Denmark and Sweden are on André’s tour schedule in April 2016.
That’s why he received a Danish TV2 team to his castle in Maastricht. The item was broadcast on Danish
TV on January 22, 2016. Ineke translated the accompanying article from Danish to English, with the
assistance of Anne and John. Anne Buch, is from Denmark, but she lives in Sweden now.
January 22, 2016.
News item broadcast by
Danish TV2 channel.
“Follow your dream”, says the Maestro in an
interview at his castle in Maastricht, to the Danish
André Rieu calls himself the world's most romantic millionaire. Accordingly, he does not use his fortune on
cars and shares.He buys castles and old Stradivari violins to make his dreams come true. Sometimes a little
too real. Virtually all dreams come true for the 66-year-old violinist, conductor and composer. He is called
"the Waltz King" and is the closest to a pop megastar in the classical music world.He has sold over 35
million albums and DVDs and received 411 platinum records. He has his own orchestra/crew, which
consists of 100 members and is the largest privately owned classical orchestra in the world. He owns a
large recording studio and built a kindergarten for his musicians' children. And he lives in a castle dated
from 1452 in the Dutch city of Maastricht."It was here, that I was forced to take piano lessons when I was six
I hated it. The teacher was a bitch", says André Rieu, who invited the Danish TV2 team into his castle.
At that time the castle was cold and dilapidated. Now he has taken revenge on his former teacher and
purchased and renovated it for an unknown but very large amount.
But if his first castle was a dream come true, his next became a nightmare.
It began with a huge concert in front of the Austrian castle Schönbrunn in Vienna with dancers and horses
and everything that belongs to a real Viennese party.
He was so inspired by the magnificent backdrop that he had a wild dream."I told my son that we would build
a replica of the castle and take it along on the world tour. That was stupid. The start of the tour was a huge
success. The Schönbrunn copy was moved from country to country, but in Australia the party came to an
end. My bank called. There was an overdraft of 36 million euros (about 250 million Danish crowns). I went
home and met with them. They wanted to declare me bankrupt, but fortunately the bank manager stopped
them and allowed me to continue to play in order to raise the money.
The deficit turned into a surplus.In the next year André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra played no
less than 300 concerts, without the Schönbrunn copy. And then, the deficit turned into a surplus. Now the
famous castle is stored in containers, waiting perhaps for a new romantic destiny. André Rieu has no plans
to use it again, but he does not regret the dream that nearly cost him everything. "Touring with Schönbrunn
gave so much publicity, it's been worth every penny", he said.In April 2016, André Rieu and the Johann
Strauss Orchestra will be performing in Herning, Odense and Copenhagen (Denmark). As always, his
Stradivarius violin from 1732 will be with him. And he is far from running out of dreams. "I would like to find a
Stradivarius from 1700. It will cost three times as much. And then I will play the first concert ever on the
moon", he says. And he means it. The project has already been discussed with billionaire Richard Branson,
who has high-flying plans for a hotel and charter trips to the moon.
An interview with André Rieu
in two Danish newspapers: "Berlingske
Tidende" and in the local daily newspaper in
Southern Denmark: "Jydske Vestkysten", on
Jan. 24, 2016.
The headline says:
"Mother’s wish: Another André", referring to the
situation, that André`s parents have never been
satisfied with his kind of performing classical music.
Scan by Torben Esbensen. Translation by Anne Buch, edited by John de Jong.
André Rieu went bankrupt with a debt of 194 million Danish Kroner, but turned the debt into a surplus within
one single year. However, his parents were not happy with his style of making music; he should rather turn
his violin playing into something decent, they said.
It has never been a secret:
André Rieu went down with a bang in 2007 - and he had it coming!
The entertainer went on tour with his 47 persons big orchestra. For the concerts he had created a gigantic
copy of Vienna's beautiful Schönbrunn Castle. The Dutch violinist had spent around 250 million Danish
Kroner for this fantastic project.
He created a ballroom of 300 square meters and a stage 125 m wide. 100 technicians traveled with him and
erected it in only one week. But things went wrong - really wrong.
The tour ended as one of the biggest catastrophes in modern music culture.
And when it was over, André Rieu looked like a broken man.
"The people from the bank sat here at my table", he says. "They came to me and my wife's home. All of
them came here, it was so awful!"
He tells the history very quietly and without any gestures. Just like businessmen do, who know the game.
But he survived!
"Yes, they wanted it all... They even wanted to take my violin. Suddenly the manager of the bank spoke and
the situation changed in a split second. Everybody else just sat there and looked flabbergasted. The
manager told me that I could keep my violin and go on for another year, as if nothing had happened. He
really believed in me. And he knew it was the only way for the bank to receive back the enormous loss".
André played like no other in the next months. The now 66 year old entertainer gave more than 200
concerts within one year. Thousands of listeners enjoyed his program of twenty light classical pieces, plus
ten additional encore numbers. Music lovers worldwide enjoy the stand alone violinist André Rieu in front of
his orchestra. All feeling good and in beautiful colorful ball gowns. They played like nothing had happened.
The Dutch show musician came out with an excess of funds. In no time he succeeded and he did not have
a debt anymore.
Today he lives in a castle in the Dutch city of Maastricht. In 1673 no one other than d'Artagnan, aka the
fourth Musketeer, ate his last meal in this house. André Rieu bought the house in a dilapidated state. He
had the castle renovated in the original style. Stucco, marble and many meters of gold leaf, flanked by
modern stuff such as flat screens and a painting of the New York Skyline. He has even built a small
Orangerie (greenhouse) with hummingbirds. He owns the land and the modern house in front of his castle.
Here he escapes the crowds during the summer.
There is also a rapidly built studio in Maastricht's industrial area. André Rieu's musicians are employed full
time and must be available within one days' notice. They rehearse his shows and record various waltzes,
marches and Operetta music on CD. "Many of the musicians have been with me for over twenty years, they
know what I want to hear", he says. “If they only make music for the money, they have no future in the
orchestra! Many of them are married to each other. Actually there are 11 couples in the orchestra/crew”.
Therefore André Rieu created a nursery for the children of the couples, next to the studios.
A couple of enormous warehouses on the other side of the street, provide the space to store all the
important contents of the numerous boxes for the orchestra and the soloist's evening wear.
But if you see him as a pioneer of an enjoyable music show, you are wrong. The goal to his comeback is not
to persuade people by mouth..... "I make all my programs with my heart - even if it sounds like a cliché", he
says. "When I'm on stage, it's about contact with the audience. I never play the music people like, I play the
music I like myself. But I also take my role as entertainer seriously. Everyone performing on stage is an
entertainer in some sense. Even if I played a Jean Sibelius violin concert, I would still be an entertainer.
Any kind of musical performance is ultimately about contact with the audience, it's about being there for the
André Rieu probably does not need to play his violin so much anymore, but still conducts his orchestra
every day and also plays the violin. He loves the close contact with his instrument and the vibrations he
feels against his body. "I am really happy that I don't play the piano", he says.
If you hate him, you call his show the sweetest most satiny of the worst kind.
If you love him, you go quietly about, if at least you belong to the more creative class.
A French TV crew once did an experiment, not so long ago. People in front of the Salle Pleyel (concert
building) in Paris were asked to listen to one of his CD's. All of them said "Ooh" and "Wonderful" and so on.
But when they found out it was him, they were embarrassed, and made funny faces. Over and over!
He has become a multimillionaire for the second time. The violinist can call himself one of the most well-
known music names in the world today. At least 100 times a year André Rieu pleases millions and he enjoys
seeing a full hall of people which are so moved that they cry.
But he also knows the criticism of the big show very well, which to him are like bad memories. And he
knows that from a side which obviously has really hurt him.
His parents have never ever liked his style. They considered his shows a waste of talent and good violin
play. "My father was a conductor and very often brought me to his workplace. I really did not like it! The
atmosphere was stiff and snobby! When Dad played Johann Strauss as an encore, then I could see the
people lighten up and smile. They seemed so different and more present at that moment. So when I was
starting my own career, Strauss was an obvious choice".
Then what happened next?
"My parents thought it was a mistake! I was suddenly not good enough in their eyes. The relationship was
hard at that point and now I feel even harder. My father is dead, but I still have my mother and she would
rather have another boy"!
Is that really true?
"I can assure you it is really true!
She did not like for me to use my violin skills to something like this. My father felt the same, and that is
something I just have to live with"!
The copy of The Schönbrunn Castle was dismantled a long time ago and lays here and there in one of the
André Rieu has raised himself up from the music world's biggest fall and has kept his Stradivarius violin
from 1732. An instrument worth 23 million Danish Kroner.
But André, why don't you have one of the expensive ones?
"That's a good question. A violin from Stradivarius' Golden Era would now cost 3 times as much. And you do
know that I have 200 people in my employ. I would not dare to tie myself to such an expensive violin.
However, who knows what the future will bring"?