1949André is born under the sign of Libra as his parents’ third child.
His parents and their two young daughters had moved from Amsterdam to Maastricht shortly before. (André later got two brothers and another sister).
To the present day, André Rieu has been at home in the beautiful capital of the Dutch Province of Limburg, namely in Maastricht
1954André, his brothers and sisters grow up exclusively with classical music: symphonies, chamber music and opera.Encouraged by his father, a professional conductor, André starts taking violin lessons at the age of five. A.R.:“I had great difficulty concentrating at the start.That was because my violin teacher was so beautiful and so blonde that I fell in love with her and stared at her all the time,instead of listening to her instructions!”
1967After leaving grammar school, the talented young man first continues his musical training on the violin at the conservatoire in Liège and later in Maastricht (until 1973).His teachers are Jo Juda and Herman Krebbers.
1987André recruits his Johann Strauss Orchestra. A.R.:”At that time, we rehearsed for 6 months before getting started. There were just twelve musicians in the beginning. Today, there are 43, and sometimes even 50 on very large stages. “In the same year, the new orchestra leader and his wife found the André Rieu Productions company.
2004Early in 2004 the Romantic Paradise Special is nominated for the Rose d’or. In July, André gives a spectacular concert for an audience of 18,000 in the Parkstad Limburg Stadium in Kerkrade. This performance results in a CD and a DVD: The Flying Dutchman.
Within a week André was waltzing his home town of Maastricht off its feet with three midsummer night concerts ending with a special appearance from the Harlem Gospel Choir. One week after that the same choir joined André on the stage in their own home town, New York, where a second special was recorded in the famous Radio City Music Hall. Both specials appeared on DVD; the new CD reflected the New York special. September: 4 concerts in Tokyo. October, November, December: concerts on the west coast of the USA, in Canada, Germany and Belgium. André Rieu is living up to his nickname of the Flying Dutchman more than ever before!
Next the double CD and DVD ‘In Wonderland’ was recorded in the Efteling amusement park. On 14 and 15 December André Rieu performed at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada, the largest indoor stadium in the world, in a Viennese evening set in a reproduction of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. This was the kick-off for the big ‘World Stadium Tour: A Romantic Vienna Night’.
In March André Rieu set a new record in Australia when the millionth item was sold. Australia is entirely under the spell of André Rieu. On 7 April 2008 André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra received the golden Medal of Honour from Mayor Gerd Leers of Maastricht – the greatest distinction the city can offer. The autumn was all about Australia. Rieu broke record after record with sales of his CDs and especially DVDs. He was the most successful artist in 2007 and in 2008, with more than 2 million copies sold by the end of 2008.
From mid November Rieu toured Australia with more than 500 people, taking the replica Schönbrunn Palace with them. Almost 300,000 people came to his concerts ‘down under’. The Melbourne concert, attended by more than 38,000, was broadcast live on Australian and Dutch television. The DVD ‘Live in Australia’ was released worldwide. 2008 was a top year for André Rieu and his orchestra. At the end of the year he was the only classical musician in the top ten of the Pollstar list – the important annual ranking of best-selling worldwide touring acts. The only artists above the King of Waltz were big names like Madonna and The Police.
André turned 60 and became a grandfather no less than three times! He rose 2 places to number 6 in the Billboard Chart for best-selling tours worldwide. In America he was again the best-selling classical artist of the year. In December André performed alongside artists such as Lady Gaga & Michael Bublé for Queen Elizabeth II of England.
In January, André broke the 20 year old record set by Nigel Kennedy in England by being the first artist to reach no. 2 in the pop charts with a classical album. André preformed at the Classical BRIT Awards and an English tour is planned for September. As if this wasn’t enough, there are another 2 tours planned in the US and Canada this year, a tour in Australia and New Zealand, and he is giving no less than 8 concerts at the Vrijthof in Maastricht. On June 11 a TV special was made on the German ‘flower island’ Mainau. André received a number of honors including a Multi Platinum Award in South Africa and the European culture prize (Medaille Charlemagne) for bringing so many people together.
In august André is felled by a viral infection. For the first time in his 32-year career he must cancel concerts due to illness. In November he resumes his tour with a concert in Antwerp followed by his first Mexico tour.
André releases the DVD Fiesta Mexicana! – a documentary and concert of his 2010 Mexico tour. In July the book André Rieu: The person behind the phenomenon is released. It is made by Dutch top photographer Govert de Roos, who describes the book as “A journey of 1000 days with André Rieu”.
In April André get’s a phone call from Anthony Hopkins – The Academy Award-winning actor has written music for many years, but composed his latest piece “And The Waltz Goes On” with Rieu specifically in mind to perform it. Rieu was so enthusiastic about the work that he immediately set plans in motion to record it, moving Hopkins’ wife to tears during the initial performance of the tune.
“I’ve been a great admirer of André Rieu for several years. He’s a great musician. My wife and I had the same dream of meeting him one day, so I’ve send him some music that I wrote. It’s a dream come true for me that André performed it with his orchestra. I’m totally knocked out by the result. It’s even more than I expected!” says Anthony Hopkins about his cooperation with André Rieu.
Sir Anthony Hopkins and his wife flew in a private jet to Maastricht to attend André’s hometown concerts where he performed it for the first time for such a large crowd. Rieu included the waltz on his new DVD and album and performed it on his USA, Canada and Mexico tours in the fall.
In september André started with the recordings for his new christmas special “Home for the Holidays” which was shown on German television in December.
In June André gave his traditional hometown concerts, which were recorded and broadcasted in cinemas worldwide. In July André earns the No. 1 ranking in Billboard Magazine’ Hot Tours chart before Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Cirque du Soleil, Van Halen and Nickelback. And in August 2012 Rieu tours South Africa for the third time.
For the second year in a row André Rieu wins a Classic Brit Award. This time for his album ‘And The Waltz Goes On’. He dedicated the award to Sir Antony Hopkins, who wrote the title track of the album.
At the end of the year André gives a concert in Rotterdam and is one of the very first artists to play in the brand new venue ‘Ziggo Dome’ in Amsterdam.
Rieu ends the year in style with a sold out UK and Ireland tour, including 2 concerts at London’s The O2 Arena.
On April 30 2013 André gave a ‘Coronation Concert’ on Museum Square in Amsterdam in honor of the investiture of the new King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Tens of thousands of cheering people attended the unique concert which was broadcast live on national television. Not much later the DVD and CD ‘Rieu Royale’ were released, which included André’s ‘Coronation Waltz’ that he wrote especially for the occasion.
André resumed his tour in May with concerts in Denmark and Austria. Followed by his first concerts on Argentine and Chilean soil.
By the end of June The Vrijthof Square was once again the stunning backdrop for André’s traditional summer concerts in his hometown Maastricht. Motown legend Jermaine Jackson, who already recorded several songs with André in March, joined André on stage where he sang an emotional rendition of ‘Smile’, one of the favorite songs of his late brother Michael.
Singer and guitarist Trini Lopez also flew in to Maastricht to attend the Maastricht concerts. Together with André he performed his world famous hits ‘La Bamba’ and ‘If I had a Hammer’, bringing the audience to its feet dancing, singing, clapping and cheering.
After a short summer break the show goes on in September with tours throughout Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
October marks the start of André’s weekly documentary series ‘André Rieu: Welcome To My World’. The 10-part series documenting the world behind the scenes of André’s concerts is broadcasted by Sky Arts.
Also in October, André won the ‘Album of the Year award’ at the Classic BRITs – for the third year in a row. His album ‘Magic of the Movies’ beat competition from other nominees including Andrea Bocelli, Lang Lang and Nicola Benedetti.
André gave his first ever concert in Turkey in November 2013. The sold out concert in Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Dome was an enormous success and André promised the audience that they would return as soon as possible. In December 14 sold out concerts followed through the UK & Ireland.