From André Rieu’s website:
After I accepted Tanja, she confided to me that this job meant that her childhood dream really had come
true! She told me that as a little girl she went with her mother to one of my concerts – we were only a small
ensemble then – and at the end she said: ‘Mummy, I want to do that when I grow up’.
After fifteen years of studying the cello and graduating from the music academy, she is now a fantastic
cellist who puts her heart and soul into her playing.
She is always cheerful and has the most infectious laugh I know. Naturally I am very proud to have such an
enthusiastic team member. And there is no other cellist who can play Saint-Saëns’ The Swan as beautifully
Son “Lowieke” (Maastricht dialect for Louis) was born in 2009, when André and the orchestra was touring
through Australia. The photos above come from the ”Australian Adventure” roadsoap (click HERE).
The baby’s second name refers to the day of his birth: the orchestra played in Sydney.
In 2019 we missed Tanja quite a while in the orchestra. She suffered from a shoulder injury, had to rest and
was therefore unable to play. When corona will be gone, we hope that she can join the orchestra again.
Interview in "de Limburger", by Rob Cobben
Translation by John de Jong.
Name: Tanja Derwahl,
Place of residence: Maastricht,
With Johann Strauss Orchestra since: 1997,
Role in the orchestra: plays cello.
"You never get used to those jet lags," says Tanja Derwahl. So actually she was - but only for a moment -
quite happy that she didn't have to travel with André Rieu's orchestra.
Normally Derwahl, born in Eupen (Belgium), is away with the orchestra for at least half the year.
"A hundred concerts a year are no exception and we are not even talking about rehearsals and all travel
days." She remembers 2016, when they traveled 93,000 kilometers (57,787miles) in three months,
through South America and Australia.
“Not normal, actually. But very cozy. We are all one big family, we also have a lot of fun "on the road".
That requires being in a good condition. We are all working very hard on that. And I am quite jealous of
André. If I can grow old like him, I will sign up for it right away! ”
Week of testing.
But now that she has been at home since the beginning of this year, because of the corona pandemic.
And that took some getting used to, she must admit. “I could have gone to pieces, and that moment was not
far away. But I thought, I shouldn't be grumpy, angry and sad. I can't do that to my family. But I very much
miss all the people in the orchestra. ”
In the hall of her home in Maastricht hangs a sign with the inscription: "Due to the virus, 2020 has been
moved to 2021." And that was how I initially felt, she says. A lost year.
But now she thinks differently about it. “There are many happy moments: My son is doing his first week of
testing in high school now and I am happy to be there to pick him up afterwards. And I was also home for
his birthday this time. That is very special..."
But it took a lot of doing, she says. This week they were actually going to perform in Lisbon. She doesn't
want to hear about it. “I deleted all the data from my calendar, since it only makes me sad. And since then I
have been doing much better." She has contact with her colleagues via WhatsApp. And she meets her boss
André, who only lives a few hundred meters away in the Maastricht district of Sint Pieter, every now and
then, in the supermarket or on the street, or when he is out for a walk with his dog. They have a warm
relationship, she says. “And he's the best boss you can imagine. During the lockdown, we all received a
mug from him with the inscription: "Cheer Up." Not too long ago, someone suddenly appeared on the
sidewalk with violets. They were also from him. He did not have to do that, of course, but those gestures are
so important in the bond between us all. We also still receive a salary, thanks to government support. If
cutbacks have to be made, André will be more likely to sell his exclusive and expensive Stradivarius violin
than having to fire his people. I'm convinced of that."
She is looking forward to their first concert whenever that is possible and allowed again. “That will be an
explosion of joy. Then we'll be blazing again. ”
The first time after her injury that we saw Tanja playing again in the Maastricht Salon Orchestra, was on
December 20, 2020. It was a Live Streaming on Facebook. “Being Home for Christmas”, from the
“Muziekgieterij” in Maastricht. Click HERE to watch the concert and interview with André.
Christmas concerts in the MECC in Maastricht.
Tanja is back in the orchestra.