Andre Rieu live
Phone interview with Keith McGowan in the Melbourne Observer/Feb 2008
World-acclaimed violinist André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra will stage a third concert in Melbourne in
November, he reveals exclusively this week. And André Rieu will be in Australia in May to promote his national
tour, and again in June to film a DVD with an Aussie theme.
He gave news of the developments in a wide-ranging interview with 3AW’s Keith McGowan.
Keith McGowan: Its 29 minutes to One O’clock at 3AW and as promised we are now able to talk with André Rieu.
André. good morning in Melbourne, welcome to 3AW once again.
André Rieu: Hi Keith, how are you? Nice to speak to you.
Keith McGowan: It is lovely to have the Dutch fiddler talking to us on the radio. It's most kind and very generous of
you to spare the time for us.
André Rieu: Oh but you know, my thoughts are always with Australia the last week because I'm taping a new CD, a
new DVD and that's an Australian CD - it's called Waltzing Matilda.
Keith McGowan: Waltzing Matilda.
André Rieu: Yeah.
Keith McGowan: We last spoke André, before Christmas. You were in the United States of America and I guess
much has happened with you since that time. You've had Christmas and, and New Year. I hope they were lovely
times for you and your family and the members of your orchestra.
André Rieu: Yes Keith. I can tell you they offered me millions and millions of dollars to play at Christmas time,
between Christmas and New Years, but I never do that because I want to be at home. Simply at home, with my wife
and my family with Christmas.
Keith McGowan: Isn't that lovely? And it was a, it was a wonderful…..I hope Father Christmas was very…or, Kris
Kringle or whatever you might call him, was very generous to you.
André Rieu: Oh yes he was, he's always and you know, he's… but you know for me Christmas is even more the
being at home and simply peace and love, than all the presents you know. That is not so important for me.
Keith McGowan: I just thought there might have been a, you know 400-year-old Stradivarius left under the
Christmas tree or something.
André Rieu: You are a joker.
Keith McGowan: Well that's what you… that's what you call me - the joker.
André Rieu: Yeah I know, therefore I call you a joker.
Keith McGowan: André, where are you now? Where, as we speak, where are you?
André Rieu: I am at home in Maastricht where I live and every morning I, I just come back
from my studio on the other end of the city where we are going, where we are rehearsing
and taping every day the new um, the new CD. You know, they call me in the world,
'the waltz king", and therefore I thought "my God, I have so much success in Australia
and they loved me. So I'm… I cannot do else than this year make a CD for Australia".
Keith McGowan: I'm wondering what songs you would….what music you would play on an
Australian CD. When, when I heard about this a few days ago Angela and I spent some time
wondering what music you would actually play on an Australian CD.
André Rieu: Shall I tell you the surprise? It is…we found an Australian girl, Mirusa who was born in Brisbane and
and who is touring now with me for a year. She is a soprano and she has one of the
most beautiful voices I ever heard. And she is going to sing together with me and
my orchestra, some Australian songs, like of course Waltzing Matilda, Botany
Bay, Tie Me Kangaroo... All Among The Gum Trees, Still Call Australia Home …
but I will tell you, the first time I heard Botany Bay, and you know, it, it was
song like that dah, dah, dah, dah and then I said "No please, make it another tempo".
And now she sings "dah, dah, dah…(hums)".
Keith McGowan: Oh that'll be wonderful.
André Rieu: So beautiful. It is so beautiful; everybody had tears in their eyes and
have said "My God". And, and all my members of the orchestra, every day come
to me and say "My God, what is this beautiful, all this music, from Australia?
I think you will love it. I hope you'll love it as we love it.
Keith McGowan: Ah, there is absolutely, absolutely no doubt about that, its
just…that's wonderful newsthat you're telling us. When… how far into the project
are you André?
André Rieu: We are almost finished with the whole CD because it's going to be
released in Australia in May, so for…that is what I'm informed, so we have to
hurry to, to make everything okay. But you know, we are living in, in a sort of
dream because everyday we hear from Australia all the good news - that the people love me and they even buy
even more DVDs and CDs, so you know, it's all fantastic and, and we are looking forward to come to Australia and
to give all these concerts in November.
Keith McGowan: Now, this CD obviously is for worldwide release, isn't it? It's not just for an Australia
André Rieu: It's for worldwide release, so …
Keith McGowan: Yes, yes.
André Rieu: I made a worldwide release that is Australia orientated because of course there will be some Viennese
waltzes on it, because I'm the waltz king…
Keith McGowan: Yes.
André Rieu: So I will play also Waltzing Matilda without Mirusa in an instrumental version and I also have on
Universal um… on Cyrus, from Universal who is my, my dear friend in Australia who is giving me advice. And you
know it was, it was ... he had tears in his eyes also. So you know it's all like a dream.
Keith McGowan: Oh it's a wonderful dream and Australia will be so honoured that you've chosen to make a um, a
CD of our music. It's, it's…
André Rieu: I have another, I have another surprise. I made a composition together
with my brother and on this music, I will show Australia their history. So you see the
200 years old history of Australia with Botany Bay and all the convicts coming and
the discovering of Australia by a Dutchman, not by an Englishman …
Keith McGowan: Yes, hang on, hang on Dutchman! Hang on. The Dutchman, the
Dutchman, one William Dampier, looked at Australia and said "This place, no good".
And he went away.
[Editor: William Dampier was born in Somerset in 1652. He died in London in 1715.]
(the first documented and undisputed European sighting (and landing) of Australia
was in 1606, by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon aboard the Duyfken. I think they
have their names mixed up. Dampier is English. Sonja)
André Rieu: Yes, and he was a stupid Dutchman, because ...
Keith McGowan: (laughs) I just wanted you to know that, Dutch Fiddler.
André Rieu: Yeah. 200 years later there was a Dutch Fiddler who said "This place, a good place" and he stayed.
Keith McGowan: And of course, Australia was originally known as New Holland. Did you know that?
André Rieu: Yeah, I knew that, yeah, yeah. And therefore I say he was a stupid Dutchman. He should have stayed.
Keith McGowan: But to his defense, when he did land in Australia, he did sight Australia in a very desolate place.
He was on the northern west coast of Australia where he sighted Australia unlike Captain Cook who saw the more
lush east coast of Australia.
André Rieu: Yeah, yeah. Yes I heard that and I read that and that was perhaps his defense. Yes you are right. But,
I want to say to the Australians, that Australia was discovered by a Dutchman and that is true.
Keith McGowan: So, André Rieu is now the second Dutchman to discover Australia.
André Rieu: Exactly that and I am come to stay and I will say "Australia, a good place".
Keith McGowan: Yes, yes. Um, the, the sales of the tickets for your show have been quite extraordinary André,
Andre Rieu: Yes, I think so and, and of course I'm very glad because I bring a lot of stuff to Australia to make all the
Australians happy. and therefore it's good when they all come because we will bring such a huge show and such a
fantastic concert, with a lot of Australian music. But I think all Australians who will not come to the concert, they will
kill themselves afterwards because oh my God, what did I miss?
Keith McGowan: Yes, well you're only putting on two concerts of course.
André Rieu: No, I think we … how do you mean two concerts?
Keith McGowan: Oh in Melbourne. I'm thinking Melbourne, I'm a…
André Rieu: Oh no, no, no. Oh no, no, no. We can give five or six concerts.
Keith McGowan: Oh really?
André Rieu: Yeah.
Keith McGowan: So there's …
André Rieu: I heard that the second one is already almost sold out.
Keith McGowan: That's right.
André Rieu: So we will go on for a third and a fourth and a fifth and whatever they want, we do it.
Keith McGowan: Oh that's extraordinary news then. Extraordinary news.
André Rieu: Yes. Yes, I heard that we will start very soon with the third one.
Keith McGowan: Oh how good is that? Well you're telling us a lot of things this morning, exclusively on my radio
André Rieu: Yes. I waited, I waited, I waited with this news to tell it live in … on your show.
Keith McGowan: I'm a very lucky man André.
André Rieu: We are going tostart soon with the third show in
Melbourne and perhaps a fourth and a fifth and whatever they
want, we will play for them because it's fantastic.
Keith McGowan: Oh that's wonderful. André when will the
Australian CD be finished? When will you finish?
André Rieu: You mean finished from me and…?
Keith McGowan: Yeah, just from, from the recording.
André Rieu: It will be … yeah, it will be in some weeks, it will be
completely ready and then we make the cover and all that
artwork and then it goes to Australia.
Keith McGowan: It'd be lovely to have a photo of you standing
on top of Ayers Rock where I will be in a couple of weeks time
André Rieu: Ah yes, yes. … that would be fantastic. That would
Keith McGowan: It's a shame you haven't seen the outback of Australia. It's quite different to the Australia that
André Rieu: I, I'm sure, I'm 58t now, I'm feeling like an eight-year - old, 18-year-old boy, so I will have time in my life
to visit the whole outback and perhaps I will do like you - take my car and I go 20,000 miles into the outback.
Keith McGowan: Yes. There's only one thing wrong when you're 54 years of age or however old you said, and you
feel like an 18-yearold boy - it's very difficult to find an 18-year-old girl André.
André Rieu: Yeah, I know, that's a problem.
Keith McGowan: Yes (laughs). André, your next concert schedule, where do you, where do you go from, from the
André Rieu: So we go to Germany, it's next door for me and we will do a tour in February in a lot of German cities
and then we will go, at the moment, in March and April and May, we go to America again. And in June we are back
in Europe to give some big arena concerts, they are part of the world stadium tour, the tour we do in Australia.
And then we play in Maastricht in my home town and we will, … and I have
another news. I invited William Barton, one of your most famous didgeridoo
players, and he was in my studio and we taped Tie Me Kangaroo with him and I'm
going to perform that also in Maastricht on the, on the big day. So, and that will
be taped for television for the world.
Keith McGowan: Isn't that wonderful?
André Rieu: It will be a very Australian concert.
Keith McGowan: Isn't that wonderful? When you perform in Maastricht, your
home town, is that just … I mean I know all your concerts are special, but to
perform in your home town, is there just something a little bit more special about
André Rieu: It is of course because you know, I speak a lot of languages and one
of my languages, my dialect of Maastricht and I can speak dial … My, my home,
my born dialect only in Maastricht and that is of course fantastic when I can
speak my own language. And there's another extra thing in Maastricht that we
play on the place and there are 10,000 people sitting there, and around the place
there are 25 cafes and restaurants. And they all sit outside and listen to my
music and drink their wine and drink their beer and that gets an atmosphere that
is unique and that is only possible in Maastricht. That's fantastic.
Keith McGowan: Isn't that wonderful? The local boy makes good. Ah, that's lovely, that's lovely. And when is that
André Rieu: That is in July. We have three concerts in the whole weekend, so Friday, Saturday, Sunday, every
night we wait until it's dark - and that is here at 9:30 - and then we can illuminate the whole place and our stage
and, and at this time we will as I told you, we will do a very Australian program. So we will, we will put Australia on
the map - that means in the … on the world map.
Keith McGowan: Ah that's great, that's lovely. So it's, Germany, it's United States, it's back to Europe and then to
um….and then out to New Holland, Terra Australis, Australia.
André Rieu: That's it. That's it. We will come a whole
month to play in Australia and to give concerts as much
as you want us to play.
Keith McGowan: And the first two concerts are just
about booked out and soon there will be an
announcement of a third. Is that ... have I got that right?
André Rieu: Yes, that's it. Yeah, that's right. The third
one in Melbourne and , then we will also do probably a
third one in Sydney and two concerts in Brisbane and I
heard that we are not allowed to play more than two
concerts in Brisbane. Only when I asked personally
the President, or whoever he is…
Keith McGowan: Premier.
André Rieu: I will ask… or I will ask the Queen perhaps.
She will say "Okay, you can play three or four concerts".
Keith McGowan: I don't know that the Queen's got too
much authority in this…in this country
André Rieu: No, no. Tell me who I have to ask.
Keith McGowan: Um, well um…
André Rieu: You?
Keith McGowan: Yes, ask me André. I can arrange anything you want André.
André Rieu: Okay. Keith McGowan.
Keith McGowan: Yes.
André Rieu: Please let me play more than two concerts in Brisbane. (laughs)
Keith McGowan: Well I'll see what I can do for you. Everything just seems to be fitting together beautifully. The year
2008 is very carefully planned that it all … it doesn't happen by accident. It's all very deliberate, it's all very planned,
it's all very organised. It's uan amazing organisation, the André Rieu organisation. I, I have the utmost admiration for
it all, the way it works as you know.
André Rieu: You know Keith, I don't know if it's so true what you say that's it's all planned. Of course my
organisation is well organised but the love I found in Australia, is not planned. It comes from the Australians. And I
cannot urge the people to love me and to buy these CDs but they do and that's the most beautiful thing, you know.
That's like a love affair, how a love affair should be. And you open your hand that the other can go away but he
doesn't want to go away because he loves you and that is, and that is fantastic.
Keith McGowan: You see the thing that never ceases to amaze me André, is that your music in the main, has been
around for decades, centuries some of it.
André Rieu: Yep.
Keith McGowan: And available recorded by many, many different people. Now people, public people, who buy your
CDs and listen to your music, previously would never have appreciated that music. But presented by André Rieu,
the way he does, with the happiness and the joy and the involvement of the audience, the people just absolutely
André Rieu: Yeah. And I think you mentioned there already the secret. That is the joy we play it with and the
happiness and the involvement of the audience. And exactly that is what … that is the secret. I allow the people to
be themselves in the audience. People can dance, people can stand up, people can sing, people can cry, people
can do whatever they want, what they would like to do at home - and that they can do at my concert. You know
when you go to such classical concerts where if somebody coughs too early or claps too early, and then the whole
audience looks "Ahhh, who did that? We are going to (kill) him". You know that is, that is what I don't do and that is
why the people like it.
Keith McGowan: Yes. Yes, and when we watched the, the shows, the DVDs and when we see the shows on the
Ovation Channel, the pay network here in Australia on Foxtel, we can see that the joy and the fun that your
musicians are having, and the interaction between the musicians and the singers - it's an absolute joy André. We
cannot wait for you to come here. Not that we want to wish our life away, we won't be seeing you till the end of the
year and 2008 will almost be gone by the time you get here, but we just cannot wait.
André Rieu: I tell you another secret. I will be in Australia in May to visit your country to make promotions for the
new CD, together with Mirusa, the Australian soprano and then in May … in June I will come back to Australia for a
longer time to film around the country. So I will go to the Rock and I will go to her Elementary School where she
will sing the Gum Trees together with the little children and we will all tape that and that you will all see in the
Australian concert in Maastricht.
Keith McGowan: Well that's just extraordi
André Rieu: So I really…
Keith McGowan: You're taking it … you're taking Australia very seriously.
We are only 21 million people or so and you're taking us very, very seriously
André Rieu: Yeah, I think and I mentioned the word love, and I think when
you really feel love, then it doesn't matter where this love is. It is… the matter
is, if the love is, is strong and honest and then…. And that's what it's all
about in life.
Keith McGowan: Yes. I'm very sorry that your Dutchman didn't jump off his
ship and slam the Dutch flag into our soil. It's…
André Rieu: Me too. Therefore I, I want to make it good. 200 years later.
Keith McGowan: Yes. André, thank you so much for once again being very
generous with your time for me and my listeners. You do know how I
appreciate it. I mean I just can't say enough how I appreciate it - it's very,
very kind of you. I'm off for a holiday for a month with my wife Angela, all of
February, I'll be away but will return in, in March and you'll be here in May.
That's just … you might even be able to come and see an Australian Rules Football match André being, being
played … being played where your concert will be at the end of our football season.
André Rieu: Ah, we play in the same stadium.
Keith McGowan: Exactly.
André Rieu: Ah fantastic.
Keith McGowan: My football team plays at that stadium. My football team St Kilda, the Saints, the colours are red,
white and black. We play most of our games at that venue, so you know for, for half of the year I'll be watching my
football team and then when all that's over, I'll be watching André… I'll be watching the Dutch Fiddler.
André Rieu: That's a good deal.
Keith McGowan: Thank you so much André.
André Rieu: It was a great joy to speak to you
Keith McGowan: I so much appreciate it, it's …
André Rieu: And please, please come back healthy from the outback.
Keith McGowan: Well that's what you do when you um, spend your time out there. The sky is blue, the sun is very
warm, the ground is orange and there's just so much to see. André Rieu, thank you so much for being with us on
3AW this morning.
André Rieu: Thank you very much Keith. Bye bye.
Andre and his brother Jean Philippe