Entertainment

André Rieu on new cinema event Love is All Around and his love of Irish audiences

'King of the Waltz' André Rieu is on his way back to our cinemas with a new romantic summer concert, Love is All Around, straight from Maastricht. We caught up with André to find out more about what's in store and why he loves playing for Irish audiences...

Andre Rieu: Love is All Around will be in cinemas on August 26 and 27. Picture by Marcel van Hoorn
Andre Rieu: Love is All Around will be in cinemas on August 26 and 27. Picture by Marcel van Hoorn Andre Rieu: Love is All Around will be in cinemas on August 26 and 27. Picture by Marcel van Hoorn

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN SUCH ENTHUSIASM AND PASSION, HAVING BEEN PERFORMING AND TOURING FOR SO MANY YEARS?

The main reason I maintain this enthusiasm and passion is the music itself, but also my lovely and faithful orchestra and – last but not least – the incredible audiences all over the world.

I have such a magnificent bunch of loyal fans, who keep visiting my concerts. But about the music, I already discovered its enchanting power when I was a young boy. My father used to be a conductor, as you might know: while he moved his baton towards every thinkable direction, the bows of the violinists moved together like one. I was gobsmacked.

Later on, I also felt the magical powers of the 3/4 rhythm of the waltz, because my father and his orchestra played waltzes as an encore. At that moment, not only the bows in the orchestra, but also the men and women in the audience began to move – I was baffled again.

Now that I have an orchestra of my own (my dream for ages), I can choose my own repertoire, and when I'm touched, I'm almost certain that my audience will feel that emotion too.

WHAT MAKES THE MAASTRICHT CONCERTS SO SPECIAL FOR AUDIENCES ROUND THE WORLD?

These concerts are very dear to me. Back in 2005, I started this tradition, not knowing it would grow out to such a success: the number of nationalities coming to my hometown increases every year, I believe we counted nearly 100 countries last year. Can you imagine that? From the Azores to Antarctica, from Berlin to Brazil, from China to Chicago.

After a full year of touring around the world, it's thrilling to see that the whole world is visiting Maastricht. It's the oldest city in the Netherlands: I was born there and I never ever want to change this town for another one. In a few weeks, a new series will start – I simply can't wait to perform there again.

BACK IN APRIL, YOU PLAYED HERE IN IRELAND AT THE 3ARENA AND SSE ARENA. WHAT IS IT ABOUT IRISH AUDIENCES THAT MAKES PERFORMING HERE SO SPECIAL FOR YOU?

Irish audiences are the most musical ones worldwide, that's really true. Not only in the concert halls we play, but also on every corner, in every street, you feel that the Irish have musical blood in their veins.

It's not for nothing that I'm fond of the Irish musical culture: a lot of modern musicians come from Ireland, they have won the Eurovision Song Contest several times and, of course, I had the honour of playing with a few famous Irish musicians, like John Sheehan from The Dubliners.

I'VE READ THAT CLASSICAL MUSIC, INCLUDING YOUR MUSIC, IS THERAPEUTIC FOR ALZHEIMER'S PATIENTS. HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS HAPPENING?

I receive letters from doctors worldwide who write me about their patients. They seem uncurable until one of the nurses plays a CD or DVD of mine, and then some patients seem to react to the music.

Yes, I think my music is some sort of medicine for them. Isn't it amazing? Listening and playing music is good for your health: for my own health too, I hope, since I'm planning to reach the age of 140.

YOU'RE NOT A MUSICAL SNOB: YOUR CONCERTS HAVE HAD GUEST APPEARANCES FROM LOS DEL RIO PERFORMING MACARENA, FOR INSTANCE, AND YOU PERFORM FILM SCORES, AS WELL AS STRAUSS. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT MUSIC TO INCLUDE IN YOUR SET? AND DO YOU STILL TRY TO SEEK OUT NEW MUSIC AND DIFFERENT GENRES?

I choose the music for my concerts and my albums with my heart – the epicentre of my feelings. And when it touches my heart in one way or another, I'm sure that my orchestra and my audience will love it too.

Together with my wife Marjorie and my oldest son Marc, who both have an impressive knowledge of music, we make a list for a new programme – it can be anything.

A couple of years ago, we were looking for an opening track for a Christmas concert. My son Marc came up with the idea to use the opening music from my favourite movie Ben-Hur – a great suggestion.

IS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS YOU WOULD LOVE TO TRY, OR ANYONE YOU WOULD LOVE TO COLLABORATE WITH?

I can think of only one man I'd love to share the stage with – Bruce Springsteen. Have you ever seen this man performing? We share our age, but his energy is something I envy a little bit. I've been a huge fan of his music ever since Dancing In The Dark and Born In The USA. That will be a dream come true when I'm able to introduce this guy to my audience.

YOUR WIFE AND SON BOTH WORK CLOSELY WITH YOU. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING YOUR FAMILY WORKING SO CLOSELY TOGETHER?

I know that I can trust my wife and my son Pierre, they belong to my small family – just like my oldest son Marc, our daughters-in-law and of course our fantastic grandchildren. They are very dear to me and I cherish a lot of love for them.

Besides my small family, there is also the big family: my orchestra members, some of them with me for more than 25 years now, and all the other people in the company. I have two families which are both very dear to me.

YOUR CONCERTS HAVE BECOME POPULAR CINEMA FIXTURES. WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR CONCERTS ARE SUITED TO THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE?

My concerts are suited to the cinema experience, because via that way, people all around the world are able to get acquainted with the unique atmosphere of my concerts. I even heard stories from Australia, that people were dancing in the aisles of the cinema. Now that's what I call a 3D experience from a concert.

THE NEWS HAS BEEN ESPECIALLY TURBULENT AND DISTRESSING IN RECENT YEARS. HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK MUSIC IS IN THE WORLD TODAY?

Music is one of the most important things in life. I wouldn't been able to live one single day without it. It causes some kind of harmony that can be found nowhere else. Listen to this: people who visit my concerts don't know each other at the beginning. But during the encores, they start singing and dancing together: after that, they exchange telephone numbers and email addresses, and they become friends.

I even heard of people who are married, and they met during my concert – wow. I'm very honoured by that. I sincerely hope that I'm able to do this for many years to come.

André Rieu: Love is All Around will be in cinemas on August 26 and 27, see andreincinemas.com for details of screenings and tickets