André Rieu is one of the best-selling live acts in the world, with his 2011 tour ranking in the top 10 highest grossing tours of the year, just behind Lady Gaga.

In October 2013 he returns to Australia with a brand new show, “And The Waltz Goes On Tour”, named after his latest album on which he collaborated with Sir Anthony Hopkins.

André Rieu talks to Australian Stage's Eliza Eggler.

andre rieu intWhat do you have planned for your tour of Australia in 2013?
Wonderful concerts and an entire new show that will bring a lot of joy and romance to the people.

The tour is called 'And the waltz goes on'. I assume that not all of the compositions on the program are waltzes – what other delights do you have in store for your fans?
No for sure not, as always it will be a mix of only beautiful music.

Aside from your orchestra, who else will be performing with you on this tour of Australia?
There will be soloists of course but I can't tell you yet who.

How do you find Australian audiences? How do they compare to a European or American audience?
I remember very well the first time I performed in Australia, it felt like people were waiting for us to come for a long time and they gave us such a warm welcome. I have never experienced that anywhere else.

When you are planning the program for a concert, do you ever feel tempted to include less 'accessible' compositions in the hope of 'educating' your audience?
It doesn't work like that. I chose the melodies that touch my heart and than it will touch my audience.

Why do you think you have been – and continue to be – so successful?
Honestly, I don't know really. The only thing that I can say to that is that what we do is real. It's not an act. All of us have fun on stage and that is what people see and what touches them. I hope...

How did it feel to be ranked just behind Lady Gaga as one of the highest grossing tours of 2011?
What do you think. It's extraordinary and unreal at the same time.

I find it disappointing that Pollstars 'top 10' only includes one classical musician – why do you think this is? What can classical music do to lift its profile from music for the 'elite' to music for 'everyone'?
Good question. They should adjust their attitude in the first place. The main reason why I left the symphonic orchestra is because it was not allowed to have fun.

I remember a rehearsal with a very famous conductor who came from the States over to perform with us. In the middle of a piece the union head stood up, pointed to his watch and said it's lunch time! I freaked out..
{xtypo_quote_right}Take care that he has a lovely teacher. Preferably a young and beautiful one that he can fall in love with, it will motivate more than anything else! It worked for me:){/xtypo_quote_right}
It is true that you have some critics. If you could gather all of your critics together into one room, what would you say to them?
Most likely nothing. I have nothing to say to them. Most critics have their piece finished before coming to the concert, they only come to have some details. But my friend Anthony Hopkins said once "How many statues do you know of famous critics" ... It makes me laugh every time.

What is it that motivates you to keep touring the way you do?
To see the audience every night. If I would get the same money as I do now but no audience I would be left without energy after one performance!

Could you please describe a typical day in the life of Andre Rieu?
I wake up, have breakfast with my wife at home and the dogs, we chat about the future and what other music we can play. I practice my violin for some hours, go to my studio, work on the editing of a new dvd.

Go to the office and talk to the planning about the new tours. I study some more and in the evening Marjorie and me are behind the television watching romantic movies like sound of music, that's my absolute favorite.

Do you listen to music in your spare time? If yes, what do you like to listen to?
I never listen to music. Believe it or not.

Andre RieuMy son is four and has just started learning the violin. What advice can you give to a youngster starting out on this instrument? What advice can you give to someone wanting a career as a professional musician?
Very good!! I gave Pierres twin two violins for their birthday in the hope they will enjoy it. They have a lovely teacher. That is also my advice to you. Take care that he has a lovely teacher. Preferably a young and beautiful one that he can fall in love with, it will motivate more than anything else! It worked for me:) And besides that, the parents should find a mode to stimulate but not force. Some times a little pressure is inevitable because there is no normal youngster that wants to study violin instead of playing outside with friends.

For professionals, study study study and never give up! But make a target otherwise you don't know what you are working for so hard. And you need a good partner that supports you all the time. Ups and downs.

Given that you are well and truly at the top of your game, where do you see yourself going from here? Do you think you will still be performing at this pace in ten years time?
Let's hope! I will become 120 years old at least so who knows:)

André Rieu "And The Waltz Goes On" will tour Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland. Tickets are now on sale. Tour details»

Image credits:–
Top right: Andre Rieu
Bottom right: Andre Rieu and cast. Photo – Manuela Scarpa

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