I found this interview on the Internet, there was no date and no additional information, but think it was done in late
November or early December 2001
Andre Rieu does not sound very Dutch. Is it your real name?
Yes, my mother traced our family history back to the eighteenth century. My ancestors apparently were from
Avergne in France, probably one of my ancestors in this village was a soldier in the army of Napoleon and he met a
pretty girl in Holland and stayed.
How does a Dutch man come to play the waltzes of Johann Strauss and make it sound so Viennese that
one could believe that the Waltzer King himself came back from the grave?
The Jewish parents of my wife fled from the Nazis in 1936 and came from Berlin to Maastricht. They were not able
to take much with them but in the luggage of my father-in-law were old gramophone records. When my wife
Marjorie played those records for me and I heard the Sportpalast-Waltzer’ for the first time, I knew that is the music
that I can make my own and go my own way with.
If you had followed your wife’s desire you would now be a pizza maker.
When I met her I was a romantic, but very poor musician. That ‘poor’ part my wife wanted to change. So we came
up with the idea to open a pizza restaurant. Marjorie would sell the pizza and I would play the violin. We had
already rented space, but fortunately things turned out differently.
You have sold 14 million CDs worldwide, you live in a castle, you fly with your own jet to your concerts.
Does your fame also have a negative side to it?
My wife and I are punished for always having worked so hard. Since now we are apart for about half the year. The
time I spend with my family is now the biggest luxury and the most treasured.
What can we expect in Zurich during your Winter tour?
I will play the first Waltz I composed myself, I will play selections of my newest CD and of course Christmas songs.
We will also have three Russian street musicians I accidentally discovered.
Tell us about that discovery.
It was on a snowy winter day a few years ago. I was in my hometown of Maastricht when I heard fascinating music.
Three Russian street musicians were playing Kalinka and Dr Zchivago. When I wanted to talk to them they
disappeared. They probably thought I was from the KGB. (Laughs) Exactly a year later they played there again
and this time I was able to talk to them, since then we have work together.
Christmas is around the corner, how do you celebrate?
With my family at home in Maastricht. We have a fun tradition. Our sons always cook on Christmas evening.
When they were still your it always was a poor feast, but today thank goodness they could be concurrency for an
Your new CD is called “Life is beautiful” what to you makes life beautiful?
I am now 52, and when I look back on my life so far, I can say, Yes, Life is beautiful. For me a beautiful life does
not just mean a beach and love of life, but also melancholy and sad parts go with it, just like with waltzes.
Will you play on your Stradivarius?
Yes, for sure. It is a wonderful violin. The master was in love when he built it. Yehudi Menuhin was of the
opinion that the Stradivarius was the master, who demanded flawless ability. For me she is like a lover, one has to
treat her with sensitivity, and then she will give her all.