Arts

André Rieu on why his new Magical Maastricht movie is worth catching in cinemas

In cinemas now, André Rieu's Magical Maastricht – Together In Music features highlights from 15 years of the Dutch violin virtuoso's legendary summer concerts in Maastricht's famous Vrijthof Square, plus exclusive interview footage. We quizzed Rieu about the project

André Rieu's annual Maastricht concerts have become a point of pilgrimage for his fans

:: What can fans expect from André Rieu's Magical Maastricht – Together In Music?

OF COURSE, the concerts are filled with delicious music: wonderful waltzes, well known melodies from musicals and movies, beloved arias from operas and operettas and so much more.

Last year I heard that people were dancing in the aisles of the cinemas: I can imagine that it gives them a feeling of being present at the concert – hopefully it will happen again, and who knows, they may start humming or singing as well.

:: Why is Maastricht such a magical place for you?

Maastricht is the city where I was born about 70 years ago. It is the oldest city in the Netherlands and one is still able to see remains from its rich history; you will see medieval churches, baroque basilicas, even thermae from the Romans.

Besides that, Maastricht has a central position in Europe: it was here that the European Treaty was signed and it's close to Germany and Belgium. By plane, you'll be able to reach England and France within one hour. And last but not least, also for the modern people there is a lot to see: nice hotels, exclusive shops and boutiques, numerous restaurants and pubs.

It's not for nothing that even the Dutch say that they are 'abroad' when they visit Maastricht.

:: People around the world want to experience your Maastricht concerts ­– what sets them apart ?

The most romantic square of the Netherlands is the Vrijthof in Maastricht; it is surrounded by exquisite restaurants, outstanding churches – one of them is the Sint Servaas, where I used to be a choir boy – and the historical centre of the town.

I started the tradition back in 2005 with only three summer concerts; people from the region visited the concerts. Meanwhile, we have given our 15th series of summer concerts: nearly 100 nationalities could be counted last year – it's really unbelievable. Never ever I would have imagined that it would grow like this. I sincerely hope to perform there for many years to come

:: Is being together with family and friends important to you?

Being together with friends and family is extremely important. I give about 100 concerts every year worldwide with my beloved Johann Strauss Orchestra, with whom I've been travelling for more than 30 years now. Affectionately, I call them my 'big' family; we share our personal moments with each other – joy, happiness, sadness, you name it.

But at home, I love to spend my time with my 'small' family: my wife, my sons and especially the five grand children whom I love to spoil – isn't that what grandfathers are meant for? Music is all about harmony but family and friendship too. And, last but not least, maintaining this 'job' wouldn't be possible at all without my loyal fans.

:: What else makes you happy apart from music?

The sunny smiles of my grandchildren. It gives me such a good feeling when I see playing children in front of me. I also love to cook and I love to build – if I had not been a musician, I would have been an architect.

:: With Covid 19, have you felt the importance of community and helping each other?

Yes, because we are all in the same boat at the moment; it is hard to ignore the actual situation and I sincerely hope for all of us, that one is able to find a solution – either a cure or medicine or whatever – so that everything turns back to normal. Meanwhile, messages from all over the world fill my mailbox with announcements of people who tell me, they find hope in my music.

Now that makes me so proud and happy.

:: Ireland has a tradition of playing the fiddle; do you like Irish music and do you know/play any songs?

A couple of years ago, when I came to Ireland for the very first time, I met John Sheahan from The Dubliners: together with him, I played Irish Washerwomen – I admire this 'Celtic evergreen' for its melody without any doubt. Besides that, there are hits like The Wild Rover and Danny Boy who can't be enjoyed without the powerful and melancholic sound of the Irish Fiddle! At last, I love to say that the Irish audience has a good sense of music... and humour!

:: Any last words of wisdom to your loyal Irish fans?

Music, either playing or listening to it, will make you happy and it keeps you healthy too – I personally feel it when I play waltzes, with that magical and enchanting rhythm. I think that my heart beats equally: ONE two three, ONE two three, ONE two three.

I'm planning to reach the age of 140, and with this extra heartbeat I think I'll manage that. Listen to doctor André: "A waltz a day, keeps the doctor away!"

:: Hosted by Good Morning Britain's Charlotte Hawkins, André Rieu's Magical Maastricht – Together In Music is available exclusively in cinemas until the end of September. Find your nearest cinema at Andreincinemas.com

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Arts