If you are familiar with Maastricht, you know the name. André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu is a Dutch violinist and conductor famous for creating the waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra and turning classical and waltz music into a worldwide concert touring act, as successful as some of the biggest global pop and rock music acts.
What is the secret of Rieu’s overwhelming success? Three researchers from Maastricht University have analysed his performance, music and business. In the book Rieu: Maestro zonder grenzen, Maaike Meijer, Peter Peters and Jac van den Boogard demonstrate how Rieu bridges the gap between high and low culture, how his concerts are genuine folk festivals, and why his music has worldwide appeal. They travelled with Rieu’s orchestra, unravelled his new takes on the classical repertoire, and dove into the historical background of the musical traditions wherein Rieu works.
The first copy of the book was presented to Rieu by Martin Paul, President of the Executive Board of Maastricht University, late last month, in the Theatre aan het Vrijthof–where Rieu and his orchestra perform their Maastricht open air concerts each year.
The Orchestra began in 1987 with 12 members, giving its first concert on 1 January 1988. Over the years it has expanded dramatically, nowadays performing with between 80 and 150 musicians.
Listen to an interview with researcher and author Maaike Meijer here.