How Well Do You Know... André Rieu?
29 May 2019 -
Violin master André Rieu has sold over 40 million CDs and DVDs worldwide. He’s also been awarded more than 500 Platinum awards plus 270 Gold awards for his phenomenal success and he made UK chart history by having the highest charting classical album this century. So chances are you’re familiar with the ‘Modern King of Waltz’. But how well do you really know this talented Dutch violinist?
Here are six facts about André Rieu that we bet you didn't know!
His Personal Violin Is Worth €2.2m
From a Stentor to a Cremona, a Mendini to a Forenza Secondo, you may be wondering what it is that André Rieu deems worthy of playing alongside his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra.
Perhaps surprisingly, his personal violin is a Stradivarius that is more than 350 years old, dating from 1667! It’s worth several million Euros.
What makes Stradivarius violins so special? Musicians and scientists are still searching for a complete explanation of what makes a Stradivarius so unique. The climate in which the violins were made may have been a factor, or perhaps it's down to the chemicals that the wood was treated with. The truth is, no-one really knows for sure - and the debate rages on!
He Lives In An Actual Castle
Rieu’s home, 'Huis met de Torentjes' which literally translates as 'House with the Small Towers', is a spectacular castle in Maastricht where it’s said the real D’Artagnan had his last breakfast before he died in battle serving Louis XIV.
What’s more, as a child, Rieu frequented piano lessons at the castle, and even then he dreamed of living in it and filling it with beautiful chandeliers.
André Rieu's home, 'Huis Met De Torentjes'
He Dreams Of Playing At The North Pole
Fancy seeing André Rieu at the North Pole? It might be more likely than you think! Apparently, the violin master would like to play a concert at the North Pole to publicise the effects of global warming. He’s also keen to share the magic of the waltz with the local polar bears! “I love bears,” he said, “and I think when they hear the Danube the polar bears will dance."
He Almost Went Bankrupt in 2008
In 2008, Rieu had a financial crisis after having not one, but three castles built for his World Stadium Tour: A Romantic Vienna Night. The castles were full-size replicas of Vienna’s imposing Schönbrunn Palace and were even sent to Australia to play the setting for his concert.
But why three castles? The first did not meet fire safety standards, so a second was built. Then ticket sales became so enormous that in order to play back-to-back performances, a third castle had to be built as there wouldn’t have been enough time to take one down and rebuild it in-between concerts!
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
He Doesn't Like Listening To Music
If you’re looking to unwind, you might take a bath, have a cup of tea or turn on some classical music.
But despite coming from a musical family (his dad was conductor of the Maastricht Symphony Orchestra) André doesn't turn to music to relax. He's stated that he’d much rather sleep, because he spends so much time listening to music as part of his job.
We think that’s fair enough!
He's Been Married For 40 Years
André Rieu has been married to his wife, Marjorie Rieu, for over 40 years. You may be wondering why you haven’t seen her photographed with her husband before. Well, there’s a good reason for that.
Mrs Rieu rarely appears in public with André and she once said in an interview that she does not wish to be defined by her husband. That's what we call girl power!
Rieu’s sense of humour and showmanship mean that his concerts are renowned as being fun-filled extravaganzas full of surprises. And lucky for us, his tour in 2020 will bring him to Liverpool and Birmingham.
If you’d love to hear his repertoire of romantic, emotional ballads and the most celebrated of waltzes, then make sure to check out our André Rieu & his Johann Strauss Orchestra – Live in Birmingham break and André Rieu & his Johann Strauss Orchestra – Live in Liverpool break.