In Andre's shadow
De limburger July 1996
This is an old article, but there is very little information out about Marjorie and I
thought many of you might find this interesting.
Out of respect for Marjorie's wishes I will not post any pictures of her with this
article. Just a picture of her husband with wedding rings around his neck, On
some old clips from 1995 he only wears one ring on the chain.
Behind every successful man stands a strong woman and I love her for her
support of Andre and his dream. With this dream he makes so many people
happy. Of course she is a talented writer and her book, sketches for the
concerts and the words to the songs 'Lost Heroes' and 'Please, don't go' and
'Nur mit dir' are ample proof of that.
And let's not forget her role as mother. Pierre is a great young man, and I am
sure Marc is too. Andre is clearly very proud of both of them.
For eighteen years Marjorie Rieu worked in the background at the success of her
husband, Andre Rieu. She peddled with the folders, called theaters, took care of
the mail and chose the music for his repertoire. Now that he has reached the
top, she has written a book about her husband: Andre Rieu, my work, my life.
It actually was her father who laid the base of Andre's success. During the
1930s, this German escaped from Berlin to the Netherlands. The only thing he
brought with him was his extensive record collection with waltzes and operetta
music. When his daughter Marjorie later had her husband Andre Rieu listen to
these records, he immediately was wildly enthusiastic.
The result is well known; Andre polished up these melodies in his own way and
as result managed to take the Netherlands by storm with his violin. (and later also
Marjorie Rieu has written it all down in the book: Andre Rieu, my work, my life,
which will be published in August. She describes the success story of her
husband, a success to which she also contributed greatly. For 18 years Marjorie
lugged folders to large and small halls to try and persuade the theater directors to
give her husband a chance to perform. Together with the violinist she tweaked
the repertoire and wrote the text of the little sketches in between the music
pieces, took care of the mail and argued with theater directors who refused to
take Rieu's music serious, the same directors who now will fight to have the busy
stehgeiger and his Strauss orchestra with their sold out concerts in their Halls.
Marjorie still has difficulty comprehending it all. In their luxurious house in
Maastricht which the couple now calls home. She is still not quite used to the
spectacular view over the Maas. “"There goes another curious fan" From
behind the curtain she points at a car that slows down in front of the house.
"Daily busses and cars come by with fans who try to look inside”, she says. I am
still surprised when I see it".
Next to the house is a romantic castle, the new office for Andre Rieu
Productions. “"At first we had the office at home, but that has become much too
small, when Andre just started, we hammered a little desk together. “Kind of an
armoire with the little inbox for mail on the left and the outbox on the right, and in
the middle the typewriter. “This little handyman's desk is now replaced by a
castle with towers on the bank of the Maas".
Marjorie prefers not to see herself as the manager of her husband. "A manager
tells an artist exactly what he has to do. “I do not have to try that with Andre".
She does however remember very well how she was able to organize the first
performance for her Stehgeiger (standing violinist) in Cafeé Charlemagne on the
'Onze lieve vrouweplein'’ (name of square in Maastricht, translated means 'Our
dear women square') in Maastricht.
"Their pay was a glass beer. “It always was a tough sell; no one is waiting for
you with open arms. “I constantly mailed out flyers and letters throughout the
whole country, to every hall I could find. “Then I would follow up with a call a
month later, to ask if they would be interested in a performance. “Most of the
time that was not the case, often they would not take our music seriously, but
also often there was only a limited budget for music, and then they would rather
hire the Capital Operetta or a Salon Orchestra from Groningen”. (City in North of
Holland). “Maastricht and Heerlen were not too bad, but for years we did not
play in Weert and Roermond, because they did not take us serious. These are
the kind of stories that the publisher Strengholt wanted to have printed in a book.
“First they wanted Andre himself to write the book, but he does not have time for
that. “Because I was there every step of the way, I suggested that I would tackle
the job. Writing is not completely new for Marjorie, for years the ex-teacher
translated popular literature from German and she was on the board of the Van
Dale dictionary. In 1973, she even published her first book, ‘'Verwandte Worter',
(related words) a book of synonyms for students of the German language. I do
not think the students liked that book very much, I hope that my book about Andre
will be more successful.
When Andre in 1987 besides working with the Salon Orchestra, also started the
Strauss Orchestra, Marjorie hired a part-time secretary. Suddenly there was a
lot more to organize, for a large part due to the Orchestra being bigger. But
things really went out of control when the success exploded with the second
Waltz, about two years ago. You hope for success for a long time, but when it
finally happens, it still is overwhelming, says Marjorie. Especially the first year
was almost too much. “With every booking we used to shout, Hurray, we again
have food on the table for a while, but during the success of 'The second Waltz', I
only saw Andre on TV, he was always on the road. “Thank goodness, now we
can afford ourselves the luxury not to perform on Sundays.
There now is also plenty of food on the table. Marjorie shrugs her shoulders a
little perplexed. “Oh, I am not someone who yearns for millions. I do not want any
jaguars in front of the door and also no large luxurious yacht on the Maas.“We
now live in a beautiful house, but if we would have to move to something smaller
tomorrow, it would not be a problem for me, as long as it is a cozy, comfortable
home.“People regularly ask me if we do not have it made and we are we now not
able to take it easy, but we have a company with forty employees. “For that alone
we will have to keep going, after all you are responsible for that.“Right now things
are going really well, but I always have the feeling that success is fleeting and
that at some time it will all be over. In that aspect Andre is much more optimistic, I
am more of a realist. But the success also has negative sides, and people
sometimes feel sorry for me, when they see how much success Andre has with
women. “They will say that must be so difficult for Marjorie. “The tabloids
especially love to write about that. “I just stay in the background when after a
concert women rush up to him. I do not begrudge them that pleasure, it goes
with the territory. “A friend always tells me, “Fame is erotic, and you cannot
imagine what kind of letters we get daily. “Today Andre received a pink letter
from the US, with enormous letters it said; I am single, are you? “Sometime he
gets letters with pictures of ladies in sexy lingerie. “Oh well, I just let it happen
and do not worry about it.“Thank goodness there are also many letters of fans
who just enjoy his music.“Often people who are ill and they forget their suffering
for a while when they listen to his music. That is so rewarding and makes you
feel so good.
On the road to success Marjorie worked hard in the background and she still
prefers to stay out of the publicity. Never does she appear at the side of her
husband at parties. She hates it when she is approached as the wife of Andre
Rieu, and only with difficulty were we able to persuade her to do this interview.
I want to live a normal life; here in Maastricht it is not so bad, they are used to
Andre, but in the rest of the country, he cannot walk the street without being
bothered. “I prefer to stay as far away from that as I can. I do like to go to parties
but with my friends. “Those required parties, that is not for me.“Afterwards the
tabloids will write about what you were wearing and who you talked to, and of
course it is never the right thing, besides a writer belongs at a desk and not on
television or in the newspaper. I am always a little disappointed when I read a
book and later see the writer on TV, for me then is some of the magic gone.
D'n Blauen Aovond in Oeteldonk 1992
Johann Strauss Orchestra. 1992