Confessions of the charming violinist.
Neue Revue, January 2002
This magazine was kindly sent to me by Cathy Camarda. Neue Revue is a tabloid magazine, so please
keep that in mind when you read it, however this is an interview and it is kind of funny)
His confession, his marriage, his women, the rumors and the most beautiful declaration of love in years.
He is the wonder violinist of our times. When he strokes the strings of his valuable Stradivarius the hearts
of his fans melt. His fans call him the Waltz King. He has sold more than 12 million CDs. He has filled
venues with as many as 50.000 people. Women travel to follow his tour and sent him roses and perfumed
letters. He has his own orchestra. He is a Music empire with 130 musicians, sound technicians, and
choreographers. He lives like a king. He has a castle De Torentjes” (the small towers) near Maastricht
in the Netherlands. The 15th century castle has 25 rooms and the 3-acres chestnut and box tree edged
property includes an additional five buildings. D'Artagnan, is said to have taken his last meal at this
castle. He had breakfast here just prior to the duel that ended his life.
Andre Rieu, the King of Hearts. He is very successful and he is a very attractive man. He is 6' tall and
176 lbs. He always wears polished shoes and he gallantly bestows hand kisses. He looks like a hero of
a romance novel of long ago. His hair is shoulder length and his eyes laugh with promise.
He has been married to Marjorie, a teacher, for 26 years. Her father originally came from Berlin. They
have two grown sons Marc and Pierre. You never see Andre with his wife. But, he is often seen with
other beautiful women. With them he can be seen smiling from the covers of magazines. Many rumors
fly. They say his marriage is finished. They say they only stays married for the money. His arms around
so many women his heart must be constantly on tour. But here he speaks:
Famous celebrities are often eccentric and high strung. How about you?
I am nothing more than an old. ugly, fat man of 52 with an egg-shaped head which I try to hide, as well as
I can, underneath my long hair. I am a totally boring individual who simple tries to do his job the best he
Then what is it that women find so fascinating about you?
That is what I like to know too. Why do you not ask them?
You had a lover-your ex-manager, Petra Heimberg.
Now, let's make this clear once and for all: Petra Heimberg was never my lover and by the way, she has
not worked for me in a long time. But such rumors are just part of show business and I can live with it.
Can your wife live with it too?
Marjorie only smile about those things. When, for example, I attended the Echo awards with Petra
Heimberg, I had already asked Marjorie if that would be alright with her.
Since she doesn't like to be seen in public, she did not have any objections to my taking someone else
along. The consequences are obvious. If I am seen with the same woman three times then it is said that
we are having an affair.
When your wife reads in the tabloids that you had female company at your hotel and that you
are jet setting with a pretty young lady in your private airplane to the south of France, how does
she react? (This refers to Ms Jacqueline Bartels, the journalist, who went with him to Mallorca
during filming of Romantic moments. She did some interviews during that trip. See my translation
of the sensitive violinist”)
Marjorie would not ask about such things. She simply trusts me. That is the foundation of our
relationship, our love and my success.
So you also have absolutely no secrets for your wife?
Because you are a bad liar?
I cannot tell a lie at all. You can see it in my face. You can see everything in my face. Anger,
disappointment, Happiness and especially if I am lying.
At this time do you have a lover?
Yes, I am almost always with her. I take good care of her. I constantly spent enormous amounts of time
with her. I play with her and that is what is really important, to play with her, again and again.
You are speaking of your violin!
And what were you thinking? My violin is my only true love. She even looks like a woman; her form is just
like a woman's.
A bass looks like a woman too!
A bass stands, the violin lies horizontally. I prefer my women lying down. It is a wonderful feeling to hold
her underneath my chin and to feel her vibrations. And I can stroke her with my bow in a very masculine
How do you take care of her?
I polish her with a cloth. That's usually enough. But once a year I throw dry rice into her body and shake
her a while, play the Samba with her, and then I turn her upside-down and everything falls out. Yehudi
Menuhin taught me this trick. In this manner you can get all the dust out that has collected on the inside
of the violin. Naturally, I have to shake her until the last kernel of rice has fallen out. And afterwards of
course, you cannot use that rice for cooking or eating.
When you were a boy were you not a little embarrassed to be playing the violin rather than a
trumpet, drums or even piano?
Not at all! After all, I did it voluntarily. The truth is I went to my father's concerts when I was five years old
and immediately fell in love with the sounds of the string section.
Is the violin not more of an instrument for women?
No, it is an instrument that you have to feel.
Why are there many more famous male than female violinists?
I do not believe that is true. Think of Hilary Hahn, Riyo Uemura, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Vanessa Mae.
By the way, she has a beautiful stomach…. and can play damn well.
On television we can see you completely absorbed in your music. Often with closed eyes, do
you then think of your love?
I am thinking of a hundred things all at the same time. About my orchestra, it the lights hang right, if
everything is working correctly, about my music, what I project from the stage, about the audience in front
of me. My brain is in overdrive. I can concentrate on many things at the same time.
So it is nonsense that a violinist put his feelings into his play?
In the first place to make music requires many tricks. You have to be in control of the piece. Of course, I
also put my own feelings in the piece but in my case I never think about the text of the song that I am
I hate text. It is less important for expressing feelings than the musical composition. Take the Vilja song
from Franz Lehar, to me that is one of the most beautiful melodies that was ever composed. However the
text that goes with it is awful! The text is totally dated, as opposed to the timeless music which can win
hearts without words.
When you play “Schwarze Augen” (Black Eyes), the sad Russian song, it is as if your violin
fights back the tears, are you then not interpreting the lyrics?
Not at all! It is a special technique to handle the violin bow and to produce a certain vibrato with the
fingers. I will gladly show you.
If you were to give your violin a declaration of your love, what would you tell her?
I would not say anything. I would only take her and play on her.
But she would not understand that!
Oh yes, that is what she understands best. Since my violin does not speak with words, she only speaks
with music. The best declaration of love I could give her is to play on her, just as you must care for a
woman and play her everyday….. or one day she will be gone.
What if your wife would leave you?
That would be the end of me. I would die. I don't even want to think about that. I cannot exist without her.
That would be the only reason not to grow old.
Have you ever regretted marrying Marjorie?
No, I do not even need a second to think about that. We have sought for each other and found what we
were looking for. Many young men courted Marjorie, but even so she chose me. Marjorie is my other half;
if it was not for her I would be totally helpless. I have to thank Marjorie for everything I am today.
What would have become of you without her?
Absolutely nothing! I would have ended up in the gutter. I probably wouldn't even have amounted to a
wandering street musician. When we met I was a romantic but poor musician. The part about being poor
is what my wife wanted to change. So, she came up with the idea to open a Pizzeria, Marjorie would sell
the pizza and I would play the violin. We had already rented the space for the Pizzeria, but fortunately
things turned out quite differently.
You are born a Hollander with a French name, an Austrian repertoire and Jewish in-laws. Is
there also something typically German?
I believe you cannot look at it like that. I feel myself a citizen of the world.
The basis for that is my music. I also believe that it is about time that all people consider themselves
world citizen. We always speak in terms of countries and ethnic groups why are we not just all world
citizens? If we do not change, our stubbornness and stupidity will be out demise.
What do you mean?
Where shall I begin? The truth is we are suffocating in our own mess. Whose business is it when our
oceans, which belong to everyone are polluted by an oil tanker under Libyan registry with a drunken
Captain on the helm.
Can you imagine yourself as a politician?
I think about this quite a bit and am thinking about going into politics. Even though my wife tells me;
“Andre, you are crazy!”
Would you start your own party?
At some point I might just do that. I already have a name picked out for my party. I will call it the
Expediency party. Everything that is decided today will done tomorrow. In this party there would not be
endless discussions, analysis and delays. We will decide and then act on it, there is so much to do.
What would be first?
To solve the surrounding traffic problems. We need to realize that it is high time we stop the huge semi-
trucks from causing traffic jams on our highways and from polluting our air with their toxic fumes. Tunnels
should be built which can be run by computers.
You have written a composition with the title. ‘La Vie is Belle. (Life is Beautiful)
Despite everything that I am critical about in this world I am an eternal optimist. You can't just say: shoot
everything is black and this is the end. One just cannot think that way.
Your great model was the Austrian Waltz composer Johann Strauss. Why?
I am fascinated with the ingenuity with which he composed his Waltzes.
I admire that man. I think every time I hear his music; “Wow…his music is fantastic and I am so happy and
thankful that I can play this music.
Can you also dance the Viennese Waltz?
I cannot dance at all. Just let me play and let the others dance, and then is everything okay. (He must
have taken lessons) :-)
Johann Strauss was irritable, nervous, eccentric and Viennese. What are you like?
Nothing like that! I am a very normal man, who feels at home in the kitchen (I often spent time there) as
well as on the stage. Except that I don't stand at the stove with tails on, but rather with an apron.
What are you doing in the kitchen anyway?
Well, I cook! When I still lived at my parent's home, I often cooked for the family. We were with six kids,
two parents and a grandmother, so I cooked for nine people, and I really enjoyed that.
Imagine that you are unrecognized at a restaurant, they have live music and the violinist come
to your table and play for you. What would you do?
If I like it then I enjoy listening to them. If I do not care for it, I give them 100 marks and hope that they will
soon leave, but it can happen that they will just play longer because the tip is so large.
Dreaming is the title of your newest CD. What do you dream about?
My wish dream is to be able to continue in the same way as I am now. That I will stay as healthy as I am.
I have a wonderful life. I travel all over the world with my orchestra, have lots of fun and am paid for it on
top of it!
I also need much money. I have 130 employees and then also all the support people that help make this
work. That is a lot of people who depend on me for their daily bread, to accomplish all that I need a lot of
money. Privately I am anything but a creature of luxury.
You own your own jet!
A small one. I don't call that is luxury but rather necessity, so I can get home after a concert. When I don't
need the jet anymore I will sell it.
You own a Stradivarius worth a few millions!
That is true! I am convinced that the master had just fallen in love when he built her in 1667.
What makes you think that?
This violin has such wonderful warmth and depth. Now do not laugh but l will tell you something: Yehudi
Menuhin had not been dead a week when his violin was put up for sale. I played on that violin and
immediately had the feeling: this violin is too intellectual for me! I was looking for an instrument with the
feeling the expression and voice of Maria Callas! Menuhin's violin did not have that. Later someone
offered me the violin I play now. It was love at the first stroke!
What would be the worst thing that could happen to you?
To go deaf like Beethoven did or that I would break my fingers and would never be able to play again.
What would you do?
I would conduct my orchestra, I would in any case stay in the music field. I can't do anything else!
What does music mean to you?
It is my breath, my blood, my life, my everything!.