Edison Oeuvre Prize.NPO. October 9th, 2023.Translated by Ineke, edited by Diana D. Le.Violinist and orchestra leader André Rieu has won the Edison Oeuvre Prize this year. He received the prize because he manages to win new hearts for classical music worldwide. In addition to Rieu, all other winners of the Edisons were also announced on October 9, 2023 at the AFAS Theater in Leusden. Rieu received the prize in the “classical” category. The Edisons winners were chosen by two independent juries consisting of music experts and people from the cultural sector. Rieu conquers hearts. The jury praises Rieu for his contribution to making classical music accessible. "For more than thirty years, Rieu has been winning new hearts for classical music worldwide. Thanks to him, classical laymen are not only getting to know the Viennese waltzes of the Strauss family, but his biggest world hit came from a suite for variety orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich”.The jury also found the pleasure that Rieu gives his audience to be of decisive value. "Anyone who attends concerts at the Vrijthof in Maastricht goes home with a light heart and a zest for life. Does Rieu begin for many people on a journey of discovery through the age-old jungle of classical music? That is possible. From Maastricht to Manhattan, it grew over the past decades. Rieu has become a global phenomenon that can stand on its own and is not musically accountable to anyone.”
Edison: A household name in the Netherlands since 1960The Edison is the oldest music prize in the Netherlands. The award is comparable to the American Grammy Award, the German Echo or the British Brit awards. The Edison consists of a bronze statue made by sculptor Pieter d'Hont. The Edison awards ceremony is divided into three musical genres. Edison Pop, Edison Classical and Edison Jazz.
Algemeen Dagblad (AD), October 10, 2023, by Alexander van Eenennaam.Translated by Ineke, edited by Diana D. Le. Edison Oeuvre Prize 2023.Lifetime award for Rieu: “My parents didn't think my work was good enough”. For almost three decades, André Rieu has been one of the Netherlands' most important musical exports, but the violinist has never received an award for his career. Until last night: the 2023 Oeuvre Prize at the Edisons Classical.André Rieu recently had a birthday: he turned 74. He had just returned home to Maastricht, from a tour through Canada and the United States. Did he celebrate? At a large oval table in one of the almost 30 rooms of his castle, he shrugs in his bright blue jacket. “I happened to have to go to the dentist that day… oh, such a birthday…” His gaze sweeps over the tablecloth, which has an embroidered violin in the center. “I received a very beautiful painting of a winter landscape from Marjorie. I will hang it in my office." Following the Edison, the conversation is about his oeuvre and therefore his entire career. This came to full fruition in 1995, the year in which Rieu played ‘The Second Waltz’ in the stadium, during halftime of the Ajax – Bayern Munich soccer match. Since then, Rieu has finished no less than seven times at the top of the annual list of Dutch musicians with the greatest export value, more than any other colleague.“Who would have thought,” says Rieu about the success of ‘The Second Waltz’, “that the Netherlands would be turned upside down by a waltz by Dimitri Shostakovich? But even two years later at the Elfstedentocht (Dutch skating tour along eleven towns) they were still showing off this waltz with a glass of liquor." By the way, it was his wife's idea to change the complicated name of the piece ‘Waltz No. 2 from Jazz Suite No. 2’ to the simple ‘The Second Waltz’. “She was the first to believe in me. She saw me playing as a conservatory student and already said: ‘You do that nicely; I think you could make money with this.’ Yes, I owe a lot to Marjorie.” From 1987 to 1994, she sat next to Rieu in the car every year, when they drove to Hilversum again and again in the hope of gaining a foothold with a record company. “We visited so many, but no one wanted to go for us. ‘Go back to Limburg, play for your grandmother’, that's what I was told. Until in 1994 someone from Universal Music finally dared to accept us.”Mission. At that point, Rieu had already been working on his mission for 16 years. First with the Maastricht Salon Orchestra, founded in 1978, and from 1987 with his Johann Strauss Orchestra. The mission was to make classical music less stiff and joyless than as usual. As the son of a conductor (senior led the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, in which André also played), Rieu was clear that he wanted to do things differently. “Freshen things up, show that you are human. Less stiff, yes.”It was the 1970s, in which he studied at the Brussels Conservatory, married Marjorie (1975), and started building his more personal and popular way of making music with his salon orchestra. “It wasn't that easy in the beginning. The first year, we would rehearse the way that it was good enough to go public. But, we didn't always agree on what we would play and some didn't want to rehearse, so there were problems. I was close to quitting three times.” Rieu has his father-in-law to thank for persevering. “He told me that there was already so much work involved. He was of Jewish descent and said: ‘I survived two world wars and now you are going to tell me you want to give up?’”While his father-in-law encouraged him, his own parents reacted disapprovingly. “To the great annoyance of my father, I played at weddings, parties, and all kinds of openings. My father died before the big breakthrough, but my mother experienced it and also came to watch a few times. But she never said she was proud, or that I had done a good job. And if my father had seen it, he would have reacted the same way. What I did was not good enough in the eyes of my parents, they were more of the High Class, the “Concertgebouw” (classical purists), so to speak.It didn't stop Rieu from going for his goal. “With full dedication, because what I did had to be good. Wherever I had to play, even if it was in Heemskerk (NL town), I drove there especially beforehand to discuss everything. I came to such a restaurant and the owner wanted to put us in a corner under the stairs. ‘No’, I said, ‘we want to be there.’ And then I pointed to a prominent place in the restaurant. Because I wanted to contact the audience. I wanted to make people enthusiastic. That really doesn't work if you're under the stairs!”Lawyers Rieu always got what he wanted. “Because otherwise I wouldn't come to play. Those years were the basis for later success.” Toon Hermans (Dutch comedian 1916-2000) did the rest. At least, this comedian provided inspiration. "My great example. Toon Hermans could leave someone speechless with a story about a cup of coffee, without offending anyone. When he entered, the audience started laughing. I looked closely at the love for his audience, his craftsmanship. I made it a sport to win people over. One night, we played at a dinner party of 65 lawyers, and within 10 minutes, I had them on the table. That's the contact I'm talking about.”CompanyIt's how he built a multi-million-dollar company known worldwide, from Australia to South America. Rieu has 120 permanent employees, a company with which he travels around the world. “A circus, of which I am a kind of father. With nine trucks full of stuff, that is unprecedented by Dutch standards." In the summer on the Vrijthof and later at Christmas in the MECC, Rieu attracts visitors from all over the world to Maastricht. These are also the periods in which he must be extra careful before leaving his house. “I am lucky to live in Maastricht. I just go to the supermarket here to do some shopping, no one is surprised. When those concerts are there, it often happens that a touring car stops in front of my door: “‘This is where he lives.’ I especially notice people coming from Denmark. Sometimes they put tables and chairs on the green area in front of my house and drink coffee in front of my door.”Security check Rieu himself has brought about this attention in recent decades and he has no intention of stopping any time soon. More than 90 performances are already planned for next year, including Colombia. He will undoubtedly often see his violin case being taken out at the security check at airports for extra checks. “Always! And then I ask what they are looking for. ‘Explosives’, that's what it usually sounds like. In my violin case? Oh well, of course they would also like to see a Stradivarius with their own eyes.”Rieu's company is running as usual after the standstill during the corona, a period in which he was able to keep his people employed thanks to the government. “I was crying when Rutte (prime minister) announced his support on TV and paid 80% of the salaries. That allowed me to keep people employed, otherwise I wouldn't be here anymore.” The corona lockdown was very difficult and dark, but Rieu is not the type to think back on it now. “I actually forgot about it already. I am originally a sunny person who loves life. I am incurably positive.”
Emma Kok suprised André Rieu by performing the song “Voila”, together with the Maastricht Salon Orchestra.