André Rieu

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Not to be confused with André Riou.
André Rieu
Andre Rieu 2009.jpg
Rieu in 2009
Background information
Birth name André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu
Born (1949-10-01) 1 October 1949 (age 66)
Origin Maastricht, Netherlands
Genres Classical, Classical crossover, Waltz, Easy listening
Occupation(s) Conductor, violinist
Instruments Violin
Years active 1978–present
Labels Denon Records, Philips
Notable instruments
Stradivarius violin (1667)[1]

André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu (born 1 October 1949) is a Dutch violinist and conductor best known for creating the waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra. Together they have turned classical and waltz music into a worldwide concert touring act, as successful as some of the biggest global pop and rock music acts.[2] For his work, Rieu has been awarded such honours as the Order of the Netherlands Lion by the Netherlands, the Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France, and the Honorary Medal by his native Province of Limburg.

Early life[edit]

The name Rieu is of French Huguenot origin.[1] Rieu's father, of the same name, was conductor of the Maastricht Symphony Orchestra. Showing early promise, André began studying violin at the age of five. From a very young age, he developed a fascination with orchestra. He studied violin at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège and at the Conservatorium Maastricht, (1968–1973), studying under Jo Juda and Herman Krebbers. From 1974 to 1977, he attended the Music Academy in Brussels, studying with André Gertler, finally receiving his degree "Premier Prix" from the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.[3]


At university he performed the Gold And Silver Waltz by Franz Lehár. Encouraged by the audience reaction[citation needed] he decided to pursue the waltz form. Rieu formed the Maastricht Salon Orchestra, and served as violinist with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, he created the Johann Strauss Orchestra and established his own production company. Since then, his melodramatic stage performances and rock-star demeanor have been widely associated with a revival of the waltz music category[citation needed]. André Rieu plays a 1667 Stradivarius violin.[1]

Johann Strauss Orchestra[edit]

The Orchestra began in 1987 with 12 members, giving its first concert on 1 January 1988. Over the years it has expanded dramatically, nowadays performing with between 80 and 150 musicians.

Rieu and his orchestra have performed throughout Europe, North and South America, Japan, and Australia. The size and revenue of their tours are rivalled only by the largest pop and rock music acts. In 2008 Rieu’s extravagant tour featured a full size reproduction of Empress Sisi’s Castle, the biggest stage ever to go on tour at that time.[4] During the first half of 2009, André Rieu was the world’s most successful male touring artist, according to Billboard magazine.[2]

Andre Rieu and Carmen Monarcha (2009)
Recent world tour results in Billboard / Pollstar annual worldwide top tours lists
Year Rank # Shows Revenue Source
2013 #20 70 shows $49,983,266 Billboard Top 25 Tours 2013[5]
2012 #10 99 shows $46,785,71 Billboard Top 25 Tours 2012[6]
2011 # 9 102 shows $67,104,756 Billboard Top 25 Tours 2011[7]
2010 #16 86 shows $39,992,285 Billboard Top 25 Tours 2010[8]
2009 # 6 112 shows $95,854,338 Billboard Top 25 Tours 2009[9]
2008 # 8 71 shows $76.9 mll Pollstar’s top 10 worldwide tour acts 2008[4]

Rieu records both DVD and CD repertoire at his own studios in Maastricht in a wide range of classical, popular, and folk music, as well as thematic music from well-known soundtracks and musical theatre. His lively orchestral presentations, in tandem with effective marketing, have attracted worldwide audiences to this emergent subgenre of classical music.

In addition to two World Music Awards, Rieu's recordings have gone gold and platinum in many countries, including 8-times Platinum in the Netherlands.

Television is also an important outlet for Rieu and his orchestra. Their annual New Year's concerts from Vienna have become a Holiday tradition on public broadcasting stations. For two weeks in 2013, one of the channels of the BSkyB group, Sky Arts 2 in the UK, was renamed as Sky Arts Rieu. Between 30 March and 14 April 2013 Sky Arts Rieu broadcast Rieu concerts and documentaries 24 hours per day.[10]

André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra will perform a marathon of 7 concerts in Bucharest, Romania, starting with 5 June 2015 at Piața Constituției where over 65,000 fans are expected to attend an exclusive event, as Romanian capital concerts are the only open-air shows that the artist is performing around the world, besides gigs in Maastricht, his native city. Over 150 people accompanied Rieu to Bucharest who will be singing in front of President Klaus Johannis. The decor will recreate a Greek temple, and for fitting worked no less than 350 people. He will continue his tour in Romania with concerts on 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 June and 14, besides this. Rieu stated that he worked 2-3 years only for this major event.[11]


In spite of its wide international success, Rieu's mix of waltzes, popular music, comedy, and pathos has attracted its critics. While extreme, David Templeton's view in the magazine All Things Strings is typical:

Ironically, it is Rieu’s own success that has earned him a horse-drawn carriage full of criticism, a pot-shot laden backlash aimed chiefly at the calculated emotionalism and theatrical flourishes of his performances, which, according to many, only cheapen the classical-music experience. Classical radio stations avoid his music as they might avoid a leper in the mall, though—let’s just say it plain and clear—Rieu is a superb violinist.[12]

Of Rieu's popularity and the media debate surrounding him, Eamon Kelly wrote in The Australian newspaper: "It is disappointing to see professional journalists indulging in cheap, inaccurate stereotypes to dismiss criticism of Rieu."[13] But he goes on to add: "Equally misguided are those who cursorily dismiss Rieu. Rieu's live and recorded performances have brought joy to millions of people. Few in his audiences are regular classical music attendees and it could be seen as promising that, via Rieu, they are listening to standards of the classical canon. The fact that Rieu's focus is on highly accessible, enjoyable repertoire is not an argument against his musical credentials."[13]

Chris Boyd, a critic writing for Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper, found he could not give a general criticism of Rieu's playing, as, except for "a clean and lyrical solo in Waltzing Matilda", his main stage function was apparently "blarney and delegation". However, Boyd also comments that the quality of the artists with whom Rieu works is "extraordinary".[14]


Selected discography[edit]

  • Maastricht Salon Orkest – Serenata (1984)
  • Hieringe biete 1 (1989)
  • D'n blauwen aovond (1992)
  • Merry Christmas (1992)
  • Strauss & Co (1994)
  • The Vienna I Love (1995)
  • In Concert (1996)
  • Strauss Gala (1997)
  • The Christmas I Love (October 1997)
  • Romantic Moments (1998)
  • 100 Years of Strauss (1999)
  • Fiesta! (October 1999)
  • La vie est belle (2000) – Berlin
  • Musik zum Träumen (Dreaming) (2001)
  • Live at the Royal Albert Hall (April 2002)
  • Love Around the World (November 2002)
  • Gala Concert (December 2002) – Hamburg
  • Romantic Paradise (September 2003) – Cortona, Italy
  • Live in Dublin (October 2003)
  • André Rieu at the Movies (March 2004)
  • The Flying Dutchman (July 2004)
  • Live in Tuscany (September 2004)
  • Songs from My Heart (2005)
  • Roses from the South (June 2005) – Mainau, Germany
  • New Year's Eve in Vienna (October 2005)
  • Auf Schönbrunn (July 2006) – Vienna)
  • Christmas Around the World (October 2006)
  • New York Memories (November 2006) – Radio City NY
  • The 100 Most Beautiful Melodies (May 2007) – Australian Albums: No.2
  • Masterpieces (September 2007) – Australian Albums: No.9
  • In Wonderland (November 2007) – Efteling, Nederland
  • Waltzing Matilda (April 2008) – Australian Albums: No.1
  • Live in Vienna (September 2008)
  • Ich tanze mit dir in den Himmel hinein (October 2008) – Wedding, Semper Opera, Dresden
  • Live in Maastricht II (November 2008)
  • Live in Australia (December 2008) – Australian Albums: No.14
  • You'll Never Walk Alone (May 2009) – Australian Albums: No.2
  • Live in Maastricht III (8 September 2009)
  • I Lost My Heart in Heidelberg (29 September 2009) – with the Berlin Comedian Harmonists
  • The Very Best of André Rieu (October 2009) – Australian Albums: No.23
  • Forever Vienna (December 2009) – UK: #2, IRE: No.4
  • You Raise Me Up – Songs for Mum (May 2010) – Australian Albums: No.8
  • My African Dream (August 2010) – South Africa
  • Live in Maastricht IV (September 2010)
  • Moonlight Serenade (November 2010) – Australian Albums: No.17
  • And the Waltz Goes On (2011)
  • Live in Brazil (2012)
  • Home for Christmas (11 December 2012)
  • Live in Maastricht VI (October 2013) – 25th anniversary
  • Nuits magiques (November 2013)
  • Music of the Night (2013)
  • Love Letters (February 2014)
  • Les mélodies du bonheur (May 2014)
  • Un amour à Venise (November 2014)
  • Arrivederci Roma (November 2015) – with His Johann Strauss Orchestra


  1. ^ a b c "Interview on German TV". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 30 Aug 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "international Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Andre Rieu". Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  3. ^ "André Rieu". Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  4. ^ a b "Andre Rieu is top 10 Touring act". Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Top 25 Tours of 2013". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  6. ^ "Top 25 Tours of 2012". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  7. ^ "Top 25 Tours of 2011". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  8. ^ "Top 25 Tours of 2010". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  9. ^ "Top 25 Tours of 2009". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  10. ^ "Andre Rieu Concerts, Documentaries And Pictures". Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  11. ^ "Andre Rieu a sosit la Bucuresti pentru maratonul de 7 concerte. Ce surpriza de proportii a pregatit pentru publicul roman" (in Romanian). Pro TV. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  12. ^ Templeton, David. "Profile of Waltz Violinist Andre Rieu / Interviews & Profiles / News / All Things Strings". Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  13. ^ a b "Music's Great Polariser". The Australian. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  14. ^ "The Morning After: Performing arts in Australia: Tie Me Kanga-Rieu Down, Sport: André Rieu's World Domination Tour". 2008-11-15. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 

External links[edit]