André Rieu

André Rieu

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André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu (born 1 October 1949) is a Dutch violinist, conductor, and composer best known for creating the waltz
Waltz (music)
A waltz, or valse from the French term, is a piece of music in triple meter, most often written in time signature but sometimes in 3/8 or 3/2...

-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra
Johann Strauss Orchestra
The Johann Strauss Orchestra was founded by André Rieu in 1987. At the time of its first concert on January 1, 1988 the orchestra consisted of 12 musicians. In 2008 the orchestra has expanded to 43 members and performs regularly with guest musicians and singers such as Mirusia Louwerse, Carmen...


Early life and studies

The name Rieu is of French Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

 origin. He began studying violin at the age of five. His father, of the same name, was conductor of the Maastricht Symphony Orchestra. From a very young age he developed a fascination with orchestra. He studied violin at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège
Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium....

 and at the Conservatorium Maastricht
Conservatorium Maastricht
The Maastricht Academy of Music, Dutch: Conservatorium Maastricht, located in the city of Maastricht, is one of nine music academies in the Netherlands...

, (1968–1973). His teachers included Jo Juda and Herman Krebbers
Herman Krebbers
Herman Krebbers is a Dutch violinist.Born in Hengelo, Overijssel, Krebbers studied in Amsterdam with Oskar Back. In 1943, the 19 year-old violinist debuted with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and eventually became the Orchestra's Concertmaster in 1962.In parallel he led a shining career as a...

. From 1974 to 1977, he attended the Music Academy in Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, studying with André Gertler
André Gertler
André Gertler was a classical violinist and teacher.Born in Budapest, Hungary, he fled the country under the Nazis. He was a teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Music, in Brussels, Belgium....

, getting his degree "Premier Prix" from the Brussels Royal Conservatory.


At University he performed the Gold And Silver Waltz by Franz Lehár
Franz Lehár
Franz Lehár was an Austrian-Hungarian composer. He is mainly known for his operettas of which the most successful and best known is The Merry Widow .-Biography:...

. Encouraged by the audience reaction he decided to pursue the waltz
The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in time, performed primarily in closed position.- History :There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance,- a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim...

 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
Johann Strauss Orchestra
The Johann Strauss Orchestra was founded by André Rieu in 1987. At the time of its first concert on January 1, 1988 the orchestra consisted of 12 musicians. In 2008 the orchestra has expanded to 43 members and performs regularly with guest musicians and singers such as Mirusia Louwerse, Carmen...

 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
The name Stradivarius is associated with violins built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or reproduce, though this belief is controversial...


In April 2009 (Australia)/June 2009 (UK), he made a cameo appearance as himself on "Ramsay Street
Ramsay Street
Ramsay Street is the fictional cul-de-sac in which the characters of the Australian soap opera Neighbours live. The street is set in the equally fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough. Neighbours storylines primarily centre around the residents of the Street, which was named after the...

" in the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours
Neighbours is an Australian television soap opera first broadcast on the Seven Network on 18 March 1985. It was created by TV executive Reg Watson, who proposed the idea of making a show that focused on realistic stories and portrayed adults and teenagers who talk openly and solve their problems...


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
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

'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
World Music Awards
The World Music Awards is an international awards show founded in 1989 that annually honors recording artists based on worldwide sales figures provided by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry . John Martinotti is an executive producer and co-founder of the show...

, 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
My Way (song)
"My Way" is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song "Comme d'habitude" composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux, with lyrics by Claude François and Gilles Thibault. Anka's English lyrics are unrelated to the...

" and "Waltzing Matilda
Waltzing Matilda
"Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's most widely known bush ballad. A country folk song, the song has been referred to as "the unofficial national anthem of Australia"....

"—and the next day appeared at Sydney's Arena Cove, Warringah Mashopping 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
Telstra Dome
Docklands Stadium is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia...

 from 13–15 November and continued their tour throughout Perth
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

, Sydney, Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

 and Adelaide
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Adelaide has an estimated population of more than 1.2 million...

, through to December 2008. The concert theme is 'A Romantic Vienna Night' and the set comprises a life-size reproduction of the Viennese imperial Schönbrunn Palace, 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 15 November in Melbourne. The Perth
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

 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
Subiaco Oval
Subiaco Oval , known colloquially as Subi, is the highest capacity sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia...


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
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 and folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 plus music from well-known soundtracks and musical theatre. 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
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 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
Cortona is a town and comune in the province of Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy. It is the main cultural and artistic center of the Val di Chiana after Arezzo.-History:...

 in Tuscany.


Rieu's recorded music and live performances have been a cause of controversy in the music and popular press. He has attracted criticism from the artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra
Australian Chamber Orchestra
The Australian Chamber Orchestra was founded by cellist John Painter in 1975. Richard Tognetti was appointed Lead Violin in 1989 and subsequently appointed Artistic Director....

, Richard Tognetti
Richard Tognetti
Richard Leo Tognetti, AO is an Australian violinist, composer and conductor. He is currently Artistic Director and Leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Maribor Festival in Maribor, Slovenia....

, who called Rieu's music Schlager
Schlager music is a style of popular music prevalent in Central and Northern Europe and the Balkans and also in France and Poland. In Portugal, it was adapted and became pimba music...

musik, among other things.

Eamon Kelly writing in The Australian
The Australian
The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. The editor in chief is Chris Mitchell, the editor is Clive Mathieson and the 'editor-at-large' is Paul Kelly....

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."

Of Rieu's popularity and the debate in the media over criticism of him, Eamon Kelly says:

It is disappointing to see professional journalists indulging in cheap, inaccurate stereotypes to dismiss criticism of Rieu.

But he goes on to add:

Equally misguided are those who cursorily dismiss Rieu. Rieu's live and recorded performances have brought joy to millions of people. Few in his audiences are regular classical music attendees and it could be seen as promising that, via Rieu, they are listening to standards of the classical canon. The fact that Rieu's focus is on highly accessible, enjoyable repertoire is not an argument against his musical credentials.

Eamon Kelly further adds, after hearing the orchestra perform, that there is "no cause" for Rieu's boast his orchestra was "superior to the many other orchestras that specialise in ... Viennese and popular classical repertoire." Additionally, he found that in musical terms "the performance did not surpass playing standards in Australia's major symphony orchestras". He did add that the "oboist, Arthur Cordewener, provided the most impressive musical performance with a sublime introduction to an otherwise unremarkable performance of [Ravel's] Boléro
Boléro is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel . Originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein, the piece, which premiered in 1928, is Ravel's most famous musical composition....


David Templeton, writing in the magazine All Things Strings says:

Ironically, it is Rieu’s own success that has earned him a horse-drawn carriage full of criticism, a pot-shot laden backlash aimed chiefly at the calculated emotionalism and theatrical flourishes of his performances, which, according to many, only cheapen the classical-music experience. Classical radio stations avoid his music as they might avoid a leper in the mall, though—let’s just say it plain and clear—Rieu is a superb violinist.

Chris Boyd, a critic writing for Melbourne's Herald Sun
Herald Sun
The Herald Sun is a morning tabloid newspaper based in Melbourne, Australia. It is published by The Herald and Weekly Times, a subsidiary of News Limited, itself a subsidiary of News Corporation. It is available for purchase throughout Melbourne, Regional Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital...

newspaper, finds that he could not give a general criticism of the playing of Rieu, as, except for "a clean and lyrical solo in Waltzing Matilda", his main stage function was apparently "blarney and delegation". However, Boyd also comments that the quality of the artists that Rieu works with is "extraordinary". Boyd assesses the low points of the concert as the "Three Tenors
The Three Tenors
The Three Tenors is a name given to the Spanish singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras and the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti who sang in concert under this banner during the 1990s and early 2000s. The trio began their collaboration with a performance at the ancient Baths of Caracalla, in...

-style" rendition of "Nessun dorma
Nessun dorma
Nessun dorma is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot, and is one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. It is sung by Calaf, il principe ignoto , who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot...

" which he finds was an "abomination", while saying the concert's highlights included "a sugar-shock sweet rendition" of "O mio babbino caro
O mio babbino caro
"O mio babbino caro" is a soprano aria from the opera Gianni Schicchi , by Giacomo Puccini, to a libretto by Giovacchino Forzano. It is sung by Lauretta after tensions between her father Schicchi and the family of Rinuccio, the boy she loves, have reached a breaking point that threatens to...

" as well as Strauss's Emperor Waltz
Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437 is a waltz composed by Johann Strauss II in 1889. The waltz was originally titled Hand in Hand and was intended as a toast made in August of that year by Austrian emperor Franz Josef on the occasion of his visit to the German Kaiser Wilhelm II where it was symbolic as a...

and Blue Danube
The Blue Danube
The Blue Danube is the common English title of An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314 , a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866...

, Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary
Prince of Denmark's March
The Prince of Denmark's March, commonly but erroneously called the Trumpet Voluntary, is a musical composition written circa. 1700, by English baroque composer Jeremiah Clarke .-Composition:For many years the piece was attributed incorrectly to Clarke's elder and more widely known contemporary Henry...

and the Boléro.

Personal life

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, English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.


  • Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion (Netherlands, 2002)
  • Honorary Medal of the Province of Limburg
    Limburg (Netherlands)
    Limburg is the southernmost of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. It is located in the southeastern part of the country and bordered by the province of Gelderland to the north, Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and part of the west, andthe Dutch province of North Brabant partly to...

     (Netherlands, 2009)
  • Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and confirmed as part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963...

     (France, 2009)

Selected discography

  • And the Waltz Goes On (2011)
  • Moonlight Serenade (2011) – Australian Albums: No.17
  • You Raise Me Up – Songs for Mum (2010) – Australian Albums: No.8
  • Forever Vienna
    Forever Vienna
    Forever Vienna is the most recent album released by violinist André Rieu. It was released as a double CD + DVD album. The DVD was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall and has some special features which include: My Home Town, photo gallery and discography...

    (2009) – UK: #2, IRE: No.4
  • The Best of André Rieu (2009) – Australian Albums: No.23
  • Masterpieces (2009) – Australian Albums: No.9
  • You'll Never Walk Alone (2009) – Australian Albums: No.2
  • Live in Australia (2008) – Australian Albums: No.14
  • Waltzing Matilda
    Waltzing Matilda (album)
    Waltzing Matilda is a studio album by Dutch violinist André Rieu and Australian soprano Mirusia, released on 28 April 2008 in Australia. The album includes several Australian traditional songs sung by Mirusia. Rieu and Mirusia will be performing the tracks in their worldwide tour late in 2008. The...

    (2008) – Australian Albums: No.1
  • The 100 Most Beautiful Melodies (2008) – Australian Albums: No.2
  • Live in Dresden: The Wedding at the Opera (2008)
  • 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)
  • Dreaming (2002)
  • Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2001)
  • Musik Zum Träumen (2001)
  • La Vie Est Belle (2000)
  • Fiesta! (1999)
  • 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)
  • Romeo and Juliet Love Theme

External links