Andre Rieu at the Tacoma Dome

180714, Maastricht: Andre Rieu op het Vrijthof. Foto: Marcel van Hoorn.

World sensation Andre Rieu is coming to Tacoma on Oct. 28. His incredible musical prowess, passion, charisma, humor and rock-star demeanor make for a magical spectacle. Indeed, his classical concerts are the only ones at which people regularly jump to their feet and dance in the aisles. It’s not uncommon to see devoted fans laughing, weeping, clapping, dancing and embracing as Rieu and his orchestra belt out classics from the world of opera, film and folk music.

The international superstar is the world’s most successful violinist ever, having sold a massive 40 million CDs and DVDs. Along with his Johann Strauss Orchestra, Rieu has created a global revival in waltz music, staging spectacular extravaganzas that are second to none. Having received nearly 500 Platinum Awards, he is regularly among the biggest solo male touring artists in the world. Each year he performs in front of around 600,000 fans and outsells mega artists such as Coldplay, AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen.

ShowCase Magazine interviewed the musical icon and here is what he had to say:

Tell us about your passion for music?

Music is the most wonderful thing in the world. It goes immediately into your heart, it makes people laugh and cry, and it doesn’t even need words to say a lot, if not everything. Wouldn’t the world be a completely different place if we all made music instead of weapons? Make music, not war!

When did you first fall in love with music?

I grew up in a musical family: my father was a symphony orchestra conductor and all my brothers and sisters played instruments as well. My mother used to take all her children to concerts her husband gave, so being a toddler, I got acquainted with music. The thing I loved most was the movements of all the bows from the violin players. They moved all together at the same time—for a 5-year-old boy that seemed like magic! I started playing the violin at the age of 5 and have never stopped since.

Who inspir

ed your passion for music?

Several composers like Johann Strauss, Mozart and Verdi, but also … my wife and my father-in-law. He was a German Jew who fled from the Germans back in the 1930s. He left all possessions except two suitcases filled with vinyl records. They were hits from that time and they formed the base of my salon orchestra repertoire. Thanks to my wife, I got to know other than strictly classical music, like operetta, love songs, musicals and dancing music, which were not allowed at my parents’ house!

What would our readers be surprised to know about you?

During my period at the conservatory in Brussels, I didn’t want to continue my violin studies anymore. Instead, I wanted to open my own pizza restaurant in Maastricht, together with my wife, Marjorie. The most special pizza would be the so-called Pizza Paganini: the chef of the kitchen (me) would play a little piece on his violin when this was ordered. But then again, I had to pick up my studies at the conservatory again and practice a lot.

What is your favorite food to eat during travel?

There is a lot I like very much, but I always enjoy a nice steak with a good glass of red wine. But an endive stew with tiny bacon strips is something I adore as well.

Did you always love to perform?

When I started to perform with the Maastricht Salon Orchestra (back in the 1970s), I was a very shy young man. I didn’t dare to say one thing and asked one of my colleagues: “Please say something to the audience, I’m too afraid.” Most of that stage fright is gone, although a little bit remained. But that is healthy, I guess—every artist needs a bit of tension before a performance starts.

What is your next challenge, goal or collaboration that our readers should look forward to?

There once was a time that I dreamed of performing on the North Pole and on the moon—I spoke to Richard Branson about that! But as long as these locations are out of my reach, I’m looking forward to our concerts in America once again. But also Mexico and Chili are on my schedule, and of course in July we will celebrate our open-air concerts in Maastricht again with audiences coming from 80 different nations. Emotions are the secret and music brings people together.

What do you hope that the audience takes away from your performance?

I always hope that people enjoy themselves during my concerts. Every emotion is allowed—laughing, crying … As long as the audience is happy, I am happy too. We are very excited to return to Tacoma in October. I have prepared a special program with the most beautiful melodies from musicals, film scores, arias from operas and of course some very romantic waltzes. This year I celebrate the 30th anniversary of my Johann Strauss Orchestra. It’s a dream come true to be able to travel with so many musicians. They are my second family.

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