Early life and studies
André Rieu was born into a musical family on October 1, 1949 in Maastricht in the Netherlands. He began studying violin at the age of five. His father was a conductor. From a very young age he developed a fascination with orchestra. He studied violin at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège and in the Conservatorium Maastricht, (1968–1973). His teachers included Jo Juda and Herman Krebbers. From 1974 to 1977, he attended the Music Academy in Brussels, studying with André Gertler, winning the Premier Prix at the academy.
At University he performed the Gold And Silver Waltz by Franz Lehár. Encouraged by the audience reaction he decided to pursue the waltz form. Rieu formed the Maastricht Salon Orchestra and performed as a violinist with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, he created the Johann Strauss Orchestra and his own production company. Since then, his melodramatic stage performances and rock-star demeanor have for some been associated with a revival of the waltz music category. André Rieu plays a 1667 Stradivarius violin.
In April 2009 (Australia) /June 2009 (UK), he made a cameo appearance as himself on “Ramsay Street” in the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours.
Johann Strauss Orchestra
The Orchestra began in 1987 with 12 members but now performs with between 40 and 50 musicians. At the time the Orchestra first toured Europe, there emerged a renewed interest in waltz music. The revival began in the Netherlands and was ignited by their recording of the Second Waltz from Shostakovich’s Jazz Suites. As a result, Rieu became known as the waltz King.
Rieu and his orchestra have performed throughout Europe, in North America, and Japan. Winning a number of awards including two World Music Awards, their recordings have gone gold and platinum in many countries, including 8-times Platinum in the Netherlands. In September 2007 Rieu performed in Australia for the first time solo, without his Orchestra at the Eastland shopping centre in the Melbourne suburb of Ringwood playing “My Way” and “Waltzing Matilda”—and the next day appeared at Sydney’s Arena Cove, Warringah Mall shopping complex with the same set. Rieu and orchestra returned to Australia in November as part of his world tour. Rieu and his orchestra played 3 concerts at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome from 13-15 November and continued their tour throughout Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, through to December 2008. The concert theme is ‘A Romantic Vienna Night’ and the set comprises a replica of part of a Viennese castle, complete with 2 ice-skating rinks 2 Fountains, and a ballroom dance floor situated above and behind the Orchestra. Rieu’s largest concert attendance to date in Australia was 38,000 on Saturday 15th November in Melbourne. The Perth concert did not feature the replica of the Viennese Palace as it was stated in the press because it would not fit into the front doors of Subiaco Oval.
He records both DVD and CD repertoire at his own recording studios in Maastricht in a wide range of classical music as well as popular and folk music plus music from well-known sound tracks and theatre musicals. His lively orchestral presentations, in tandem with incessant marketing, have attracted worldwide audiences to this subgenre of classical music.
Some of his orchestra’s performances have been broadcast in the United Kingdom and the United States on the PBS television network such as the 2003 airing of Andre Rieu Live in Dublin, filmed in Dublin, Ireland, and 2005’s André Rieu Live in Tuscany filmed in the Piazza Della Repubblica in the village of Cortona in Tuscany.
The artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti, has called Rieu’s music Schlagermusik, among other things.
Eamon Kelly writing in The Australian newspaper, in an article that discusses the controversy that Rieu engenders, said: “He depicts his critics as members of a stuffy musical elite with narrow aesthetic tastes, yet regularly demeans in interviews music that is not to his taste and classical musicians who choose not to perform in his manner.”
He is married to Marjorie, who works with him full-time as production manager, and has two sons, Marc and Pierre. He speaks (in order of fluency) Dutch (including his home/city dialect Maastrichtian), English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Rieu has worked with his brother, Jean Philippe for several years, but Jean Philippe has now started his own production company.
The Best of André Rieu (2009) – Australian Albums: #23
Masterpieces (2009) – Australian Albums: #9
You’ll Never Walk Alone (2009) – Australian Albums: #2
Live in Australia (2008) – Australian Albums: #14
Waltzing Matilda (2008) – Australian Albums: #1
The 100 Most Beautiful Melodies (2008) – Australian Albums: #2
In Wonderland (2007)
Live in Vienna (2007)
Auf Schönbrunn (2006)
New York Memories (2006)
Songs from My Heart (2005)
Christmas Around the World (2005)
Live in Tuscany (2004)
The Flying Dutchman (2004)
New Year’s Eve in Vienna (2003)
André Rieu at the Movies (2003)
Live in Dublin (2003)
Romantic Paradise (2003)
Maastricht Salon Orkest – Serenata (2003)
Love Around the World (2002)
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2001)
Musik Zum Träumen (2001)
La Vie Est Belle (2000)
100 Years of Strauss (1999)
Romantic Moments (1998)
Waltzes (1998, re-edited in November 1999)
The Christmas I Love (1997)
The Vienna I Love (1997)
In Concert (1996)
Strauss gala (1995)
D’n blauwen aovond (1995)
Hieringe biete 1 & 2 (1995)
Strauss & Co (1994)
Hieringe biete (1993)
Merry Christmas (1992)
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