I only go psst, psst...
ZDF interview from November 17, 2001
Andre Rieu inspires people throughout the world with his violin playing. He brings the classical music in his
very own way, which inspires his audience to sing and dance along. Online host Jessica Schwartz spoke with
the waltz-king about music to dream by (Dreaming), old violins and his bathing habits.
We have just heard the rehearsal from Andre Rieu. Mr. Rieu how did it go?
It went very well, it is wonderful to work with Sascha. Fantastic, it is great fun.
I can imagine that. What city did you just come from?
I came from Maastricht this morning, where I live. We all flew here from Maastricht, and now we are in
Have you ever been here before?
Yes, we have given a concert here before.
To go to a current events, unlike Germany, the Netherlands did not qualify for the World
Championship soccer. Do you feel bad about that?
Yes, for sure, because those boys can all play very well individually, but they do not play well together as a
team, and that is too bad. It proves once again that soccer is a team sport. It is the same way with an
orchestra, I always say, “An orchestra does not consist of 40 individuals musicians, but out of 40 musicians
who want to play together, want to, not are able to. And that is at the moment not the case with soccer in
Holland. They do not want to play together, what the cause of that is I do not know.
How is that with your orchestra? Is there from time to time not someone who says, I would rather
spent more time with my family, and how long does it usually take until you find a replacement?
There is some turnover, but not much and I am very proud of that. The people remain faithful to me, and if
there is a change the reason is usually that they want to be with their family more often. Then they either leave
or travel less with us. But most stay with me and I am darn proud of that.
The new CD coming out is called ‘Music to dream by.’ (Dreaming). What can we expect?
Well, for example, one piece which we will play here is Morgenstimmung”
It is actually used with a yogurt commercial. But when people hear the entire piece they are nonetheless quite
impressed. That is one composition which we want to present during “'We bet you that'” (German TV game
show). Although it is actually a very different piece than what we usually play. The whole CD is very romantic,
very stately and very classical. I already heard from many fans that they thought “Oh, what is he playing now,
but that they liked it nevertheless, like it very much.
Did I read correctly that you return to your roots with this CD? Since classical music has strongly
affected your youth.
Exactly, actually it is like this. My father was an orchestra conductor. We had our disagreements, because I
always said: the classical music is so dead and is for a museum. It does not live anymore and I would like to
bring new life into it. He always asked what I meant with that and I would tell him, I will prove it you. I will put
my own orchestra together and travel around the world with it. He probably thought: he is crazy. But I did it,
and created my orchestra, and he helped me. He took a piece of paper and made a list of classical works,
which he thought I should absolutely play. And this list I still have it- is the music that is actually on this new CD.
That is this CD?
Do you personally have a favorite composition? For example the piece which is being played right
That is always difficult to say. I also cannot say that I have a favorite composer or a favorite artist. There are
so many wonderful composers. The whole CD is close to my heart. Every time when I finish and deliver a CD I
never listen to it again.
Yes, never. And I start immediately with the new CD. But this one I listen to every day. I do not know why
It is beautiful.
And I really still enjoy it. A person should always have dreams!
This CD is called ‘Music to dream by’ (Dreaming). Do you still have dreams? Is there anything that
you still wish for?
Yes, naturally. People should always have dreams it is one of the most important things in life. If one does not
have any dreams anymore then one does not live anymore. There are dreams to float away from every day
life, but there are also dreams to help the world. Not everything is the world is right, certainly these days, and
when we dream, one can also dream about a better world. At least that is what I try to do and it is I think what
we are doing.
I have read a story, it was somewhat mixed up. You had a Stradivarius?
Was it from 1703-or from 1667? Or do you have two? And then you returned it, because it was not
clear who was the rightful owner. They said you could not lovingly play on it if you did not know who
had owned it. Did you ever get it back?
Yes, exactly, there was a violin from 1703 and I did not like the history of that violin, one hour after I bought this
violin, people told me that it was not genuine. The violin world is very small and you immediately hear those
things from each other. Then an hour after that they said the violin had belonged to a Jewish family who had
given it to Switzerland for safekeeping. After that I really did not feel anything for that violin and I did not want it
anymore. For one year I did not have any desire to have another Stradivarius. Until suddenly after that year I
discovered this violin here. This is another one, a second violin, Stradivarius built this one in 1667.
I read he was only 23.
Yes, he was 23 years old, just married and very much in love- and you hear that when you play the violin. I
immediately noticed that when I heard it for the first time and it was love at first sight. Fortunately I was able to
buy this violin.
How long does a violin like that last, if one takes good care of it?
Yes, really indefinitely, I do not know what indefinitely means for wood,
but naturally I will make sure that she is well taken care of, and I will play
on her as beautiful as I can because I think a violin like this deserves that.
What does a violin like this cost?
Very much, oh one is not allowed to talk about that?
Well it is just not that interesting. It is just very much money.
In the meantime you have created your own Production Company. It will soon produce a special to
Dreaming, which your brother will direct. Do you prefer to keep all aspects in your own hands?
Yes, and I will also tell you why: I have a dream in my head, a vision and I would like to realize that as close as
possible. And that works best when you don't have to say: this company can not do this, this company can not
do that and. No, I created the company myself and tell the people how they have to do it. Then it goes right
and we all have a heck of a lot of fun together.
I believe that, especially when one can make it together with the family.
Exactly, and that is approximately the same thing.
Al right now a question for the "Wetten das..... Club-magazine’ (Wetten das..... is a German TV game
show) How much time do you spent in the morning in the bathtub, Mr. Rieu?
How long I am in the bathtub in the morning? I will have to disappoint you because I never take a bath.
What, Excuse me?
I do not ever wash myself, (laughs)
Nevertheless you smell so good like perfume, do you just spray it on?
Yes, I only go psst, psst….. Exactly just like Louis XIV in former times and the French queen. They used to do
that. They never washed and only just sprayed on perfume and powdered themselves. In Versailles, that was
a huge thing. They used half of the palace for six months and messed and tinkled everything full and then they
moved to the other half of the palace while the first side was cleaned.
That is the honest truth. That must have smelled real bad. And it is just like that in my house. (Laughs)
Oh, wonderful, beautiful, and we all nevertheless gladly pass by there all the time.
Now is that a good answer?
That is a super answer, No!!!
Not a good answer?
Okay, now let's hear it, out with the truth, How long?
I always take a short shower, very briefly.
What still interests me....
But what I told you about the washing is true. You do not have to use soap. It is not even healthy. I learned
that from the Indians. The honest truth.
When were you together with Indians?
I was not, but I have read that. They did that, they even rubbed fat on themselves, because that is good for the
skin. And that is so. I do not use fat, but I do not use soap either.
When I interviewed Jon Bon Jovi, I asked him what he looks at when he sings or makes recordings,
whether he looks to the back of the room or to the microphone. What do you see when you play
your violin? Do you have your eyes closed, do you imagine or think about something or do you take
Yes, I take everything in, also when I am on stage. I notice everything, I smell everything. If a light is not
positioned right, I know it, and I tell the light man afterwards, or he may have already seen it on my face. It
seems that my face speaks very clearly, even when I play the violin or take pictures, I see everything. I never
close my eyes or dream about something. This is simply my profession and I must give it 100%.
Do you see in your profession somebody who would be a good successor or someone who you
think has the potential to be your successor?
In which sense, in my field?
No one has ever asked me that question before, I have to think about that.
Okay, when you are here next time will you let me know?
Okay, then I wish you a lot of fun during the shows broadcast tomorrow.
Now I still have a tip for you. Do you sing?
You should with such a voice.
Thank you very much.