following the performance for the British queen, this year André also performed for the Dutch Queen Beatrix in the caves of Valkenburg. This was on the occasion of the 125-year anniversary of the Dutch tourist office organisation (VVV). In April, André conquered South Africa. In spite of a difficult departure from Europe due to ‘volcanic ash’ it was a successful tour with concerts in Sun City, Durban and Cape Town. Also this year a soap opera was produced about the preparations from this South African tour; “André Rieu on the road to South Africa”. In January, André broke the 20 year old record set by Nigel Kennedy in England by being the first artist to reach no. 2 in the pop charts with a classical album. André preformed at the Classical BRIT Awards and an English tour is planned for September. As if this wasn’t enough, there are another 2 tours planned in the US and Canada this year, a tour in Australia and New Zealand, and he is giving no less than 8 concerts at the Vrijthof in Maastricht. On June 11 a TV special was made on the German ‘flower island’ Mainau. Although this year is only half over, André has already received a number of honours including a Multi Platinum Award in South Africa and the European culture prize (Medaille Charlemagne) for bringing so many people together.

In august André is felled by a viral infection. For the first time in his 32-year career he must cancel concerts due to illness. In November he resumes his tour with a concert in Antwerp followed by his first Mexico tour.

    
 2011 In the first months André and the JSO give concert in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark. From the beginning of March they start to catch up the rescheduled concerts in South Africa, Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and 2 sold out stadium concerts in Amsterdam.  André releases the DVD Fiesta Mexicana! – a documentary and concert of his 2010 Mexico tour. In July the book André Rieu: The person behind the phenomenon is released. It is made by Dutch top photographer Govert de Roos, who describes the book as “A journey of 1000 days with André Rieu”.  In April André get's a phone call from Anthony Hopkins – The Academy Award-winning actor has written music for many years, but composed his latest piece “And The Waltz Goes On” with Rieu specifically in mind to perform it. Rieu was so enthusiastic about the work that he immediately set plans in motion to record it,  moving Hopkins’ wife to tears during the initial performance of the tune.   “I’ve been a great admirer of André Rieu for several years. He’s a great musician. My wife and I had the same dream of meeting him one day, so I’ve send him some music that I wrote. It’s a dream come true for me that André performed it with his orchestra. I’m totally knocked out by the result. It’s even more than I expected!” says Anthony Hopkins about his cooperation with André Rieu.  Sir Anthony Hopkins and his wife flew in a private jet to Maastricht to attend André's hometown concerts  where he performed it for the first time for such a large crowd. Rieu included the waltz on his new DVD and album and performed it on his USA, Canada and Mexico tours in the fall.  In september André started with the recordings for his new christmas special “Home for the Holidays” which was shown on German television in December.
 













 




















 

 

 

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