Interview on German TV
Interview on Sept 27, 2004 with Reinhold Beckman
Translated by Helma Bauer and Sonja
I just checked and you can still watch this interview if you have a fast enough computer.
You can watch this interview on ARD ~~> Click for Beckman Interview
Reinhold Beckmann introduces Andre Rieu with the words from a critic:
"Andre Rieu does not stroke his violin, he kisses her with the bow"
Welcome Andre Rieu!
You pronounce my name very well.
French origin, Huguenot...came over
Tell me, what is the difference between a woman and a violin. Because the critic is talking about
Now, for one thing she looks very female, (makes an hourglass figure with his hands) if you don't play her
every day she will run away. It is with both the same, She also sleeps in bed with me, so...
So, she is always very close to you. I know you bought a Stradivarius. What we always try to
understand is what is so special at a Stradivarius?
It's not only a Stradivarius, it's THIS Stradivarius. A violin is really like a woman. She is unique. There are
many women but only one woman you love. With a violin it is the same.
Andre Rieu, you looked for a long time to find this Stradivarius.
Yes, it is really difficult until you get entrance into the violin world.... It's a small world, only 3 or 4 people
determine that over the whole world. And once they knew that Andre Rieu was looking for a violin and
preferably a Stradivarius. They came like flies to honey. It was unbelievable, I did nothing. They came from
the other side of the world with violins saying: come, play. I actually had many different Stradivari under my
chin to try out but it was very difficult because it is such a important decision.
So, this Antonio Stradivarius lived in the 17th century, I looked it up. Why are his violins so
exceptional and why does it cost so much money? I think you have paid 1 Million Euro?
Yes, this is a very special violin, in my personal opinion. It was his second violin and he was pretty young.
He was 23 years old, just married and I think you can hear that he was in love at the time. This thing took
part in everything.
And you really know this for sure it was the second violin he built?
One knows, it is documented. It's located in the books. 1667, that means it is a very old violin. And he
became 90 years old and later he built a factory. The world of violins is divided into periods like Van Gogh
and Picasso. The blue period, the red period and so on. Some periods are simply more expensive than
others. Perhaps only the red color was empty. They divided it in such a way. So, it brings pretty much
money. So, it's his second violin and I love it.
Andre, tell me what you felt when you played this violin for the first time?
I will never forget it. I did not even play it, I only pulled at the strings, and I already heard it sounds
Does your violin have its own bodyguard. I mean she's worth one million Euro, it must be always
Of course I won't act like Yo-Yo Ma, he lost his cello in a cab in New York. Fortunately, it was a honest
driver and he brought it back. But I am away from home very often. I have interviews and dates and this
and that and the risk is large that I forget it somewhere. I do not want that. I feel really responsible. I paid
for it but I do not feel as an owner. It is a world property. A violin like this. And I hope I can keep it well
and pass on to the next violin-generation.
Andre Rieu is not a stage name. Huguenot descent, 5 brothers and sisters. Your father was
conductor. How was it at home? Was everyone assigned an instrument? You will play violin, you
will play cello and so on....
Yes, it was kind of like that. My mother said you've got good hands, you can play violin. And I remember
one moment I had to go into a shop, my father was there, and I had to play something on a violin. And I
said I cannot. So, I hated it in the beginning because that violin I had was much too big I could not play it.
How old were you?
I was 5 years old. Fortunately I had a beautiful blond teacher, I immediately fell in love and that helped.
Ach, she was at fault. Already at 5 years, young Andre knew because the teacher is beautiful, he
will practice violin.
No, I knew even earlier that I wanted to become a musician. My mother says, I must have been 3 years
old, there was a concert and there was a violin soloist, again a lady, and she played so beautifully, that I
thought that is what I want to do too. I already knew that.
Andre, you're born 1949. It means you experienced the good wild times of the Rolling Stones and
That passed me completely.
How could that happen?
Yes, really. I totally missed it. With us at home was only Bach, Rachmaninov, Beethoven and so on.
Miniskirt, oh my God, it was a shame.
So, when it concerned the miniskirt...
No, no way with us.
Did you relive it at later times, when you discovered that music pleased you?
Yes, I had met my wife by then. She had a similar education as I. Her father was from Berlin, very strict
upbringing. And then we decided together: Okay. we retrieve puberty. I wore earrings….
And wild music?
And wild music. And now, I listen to all kinds of music I have 2 sons and they are listen to all kinds of music
and I'm not so narrow-minded anymore.
What do the sons think of the music of their father?
They love that. I am very proud of that. Both, 23 and 25 years old, they often listen to my music. My last
new CD Pierre...my youngest son, he is my production-manager, and he travels with me around the world ,
he loves the Wiener Praterleben.... Yes, I'm astonished but it's true.
Andre, maybe there are still a few people watching who don't know who you are. It could only be a
few, but for these people we have a short video. Pictures which shows what goes on at an André
***VIDEO CLIP IS SHOWN***
I really notice is that there are a lot of young people in the audience. How do you manage to bring
them into ecstasy?
I always ask myself that too. I think it's because we are on stage..... and it is not just me, I selected the
orchestra around me with very great care, and we all have music in our blood in the same way and they all
want to make music like I do. Not complain about money, or it's too cold here or too hot there. No, we
want to make music. And that is why we are going around the world. Just to make music. And that seems
to radiate from us when we play. I love it when the people react. I want the contact with the public. As I
look in your eyes right now, so I want that with the audience too. We simply show our audience who we
are, we do not role-play.
You started very small. With the Maastricht Salon Orchestra with 5 People. Salon Orchestra
sounds like light music. Quickly with the orchestra to some place, take out the instruments and
here we are. Where did you play?
Everywhere. Restaurants, retirement homes. We started very small and I am glad that I did it that way. It
happens very often that musician or artists are pushed ahead and created by producers. And then just as
easily they are dropped. I don't have a producer. I did all this by myself and I want do it this. People ask
Do you not want to give all that traveling around the world up?" No, I want this and I'm aware what
happened to me. And I still have both feet on the ground.
There was a period things did not go well with you. You were sort of frustrated and you decided
to open a pizzeria. Why does it failed?
It had to do with this late puberty. I really wanted to stop with music. I always played the violin and there
was never a time that I did not have the violin on my mind. And my wife also wanted to do some different.
And we wanted to open a pizzeria. And the most expensive pizza on the menu was to be the Pizza
Paganini, so we thought, and then I would come and play some Paganini. But when I thought about it I
realized that to play Paganini I have to practice.. So I started to practice again and the violin stayed and
the pizzeria never happened.
And then you decided in 1988 to start with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. Strange thing that it
took such long time until the record companies saw you as a successful project. It was in the
middle of the 90s.
Yes, 10 years.
Why you could not convince the companies in earlier?
I don’t know. They did not want me. I went there every year, knocking on the door and saying, Hello, here I
am again. Come to my concert, you really need to see what happens in the hall. People go crazy, they
stand on their chairs. If you show it on TV or make a record it will become a hit. But they would say: ah, go
home and play for your grandma. We make serious music and pop music but no more waltzes. Every year
the same way And then, 10 years later a secretary from such a big boss said to her boss: you have to
make a record with him.
It took such a long time.
Yes, such a long time and in that way did it finally start to roll.
How is it like with you on tour? Next week you will go to Japan. How do the Japanese react to your
Crazy, it's unbelievable.
What happens there?
Yes, they stand on the chairs and are completely moved. We always look forward to Japan.
They totally freak out?
Yes, they totally freak out.
And they know your music?
They know the music, and they think that they can dance the waltz, but they cannot but nevertheless they
And they cannot the 3/4 time on the dance floor?
No, they cannot. No, it cannot be done.
So what do they do?
Move. Very spontaneously, almost like a child. It's wonderful for us to watch at it.
You're very amused by it?
Yes, absolutely. I think it is fantastic for me and for the whole Orchestra.
And how do the American react to it?
Totally different but also very spontaneously. And they love us, it's unbelievable. They drive thousands of
miles by car just to see us. And when they see us on the way they say:” Please, please wait, don't leave
yet. It's really beautiful, beautiful country.
You make people so happy with your music and this elegant and graceful character. What about
nature of the private man?
I'm always the same like I'm right now or on stage. Of course, I do not want to say that I always waltz
through the house, of course not. But I like to laugh. I look at the sunny side of life and try to take things
You have become a very big company, Andre Rieu. You do not only have 2 tour buses, you must
organize everything logistically to be able to quickly get from here to there, and you have your own
airplanes to make that possible. How many people work for you?
I started to study the violin and suddenly I have 100 people with a binding contract working for me. There
are also an additionally 20 people as freelancer. Also a few hundred people are working only for me as a
company. For example the light-, sound and screen engineers.
Does that worry you?
Yes, I have a lot of people around and to help and organize. But my wife and I also really do many things
ourselves. We do not have a manager or anything.
It means your wife is sort of manager to you.
I would not say it this way. I do everything you can see on stage, and she does everything behind the
scene. But not so much the business side. She comes up with the ideas for new CDs, new specials, and
she writes the text for me. She's always there for me.
She even wrote a book for you?
It is a biography ‘'My Music My Life' by Marjorie Rieu. A book written by your wife. There is a
stereotypical idea about the Waltz king, living in a fairy tale castle. It has to be like that. But this
house is full of legends and anecdotes. What legends or stories do know you about the castle?
There are of course legends and stories but also real history. One story, that people always like to hear is
that, D'Artagnan (one of the 3 Musketeers) ate his last breakfast here. He actually died in front of the walls
of Maastricht. A French Lord lived in my castle at the time and D'Artagnan also lived here at the time he
was fighting for his king. It's a nice story to tell. But If it's true.....
But the contract from Belgium, I think in 1932 was signed in my kitchen. And that's true.
A historical place. And now, the home of the waltz king. I mean it can happen fast, the home could
became a Grace land of the Waltz. Is it now a pilgrim place for the Fans?
Yes, A lot of people do come by. Sure.
How do you handle this?
Oh, one gets used to it.
They also ring the doorbell?
Yes, they ring and ask is the coffee ready, because sometimes on stage I say: I invite everybody for a cup
of coffee. And they really come.
I heard there actually are tourist tours to Maastricht, to see how you live there in that fairy castle.
You are married for nearly 30 years to your wife Marjorie. At age 13, you met her at a St Nicolas
Right. She was in the same class at school as my sister. There were a lot of girls, but I only noticed one.
And she told me, there were so many children by you at home, ( I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers) but she
only noticed one boy and that was me.
So, it was real puppy love?
Yes, absolutely. From that moment I was always aware, there she lives, there she is. And then, when she
was 20 or 22 we met once more, after a concert of my father and I held her ashtray for her the whole
evening. It wasn't necessary at all, but...
Great Gentleman. Held the ashtray.
Yes, the whole evening and that is how it started. (laughs)
Nearly 30 years. There will many people ask for how to keep that kind of love?
Go away often. (laughs) Trust each other. I really mean that, do not spent every day together. She knows
very well that I hate to be away from home. I really mean that, I already felt that way with the Limburger
Orchestra and now every time that I leave, brr, I find it awful, but I always come back again.
Okay, Mr. Rieu, I mean you are so admired, the women are at your feet. I'm sure there are groupies
in your music too. I suppose seductions of the most beautiful kind. How do you deal with?
Simply go on with my job. It comes with the job. It's like this. I feel flattered. Now, I'm standing on stage
making romantic music, wearing a beautiful suit and everything looks beautiful. And for that reason it
happens. It would be bad if no one says.....
No, we just saw it on the video. People are in such a good mood. 120 concerts per year, it's a lot
and count the travel-days to it.
More than half-year.
Your wife is in Maastricht, organizing things from home, and you're on the road. I know that
besides the violin you are a virtuoso on an other instrument. You're addicted to writing ISMS.(short
messages by mobile phone) How many ISMS can you write in one minute?
Oh, yes that is right, many, many. It's the invention of the century. That's my opinion.
Yes..No...not only mine. Because you can.. not right now of course, but.. although..
We can now SMS across the table?
No, not like this, but the advantage of SMS is that you can answer when you want and you can continue
with what ever it is you are doing. Calling on the phone disturbs the atmosphere. SMS you can do like this.
Under the table. When you are happy you received good news?
Yes, right, but also the simple things. I SMS with Marjorie for example when I'm in Japan or America. I'm
sitting here, the birds are singing, the sun is shining and I feel good. How are you? - Those normal
everyday things. We can be far away but nevertheless close together. That is all possible with this
wonderful SMS invention.
You can't do without one thing when you're on tour. Do you still have the mobile fitness studio?
How does it work?
I bought an old bus, emptied it out and added fitness equipment. I actually bought it for myself, but one
morning I appeared at breakfast in an exercise outfit. They all thought: Hey what is he going to do. And
now they all join in.
That's great. You have said that you are going to become 120 years old. What makes you so sure?
I only want to say with that: we are all saying in the time that we live now: 80 years is old, 100 years is
ancient and 120 is impossible. It's because we say that to ourselves. I'm not the only one thinking like this.
Science is hard at work to make it possible for us to become older and I just say to myself I am going to
be 120 years old. At age of 100 I'll be in the prime of my life. At age of 54 years I'm in my youth and at
110, I think I want to repeat all the travel around the world I do now, and will visit all the nice cities again,
because I have no time for sightseeing now. And then I still have 10 years remaining.
Now you will have soon a very youthful birthday, as it were a puberty birthday. You're going to be
on October 1st, 55 years old. Will there be a big party in the castle?
Am I at home? Yes, I am. Of course, yes. With friends.
And then it is of to Japan. There is a new CD. “The Flying Dutchman”. Starting from November the
German tour. Why did you call it ‘The Flying Dutchman’?
We fly so much around the world and there is beautiful music from everywhere on this CD. There is
German, American, Japanese music. Two wonderful Japanese pieces, French music. It was fun for us to
make that tour around the world.
It surprises me, there is not one waltz on it. ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow' an American classic,
there also is a Brazilian hymn on it. ‘Manha De Carnival. I wish you all the best, especially for the
tour in Japan. But I learned it, they going to be freak out. Dancing on the chairs with the first piece.
And then there will be a new tour in Germany. Many Thanks, André Rieu.