November 22, 2002
This was an hour long interview on AOL and could be seen online, it is not a word for word translation. My
German is not good enough to know exactly what is being said when they speak at the same time. There are
some words I did not recognize and because I do not know the spelling, I can not look it up in a dictionary, so I
made an educated guess. But, even if it is not an exact translation, I was able to get most of it. And I hope you
One hour long you can ask André Rieu questions.
Welcome, Mr. Rieu
Andre: Thank you, good to be here.
You have a question to ask our online audience, what is it?
Andre: It is a question; I have had in my head for a long time. “What do you think: Would it be a good idea to
have music as a required class in schools worldwide, or not?”
On that you can vote during this hour, and at the end of the program we will give you the results.
Mr. Rieu, you have a new CD out, the tenth, if I have understood correctly.
Andre: Yes, that is possible, I am not sure if it is the tenth.
It is called ‘Waltzertraum’.
Andre: Yes, ‘Waltzertraum’.
Out since November 4. It is an album which goes back to your roots with all waltzes. There are 19
songs. How did you pick these out?
Andre: Exactly, they are all waltzes I used my intuition. Actually my wife looked for the songs. We had so
much to do; we were all over the world, so I called Marjorie up and asked her to put some music together.
She came up with 88 titles. We always do it that way; we always make our CDs together. Yes, I play but
together we think up the program
You get the final vote?
Andre: No, no we vote together, but she has a very big influence on my (how do you say that) my life for sure
and my way of thinking. We make the program together.
There are many well known titles on here: Dark Eyes, The Red Rose café, Qué sera, Sera, the Merry
Widow many, many well known waltzes. But also two melodies you composed yourself.
Andre: Yes, I have been composing for a while now, together with my brother Jean-Philippe, and we thought
that those compositions worked, so well, that we decided to put them on this CD too
My Love song?
Andre: No, that is from Stolz. My love song will be a waltz
The old castle and the Hurdy-Gurdy waltz?
Andre: Yes, exactly.
And with this album goes a tour, which starts I believe in three days, on Monday?
Andre: Yes, we were still practicing this morning in Maastricht. We have practiced the whole week, it was a
wonderful week, a very chaotic week, but it is always so beautiful. Such practice for a new tour is a very
creative time and one must really think of new things and that is very tiring, but it also gives unbelievable much
Are you nervous?
Andre: My nerves are all right. I do that to myself, I have such a hectic life, but I find that wonderful and I am
quite in my element. It should of course not take too long, because it is exhausting.
What do you still have to do in those three days?
I have still a few more interviews here in Hamburg. This evening we have a practice session for Gold, Gold,
Gold, that is tomorrow evening in the new Arena and then I go home and I still have to learn my text and my
speeches. But that is coming along. Concentration on the new tour is of course very important and then we
still have the final rehearsal and then the first concert.
I have heard that you have stage fright?
Andre: For the first concert, I can tell you, that you better not talk to me, because I am awful. I am always very
nervous, always, but for the first concert I am extremely stressed. Everything is new and… You can not really
do anything against it. Concentrate, no nothing. You have to concentrate, stick with the business on hand.
Prepare everything well. Then it is not quite as hard. You have to be sure that during the practice weeks, you
know this is exciting, but when we go on stage it has to be as if we have done this program for years. But the
first time is always very tense.
There is a question from the audience.
We were at your performance at Wurzberg…
Wurzberg, that was this summer, right? Fantastic, it is a beautiful town there.
You will give 53 concerts, Are there highlights of places that you do not like so much?
Andre: There are of course beautiful and less beautiful halls that should be clear. But the audience
everywhere is sweet, nice and enthusiastic and they are happy that we are there and I am happy that they are
there. So it does not really matter if we play in a beautiful or not so beautiful hall. I always try, and my public
knows that, that when we play in a sh. Hall then we bring our chandeliers and carpets and everything to make
it look nice and then you do not notice it as much.
Another question from the audience.
How much do you and your orchestra practice during a tour?
Andre: That depends. In the beginning of course a lot. For instance tomorrow is Emden, the first concert,
then I know exactly what we do not have quite down. The public does not know that, but I know and then I
change that the next day and that continues in that way until it goes 100% right or 100% does not go right.
(Laughs). That is just among us, to answer the question: in the beginning we practice a lot and then less and
less. This may be of interesting to you, we actually practice every evening. During each concert, if I hear
something that does not go quite right, then I look at the person and say (nods head and makes a face). Then
generally they say, yes, I know I made a mistake or if they do not know I make it clear to them. All that
happens during the playing, it is very nice how we understand each other.
So each concert is like a rehearsal?
How large is the orchestra that you have with you, and when will you be back in Austria?
Andre: Fifty musicians. In Austria, in Vienna, we are, I think in February the 4th? (Checks on his hand held)
the third we are in Vienna and the fifth we are in Graz.
You have a wonderful web page, and all these dates are on your home page.
Andre: Exactly, on www.andrerieu.com
You have brought something for our audience that they can win. It will be the Stradivarius, since
that is already so old and than you can buy something newer.
Andre: But you can not win my Stradivarius. (Laughs)
You mean I misunderstood that but you have brought her with you. There she is.
Andre: Yes, here she is.
Unbelievable, an age old instrument.
Andre: Yes. (Plays with his instrument).
What is the history of the Stradivarius?
This is the second violin Stradivarius has made in his life. He was still very young, 22 when he made this one
and he was just married and still very much in love and you can hear that. I will play a little then you can hear
it. I will play a Japanese song; I am just back from Japan and played this song at each of the concerts there.
(Plays a bit of ‘Kojo No Tsuki’).
A violin in love.
How many Stradivarius violins are there in the world?
Andre: Well, Stradivarius lived to a ripe old age, especially for that time, he lived to be 90. He made
unbelievably many violins. The nice thing about this particular violin is that it is made during the beginning of
his career and we therefore are absolutely certain that he himself made this violin. The later violins, when he
was so famous that he could sell many violins, by that time he had many assistants, sons and assistants and
one does not really know for sure, if Stradivarius himself made the violin or if one of his assistants did, and he
just signed it. How many violins he exactly made no one knows. But there are so many Stradivarius violins in
the world that he can not possibly have made them all. There has to be an in depth study, just like the one
that has been done for Rembrandt and for Van Gogh. There one also discovered that Rembrandt could not
have made all the paintings, so they were studied and half of them turned out not to be done by Rembrandt
himself. That will happen with Stradivarius violins too.
You have for this instrument also a special violin security guard. It is very, very valuable.
Andre: Not just that, since I of course have very much to do when I am on the road and with interviews or other
business then the violin has to be protected.
What does one have to watch for?
Andre: Very simple, that she stays in her case and that no one touches her, but when I just play on her, really
nothing special. I am careful of course, and I have been around violins my entire life and know how to handle
her. You should really not touch her varnish.
Is that not new varnish?
Andre: No, that is the original varnish that Stradivarius put on. It is interesting that you ask that, because one
wonders not just us, but also the scientific world, why does a Stradivarius sounds so beautiful. I have my own
theory about that. I think it is in the varnish. He has varnished his violins hundreds of times, and then hung
them up outside in the sun. Really he just hung them next to each other. There are drawings where the
violins hang between the underwear to dry in the sun. This varnish shield makes that this wooden case
(knocks on his violin) a very tight form is and when then you put strings on it, because of course that is what
makes the violin, a small wooden case with strings, and the strings are stretched and the whole thing is under
stress and through the varnish, when one does not put any varnish on a violin there is no sound. It is the
varnish, but that is my opinion.
Andre: Yes, and it is a dream to be able to play her.
Did anything ever happen to her? Did she fall of get wet?
Andre: No, Never. I believe there are people who say it is too damp here or to dry. I do not believe in that. It
is a living thing, a living wood. You of course should not put her in the freezer and then later next to the fire,
that would be bad, but when we can handle other things normally, it will be all right with the violin too.
Mr. Rieu, what is personally your very favorite melody and do you play any other instruments?
Andre: Well, my personal favorite melody? There really isn’t just one. I am an musician and I play so many
beautiful favorite melodies that I can not say that I have a favorite. I have just played the Japanese song here
and that I think at the time is a wonderful melody, but tomorrow it can be something else. What was the other
Do you play other instruments besides the violin?
Andre: In the past when I was a student I played many instruments to try them out. I have played oboe and
piano (I hate the piano) and flute, I tried trumpet, but the violin always won me over again.
One says you can recognize piano hands right away, what about your hands?
Andre: These are violin hands, my violin hands. (laughs).
What is special about violin hands?
Andre: Nothing, they are just like your hands. You can play the violin too.
I can play violin?
Andre: Yes, absolutely.
How can you tell?
Andre: I can tell, if you would make your nails a little shorter, so you can do the vibrato.
Andre: Yes, otherwise you can not vibrate, but further is at …… (Phone rings) What is that for noise, Oh it is
And do your fingertips get calloused?
Andre: Yes, but I have just a little bit.
Andre: Yes, a little bit. This one and this one. Some people have real thick ones. They sometimes even get
calloused in there neck, but I do not have any of that, and I really play much but…
Do you exercise your fingers?
Andre: No, my playing is all the exercise I need.
Do you have to take care of your hands?
Andre: Of course, but so do you.
Are you insured?
Andre: No, because I need so much money in order to pay everything, I have a hundred and thirty employees
in my company. No insurance company would pay that kind of money. So I said just let it be, most insurance
claims are not paid out anyway.
Do you work with your hands, cut bread or so?
Andre: Yes, I do all that. I have once… Well I used to be a real do-it-yourselfer. I can do much, I do not like
electricity that much, but besides that I could built a house.
So everything, doors…?
Andre: Ja, Ja everything, but I do not have the time for that anymore, but I can do it and one time I really cut
myself badly. Here you can still see it.
A scar, it had several stitches.
Andre: Yes, but it has healed well. I was lucky, if it had been on the other hand it would have been worse. It
was one of those exacto knives, what is that called in German? One of those very sharp hobby knives. I went
right. Bang (makes slicing motion to show how he cut himself) The surgeon said I could not have done a
How long ago was that?
Andre: Very long. About 25 years.
Now you hold your violin with your head and I asked myself how can you keep that up for two whole
Andre: In the beginning that is of course difficult but like everything, when you practice and by me, you have
such a pretty (touches the interviewers collarbone) what is that called in German? That is by me completely
That is gone?
Andre: Yes, no it is worn down, because the violin is always there.
And the other one?
Andre: Here I have one. I have of course both, but this one and my jaw too are different. When you always
have the violin here, you do…. (puts the violin under his chin on the other side) then it is just as difficult as it
is for you. There I cannot do it, but here,
(switches sides) it is simple.
Do you exercise you neck?
Andre: No, No The playing is exercise enough, for instance this morning I practiced for three hours in a row
and I am sure I lost 4 pounds during that session. It is such an intense…
That is good.
Andre: Yes, that is good, but that just happens…. (Beep, Beep phone rings again)
There comes another….
Andre: No, that is a message. Do you do instant message?
Andre: For me it really is the very best invention they have made in the last years. And I will tell you why,
when you for instance I am in a meeting, Okay this here is of course a little different, but you have a meeting
and even during that you can stay in contact with for instance my wife. I must instant message with her
hundreds of times a day.
Was that from her?
Andre: No, no, I believe she is watching. I don’t know for sure. But that is the nice thing about it, it is wonderful.
Question from the audience;
It looks like you are all having such a good time is that real of is that part of the show.
That is real. He has noticed that well. We talk about that every day. My wife and I and my orchestra. It is
definitely real. Let’s go back to the practice week. That is really extremely hard work, but even so, we have
had a lot of fun. We keep going until we have reached perfection and that is so satisfying. To try and do it
perfect. I can not repeat it enough, there are too few people who go all the way to the end and that is what is
so satisfying and enjoyable. WOW, that was great, we did it. That gives such a feeling of satisfaction when
every evening…. It is bad, when you say Okay we have tried and it is not working and you keep going like
that for the next year that is not how it should be. That is boring. You should always try to start every evening
from zero. Not just with the violin or with the program but with everything. That is also why I am always
nervous because I do not know what will happen this evening. I do not know the audience. And that gives
stress, but it also brings so much energy with it since it is always new.
Question from audience;
Mr. Rieu did you ever play rock music with your violin or is that not possible with a violin?
That is just not possible. I do not know exactly what rock music is, but I can imagine. With rock music you use
all that electronic equipment, and the beautiful thing from a violin is of course that it a living thing is. I am
delighted with all the electronics that we have these days and al the new things, the Internet, that is great. But
the beautiful thing about for instance waltzes is that we can play it if in the whole world all the electricity would
fail, then we can still play. But I don’t know that about rock music. I really do not know, can one play rock
music on a classical guitar? I don’t think so, right? What do they mean with rock?
The Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones. I believe they can not do much without electricity. I think it, I am not sure, but we can still
play, but rock music?
Question from audience; do you give autographs after your concerts?
Are you a star, can they touch you?
Andre: I am not a star, I am a human being and when I have time you can touch me (laughs), I am just a
normal man. It also depends on where we are, sometimes we are behind a wall and sometimes we are in the
middle of the audience. It is all okay with me.
You really like the German public that of course makes us happy. Is it true we are the best
Andre: Yes, it is really true, it is a combination. When I play in Germany the people know all the pieces that I
play. It is not because I picked them with the idea that they would all know it. I just play it and they know it
and there is such a wonderful atmosphere of togetherness. That you have here in Germany and yes that is for
a musician very nice. When you are on the stage and you know they all think, it is great that I come here and
of course I also find it wonderful to play here.
In October you were in Japan and gave concerts there.
How was it in Japan?
Andre: I have to say that they are very close to the German audience. Yes really, I thought Japan over all was
quite like Germany. Not that they speak German of course. But they are very punctual. 8 o’clock is 8 o’clock
and everything is very well organized. I live life a little more relaxed, but in spite of that, in our company and I
think in general in respect for each other you have to be punctual, that does one in Germany too and that was
in Japan fantastic.
Do you have a Japanese teacher yet?
Andre: No, I still have to do that, but I have been so busy, but I have definitely decided to learn it. I am
learning Japanese right now with a computer program that I bought in America on an airport and that is going
well. It is a wonderful program, but I have come to the point that I need a living, breathing teacher. Who can
cram it into my head on a daily basis.
Mr. Rieu: why do you only play waltzes, not that I do not like waltzes or have anything against them
but I have never heard you play……
Andre: First of all I do not just play waltzes. Everyone knows that. I cannot just play waltzes. Now, I play many
waltzes, because I like them and secondly I have decided., of course I was raised very classical, I think that in
the classical world there are very many preconceived opinions and, how do you say, there is an unwritten law
that when someone goes (coughs) everybody looks to see who did it. One can not show their feelings,
everything is so elite, to much an old fashioned museum kind of thing. I want to again bring some live in the
show and that I try to do during these evenings. Once I have collected my audience from around the world. I
would like to show my public how the classics really are. How Mozart, for example, was not such a stiff,
serious looking man the way we now play Mozart. He was a fun guy who most of the time talked a lot of
nonsense. I am saying that, he really was a genie. One should just try to put music back where it really
belongs, in the streets.
Does that happen with waltzes?
Andre: Oh, I do that with waltzes now and then I hope to slowly take my audience by the hand and then show
them the classics, and Scherezade will then come back too.
You have grown up in a very musical family. Your father was conductor, there were six children
and all sang in the church choir. Did you become a choirboy freely?
Andre: No, no not at all, but that went with it. We often asked, my brother and I, may we leave the choir, but
we were not allowed to. I am now very happy that we have done it. Because your whole musical sense gets
a very good basis when you sing as a child, that is not from me but that is…. Peter Schreyer has said that
also and there is also a very well known tenor who also started as a choirboy. No, I am perfectly happy that I
have done it but as a child, I of course wanted to rather play outside, to play soccer or what have you.
During your youth people always said that you would not amount to anything?
Andre: Yes, where did you hear that?
What kind of child were you?
Andre: I do not know what kind of child I was. I dreamed too much, and that is what made them think I would
never amount to anything. (laughs) I do not know why, you will have to ask my mother.
Besides the music what did you do as a child?
Andre: I played outside a lot. I tinkered with everything. I learned to make many different things. Music of
course, was always important. And there was the practice for the church choir and of course the violin, always,
practice, practice and practice. I have had the violin since I was five.
So you were always working on something when you were a child?
Andre: Yes, exactly.
What did you all tinker with, what did you make?
Andre: When I was very young I could already make and fix things and I would repair things around the
house. I also cooked and would often cook for the family. We were with nine at home. My grandmother lived
with us too. Years later when Marjorie and I had gotten together I also cooked and then I would also cook for
nine people. (Laughs) I always cook way too much. I have trouble measuring it.
You were a teenager in the sixties. Did the music of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones play a role in
Andre: Which music, from the Beatles? No that was prohibited in our house. I was totally oblivious to it. It
went completely by me and by all of us. When the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were famous I went
dressed like an artist, like Mozart, quite romantic with jabot and tight white pants. My violin teacher once
looked out the window and asked “where is your horse?” But later when I was already with Marjorie we both
had a late adolescent.
Where you an outsider because of that?
Andre: Now, looking back I think I was a bit of an outsider, but I was perfectly okay with that. And I was
accepted, I was not unhappy about it al all. I also knew boys with the hippie hairdo and the bright colored
pants, but I was different and they knew that.
And they were your friends?
Andre: Yes, yes we were good friends at the time that kind of music was just not interesting to me, later of
course it was.
Question from audience:
Mr. Rieu can you give me some hints, what can I do my daughter only plays violin once a week and I
cannot seem to motivate her.
Andre: Well yes, that is something like…
How did your father motivate you?
Andre: It was my mother who always said; “Hey, hey Andre upstairs”.
Andre: Yes, that has to be that way. There are violinists who say I was this wonder child and I always wanted
to play on my violin and I did not want to play outside whit the other children. I don’t know if I believe that, but
it is okay if they want to say that. I was a rather normal child and always wanted to play outside. But when I
held my violin in my hand, I would think, well let’s do it. Yes I do think that one practice session a week is not
enough, you really have to practice every day. I do have to say that if the child really does not want it then
leave it alone, please. To force a child to do it if she does not want to is awful. That is just not right,
somewhere there has to be this feeling there, that they really do want it, and if not let the daughter then go
horseback riding of something she does want to do.
Question from the audience:
Do you have the famous letter of your father with you? I once saw a program in which you said you
always have it with you.
Andre: I do not know. My father has written me a letter, the song list, but also a letter in which he wrote to me
that he thought, It was wonderful, how well I was doing, but that letter I have at home. I do not have that with
There was a time when you wanted to quit everything and become a pizza baker.
Andre: Right, Yes I did stop with everything, really. Yes, together with Marjorie I stopped with all the music
and I put the violin in a closet and threw away the key. I thought so that is good and I felt very light and
happy. That was the first and only time in my life that I was without a violin. I planned to open a pizza parlor.
We already had everything prepared, we had the house and the decorations, We even made the menu card
and we thought that the most expensive pizza would be the pizza Paganini and I would play something when
that was ordered. But then of course I had to be able to play Paganini, so I had to practice again and after
that the violin stayed (laughs) and I never did have a pizza restaurant.
You have been married for 27 years what is your wife’s part in your success?
Andre: Well, I always say: “if I had not met Marjorie, I would have probably ended up in the gutter. And I really
mean that, she has such an influence on me. And she always does it in such a fantastic way. She feels that I
am an artist at heart and that I have to be on the stage since that makes me happy and she accepts that I am
gone very often. I believe that is our secret. We are of course very often apart. She has worked very hard
together with me to reach this and in a way she is now being punished for that, with me being gone so often.
But she does understand and I do have to say that I do not like being gone. It always hurts and often I cry
when we leave, but once I am gone things are okay. That is just the way it goes. Her part in my profession is
very, very large. I am only the tip of the iceberg (Makes steeple with hands) and everything else is under the
ocean that is the way to really look at it.
Does she play an instrument?
Andre: No, a little bit piano, but she just does that for pleasure.
The first time you met her you were 13?
Andre: No, she was 13, I was 11. She was in school with my sister and there was a party at our house and
the whole class came and I noticed this one girl and that was Marjorie. Later, she became a teacher at the
school she and my sister had gone to and Marjorie was part of a committee there that was to organize cultural
evenings and she though then I ask the sister of Andre to come and play the harp for us, and just maybe
Andre will come too. And that way we met each other again. One evening after that she was at our house
and I held an ashtray for her the whole evening, so she could shake of her cigarette. That is how it
happened. It was of course not good about the ashtray.
Does she still smoke?
Andre: No, she does not and I do not either.
You do not wear a wedding ring is that normal among violinists?
Andre: Yes, I do, I do
Where is it?
Andre: Here it is, (fumbles with a chain around his neck and pulls out the wedding band.)
Andre; I have it around my neck because I once got caught with my finger because of the ring, it was on a door
I believe. That scared me enough that I said no more.
Nothing serious happened?
Andre: No, but I have to be careful with my fingers of course.
There are these stories that Mr. Rieu is having an affair.
Andre: One, only one? If I would believe the tabloids I have an affair and at least five children in every
Ms Bartels is mentioned.
Andre: Humph! There have been so many I cannot even remember all the names anymore.
Is that not irritating?
Andre: I think it is show business. All those tabloids which write all that stuff, it is just all entertainment. The
next morning people wrap the herring up in those same papers. I think that is how you should see it.
Ah, but I have read Mr. Rieu cheats on his wife.
Andre: Well, if you believe everything that is in those magazines, that is then your fault not my fault.
So remember the wedding ring is on a chain and the tabloids write for entertainment.
Andre: They call my office and will say: we will write this or this, you can choose. So, I will say you will write
what you want any way so just write. And everyone who believes what is written in those magazines, it is their
But all what is happening here is real!
Andre: Absolutely real.
What is the average age of the members of your orchestra and how do you choose them?
Andre: It is a very young orchestra. The average age I do not know exactly, maybe 25 or so, quite young.
That keeps me young too; of course I am 53 and the oldest. How I hire is simple, one must of course be able
to play their instrument well. There is an audition. That goes fast, I can hear quickly whether you can play
well or not, then we sit down and talk. Now if that conversation goes something like: How much money am I
going to make and how many days will I have off and how is it with the insurance, etc blah, blah, blah. Then
that conversation is not going to take very long. I am not saying that should not be talked about, but it should
not be the first questions. The first questions should be more like, may I please do this, I think it is so
wonderful, what you do and I also want to make music. When it goes that way, we see eye to eye and then I
would say, we are going on tour where we can work together and there we can see if this will work out in the
long run. Most of the time when a conversation goes well, the tour will go well also.
And then they stay.
You always say that you are the boss, and you are also not a friend of long discussions?
Andre: Yes, and I think that is the right way, but discussions are something else, but a discussion should
not…. For instance, this morning there came a point when I said I will make the decision or we are still talking
about it tomorrow morning. It was just a small thing.
Do you think that it is possible that one can still be popular with the people?
Andre: Of course, that is not the point. I believe many people, also in the politics, need a leader there is no
leader, but then they immediately say remember 50 years ago? (Hitler) There was a leader but that is
nonsense. You should not always immediately reach back to such bad examples in history. There were also
many good people who used to decide and said we do it this way. Otherwise it does not work. When one is a
leader, a good leader I believe one can, like in my case with orchestra people. They are all musicians who
have studied hard to make music and you have to let them do just that. When a musician in my orchestra has
a good idea, I will say; great, please we will do it just like that. So it really is a give and take. But everything
under the direction of one, it should be organized from one point or it will not work. And I believe one can have
a lot of fun together, although one person is the leader. It is also not that I would not want a leader above
me…. I think that would be fantastic. It is by us really shitty in the politics. The government failed again. It is
no wonder because there is not one man, from who I think and many people agree with me on that, from who
we could think that he knows what he is talking about and who we could believe and feel like it would be
okay. It is just all nonsense. And I think that is very sad.
Another audience question;
From how many different countries are your musicians?
Andre: From many different countries, I believe we have eight nationalities at the moment. Many of course are
from Limburg. (Dutch province where he lives) I live in Maastricht in the south of Holland. We are a little bit
Germany, a little bit Belgium and a little bit Holland. The area where we live is very pretty. We don’t really
feel like we are completely Dutch, we are part German and part Belgium too, because of where we live. It is a
very musical province. Every village, every town has a choir, a fanfare, a orchestra, a youth orchestra and a
marching band. It is really wonderful and many of my musicians do originally come from the area I live in. But
I also have a few Americans, Germans, Belgium, and Romanians. What else? And it makes a colorful mix.
They do all live in the area. I think that is important. It is not good when everybody first has to travel to get
here. We travel together, we are always together, and you can hear that on the stage. That is also one of my
questions. I want that.
Your astrological sign is the scales, so you just had a birthday in October?
Andre: Yes, October.
Did the orchestra surprise you with something?
No, moment (thinking) No, when we are under way, we just play a happy birthday song which is what we do
for each other. When we start a practice then we go play (hums part of Dutch happy birthday song) But I do
not remember where I was, however I will find out (gets hand held out and checks)
When exactly is your birthday? I could not find that out anywhere.
Andre: Sometime in October.
You will not tell?
Do you have a reason?
Andre: No, just because. I like it better that way.
Your son now, your younger son, now also works for you?
Andre: Pierre, right, as production leader worldwide.
And your older son studies Art history. No musicians among them. Does that hurt you?
Andre: No, not at all, the are great boys and we, Marjorie and I have thought about and discussed the rearing
of our children we also read much about it and we tried to follow through with that. One of these discussions
was what will we do with the instruments, I have of course given them violin lessons when they were young,
are we going to be strict with that and are we going to force them. We discussed that fully and we decided not
to do that. First of all; I do not have the time to do it, I want to stand on the stage myself. She also had her
activities as a teacher. So we said; Okay boys. If you really do not want to do it, you do not have to. Very
soon after that the little one broke his small violin over the head of his bigger brother and that was the end of
their violin career. (Laughs)
You have said that you did not always see eye to eye with your own father. What pulled you apart?
Andre: Listen, my father was not so…. He was always gone. He was not all that interested in us from what I
can remember now. He had his music, always his rehearsals for his new concerts. He never practiced with
me for example. I always had to do everything myself, not that I think that is so bad. There was just no
intimate contact with my father. Later when we both were musicians, I was the black sheep, I made my own
art and he had his art and then we had discussions about it.
It is ten years ago, in 1992, that he passed away. So he really did not see your big success. Do you
think he would have been proud of you today?
Andre: I am sure he would. He had already said; the way you do that is fantastic, I would not be able to do
what you do. I make my own music and you make yours and you do a wonderful job. Please keep doing it for
the public. So I am positive he would have been proud of me.
Is Maastricht your birthplace and do you live there in a castle?
Andre: Yes, Maastricht is my birthplace. The castle is my office and I live next door in a very ordinary house.
They are next to each other, so I can go easily to my office every day. The castle is also a hobby of mine. It
was in a very dilapidated state. And I have it…. I am not finished; I am not even close to finished. I do not do
it myself but with special people who…. But totally according to my own ideas we restore it slowly.
Does the castle have a story?
Andre: Yes, it does. I had that researched by a historian. The best and most important part of the story is
there lived a Duke here. Duke blah, blah, blah, I do not know, a French name it was around fourteen hundred
something, in the time of Louis the 14e. There were many French in Maastricht, just as the Spanish to
request from Maastricht, because in that time Maastricht was a very good fortress, they had all kinds of
installations, to prevent that the enemy could raid Maastricht. And then D’Artagnan, one of the musketeers
spent the night by Duke blah, blah, where I now live, in this castle and there he had his last breakfast,
because the next morning he died in front of the wall of Maastricht.
In your office, his last breakfast.
Andre: Exactly, it that interesting or not?
That is inspiring.
Andre: And later, that is also documented, that other story is also absolutely true, but the contract that
established Belgium was signed in my house in 1823 or something like that I think. So it is quite a historical
Mr. Rieu we are almost at the end of the broadcast.
Andre: Well, that went fast.
But we should not forget the prices that you brought, all these wonderful albums. I think the big
prize should be the latest CD. So what is the price question?
Andre: The prize question is a very simple one; in which year has Antonio Stradivarius, the builder of my violin,
built this violin? It was his second violin and he was still very young, he was 23. So what was the year?
Sent the correct answer to Karin Borsicke, In the meantime will we see what the result is of our poll
question. Can you ask it again?
Andre: My question was: I have had this in my head for some time; would it be a good idea or not to introduce
music as a required class in schools all over the world?
Good many at home have cast their vote and 71% said yes, it would be a good idea to have music as a
required class in schools.
29% say there are more important things to have in school. So the majority thinks it is good.
What exactly do you mean with it?
Andre: Required, of course does not sound to good, but personally I think that if everybody in the world would
make music, would play an instrument, the world would be a different place. I believe that if Saddam Hussein
would practice the violin six hours a day, he would not have time for such shitty things. I know that for sure.
You have also said: “I also think that one should learn to dance”.
Andre: Dancing is not bad either, absolute, but I rather play the waltz then you dance.
You do not dance, is that correct and Marjorie was not able to persuade you to learn to dance?
Andre: Badly, we have been married for a long time, but once we almost got divorced. That was when we had
dance lessons. I would say “I can dance, and you cannot” and she would say “I can dance but you cannot”,
and we would have an argument. So finally we said, whatever, we are going to stop these dance lessons.
Now in reality she can dance really well and I cannot and that is the truth.
Mr. Rieu cannot dance the waltz! We have our first winner. Since she was so fast, can you write her
a personal wish? Her name is Uwe. (He signs the CD) All the others who get the right answer will
also get a CD. The first nine, I think.
Andre: I thought all 2000.
If you sent us some more. We also have more than 2000 in our audience.
Andre: Maybe 2000 right answers.
We still have to resolve the question about when the violin was built.
Andre: Should I say that now?
Yes, do you know it by heart?
Andre: Yes I sure do know it by heart. In 1667.
Andre: Yes, you cannot imagine what it means to me to every day have her in my hands. I try to think really
every day about it. 1667. What happened in that time, who lived then.
Wood to make the violin has to dry al least 100 years. Then it is 1567. The tree also lived for maybe 100
years that makes it 1467, that have I here in my hands. That is Columbus or so, and I that in my hands every
day, Unbelievable. It is so thrilling.
Does she have a soul?
Andre: Absolutely, she lives. The beautiful thing is when one plays you feel it, it vibrates with you, you can
really detect it.
You would also not lend her out?
Andre: No, I see it this way. She belongs to me now. I have paid money for her. I take care of her like a good
house father and a I am very happy that I am in the situation that I can play this instrument. When I am old of I
cannot play anymore, then she should go to the next violinist who can play her but a violin should be played.
Would you ever give her away?
Andre: I do not know. I do not know what will happen in the future.
As long as it is someone who can value her?
Andre: Exactly, and who plays on her. I have heard that the violin from Menuhin was bought by Bill Gates and
now hangs in a cabinet and I think that is awful.
Well, she will be played on a lot on the tour which will start on November 25, in Emden. 53 Concerts.
Andre: Did you count them?
Yes, then you can hear the beautiful sound of the Stradivarius. February 25, is the last concert in
Andre: The dates are on my website. There everyone can see it.
Thank you very much for your visit and much fun and success.
Andre: You are welcome. It was fun.
This picture/drawing was printed in
many tabloids in Germany. Ms
Bartels did an in depth interview
with Andre and traveled to Mallorca
with him during taping of Dreaming
for that interview. He also took her
to a Gala event. As we know
Marjorie does not do those.