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Bild Stars Magazine (3) December 2015
Gary Bennet, tenor (Platin tenors) I am the most southern member of the entire orchestra,  since I hail from Tasmania (Australia). Béla Mavrák tenor (Platin Tenors) André made possible for me to sing into the hearts of millions of people. That's why I am very grateful to him. Eric Reddet, tenor (Platin Tenors) I have only been singing with André for just this year, but I was immediately warmly accepted in the lap of the "Johann Strauss family" and I feel more comfortable there than I have ever felt at other concerts. Nathalie Bolle, flute I am a passionate collector of gems and minerals from the entire world. They are wonderful memories of the many countries in which I performed with André. Franco Vulcano, double base. Even though it sometimes hurts for a while to be away from my family, it still is a great joy for me to be able to perform with André and the wonderful JSO and to see how we give so many people joy, happiness and cheerfulness every evening.
Johann Strauss the immortal Waltz Genius. Many people, thanks to their parents, make a career, but despite his father he turned out to be a Waltz King. In 1825 a genius was born in Vienna: Johann Strauss. His father, also named Johann Strauss, is a musician and the Emperor's court ball leader and would have preferred a job for his son as a banker. Secretly the son took violin lessons. Ten days before his 19th birthday Johann Strauss junior gave his first concert and was very successful. The music city of Vienna had a new star. Soon the son outperformed his diligent father. His live: As a youngster he did jail time because of his revolutionary sympathies. After that a dream career and appointed as the emperor's manager of court ball music. Three marriages, no children. In 1886 he gave up his Austrian nationality, and became a citizen of the Duchy of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha, which is German. At the age of 73 he dies of a lung infection, while he was  composing. Many of his works (1 opera, 15 operettas, one Ballet, about 500 Waltzes, Polkas, Marches and Quadrilles) are there for eternity, just like “Die Fledermaus” (the Bat), “Der Zigeunerbaron” (the Gypsy Baron), “Eine Nacht in Venedig” (a night in Venice), or “Wiener Blut” (Viennese blood). But the most famous one is "An der schönen Blauen Donau" (the Blue Danube), a Danube waltz which was performed for the first time in 1867 an is today still a world hit.
Bild Stars: Chapter 1: "His World": HIS CHILDHOOD. The little André. Here a world star grows up. He has three sisters, two brothers and a father who is a conductor.
His parents had just moved with their two daughters from Amsterdam to Maastricht, there he came into the world on October 1, 1949 at 8.45 PM. André Léon Marie Nicholas Rieu, the first born son, named after his father André senior, a famous conductor. The middle names given him were names from three saints, because his father was deeply religious. After André, his parents had two more sons and one daughter. All children had to play music at home. André received his first violin lesson at the age of 5. Even as a youngster he only knew classical music like Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn. He was not even aware that bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones caused a musical revolution worldwide. From the very beginning his musical life was dedicated to the violin. With the pictures above: Father André with four of his children: Cilia, Teresia, André and Robert. A chubby cherub: André with his older sisters Teresia (left) and Cilia (right). Andre Léon Marie Nicholas, at the age of 5.
1954: Little André received his first violin at the age of 5. Shortly thereafter his father took him to a concert for the first time. 1968: As a student he perfected his violin playing at the music academies of Liège and Maastricht, under tutelage amongst others by Jo Juda and Herman Krebbers. 1978: The establishment of the Maastricht Salon Orchestra. It made Rieu well-known in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. 1987: The Johann Strauss Orchestra is his biggest success. He is celebrated as a star all across the world and sells millions of records.
Bild Stars: Chapter 4: “His Travels”. THE RED SOFA. The red sofa is always with him. Seventeen years ago André slept very well on such a red sofa in Mannheim (Germany). So he had four of them copied and built. One of them travels with him on every tour. "I can sleep anywhere, any time. A nap in between and I am fit again".
Bild Stars: Chapter 4: "His travels". The Waltz King's royal court. Without them, nothing works! Chefs, doctors, wardrobe personnel, stage technicians: this crew is responsible for the good taste, the well-being, and the perfect performance. Light. Maurice Verbeek and his team make the stage shine in the most beautiful colors. Doctors. Dr Ruud Gransier is his personal coach. Dr Peter de Beer accompanies them on all tours. Wardrobe. Agnieska Smiech and Gosha Tarnowski are responsible for the costumes of the artists. Personal assistant. Sjoerd van Dijck is "wherever else André is".
Stage crew. Mario, Bert, and Toine erect the stage and take care of the decorations. Production. This duo controls the technical challenges in each venue. Sound. Engineer Wim van der Molen and his crew are responsible for the perfect sound. Even the smallest flute sounds big. Office. For 15 years Frans Neus has managed the company's operational processes as "Chief Operating Officer" Assistant. Youri Wystyrk is responsible for Rieu's valuable Stradivari violin. Video Director Michel Fizzano is responsible for the video images. With a camera crew of 4 people he puts the brilliant images on the big screens. Camera. Under the direction of Michel Fizzano this quartet is responsible for the brilliant images on the big screens. Riggin team These three people are responsible for the hanging installations, e.g. the big screens.
Michel Fizzano and his camera crew
Production duo
Wim van der Molen and his sound crew.
Riggin Team
Fun pictures: Left: The phone connection to the family is perfect! The hair-do not yet! Below: Photos in André’s violin case: his twin granddaughters. For fun he put them on his glasses!
Click here to go to Bild Stars Magazine, Page 4.
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