Andre Rieu, who is considered the modern king of waltz, is coming to Turkey again with his brand new act and incredible show. He will play his first show in Ankara on Nov. 5. He will later take the stage in Istanbul on Nov. 7.
During his last concert in November, he won our hearts by surprising us with Turkish songs. He once again plans to put on an unforgettable show.
Daily Sabah conducted an interview with Rieu about his successful career. Having taken piano lessons in a castle when he was a young boy, he now lives in this castle.
DAILY SABAH: You have been to Istanbul before. What would you like to say about the city and the Turkish audience?
ANDRE RIEU: We came to Turkey with the Johann Strauss Orchestra two years in a row, and I would like to say sincerely that it was wonderful and a different experience for me. My audience in Turkey participated in the performance from the very beginning of the concert. Their reaction was extraordinary when we began to play famous Turkish songs. To comment on the interest of my fans in Turkey and their approach to music, I can say from our experiences during the sold out event we did last year, my Turkish fans are extremely passionate, warm and hospitable. They are very good and fun. During last year's Istanbul concert, the sound of applause I heard from the audience was the loudest I had ever heard. Last year was one of my best concerts. And I am coming again to Turkey for all of this. Coming to your country again will be a lot of fun.
D.S: Did you have a chance to see the city? What do you like most about it?
A.R: My impression of Istanbul is that it is perfect, and it really is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever performed in. Turkey is a very exciting country, and we believe our concerts further add to that excitement.
'No one knows me in Italy'
D.S: You have been traveling around the world. What do you do for fun? Where do you like to go to relax?
I always go to Italy for vacation because no one knows me there. I can say it is the only country where I can go on a vacation. There are very nice, romantic places like Toscana with rich musical offerings.
D.S: You could live anywhere in the world. But what makes Maastricht special for you?
Maastricht is loved because of me. I made the city's name known in a different way. Busloads of people come to my concerts from other countries, and the city's tourism became active because of this.
D.S: Is there any special or memorable moment in your career? Can you tell us about it?
I am very lucky; I've had several special moments in my career. One of them was our performance in front of Schönbrunn Castle in Vienna. Everything was so beautiful and romantic - a fairytale setting, really. Of course, every July I play eight open-air concerts for 80,000 people in my hometown Maastricht in the Vrijthof, a wonderful medieval square. I was born in Maastricht and have lived there since and have always dreamt of giving these concerts. So to my orchestra and me, they are very special and close to my heart.
'I was a fan of Tin Tin'
D.S: We know that when you were a kid, you had a dream of living in a castle. Your dream came true. You believed in positive thinking right? Can you tell us how you do it?
Yes, I believe in positive thinking. But it's not only that. It's also hard work, dedication, love, passion and luck. As a child I was a fan of the "Tin Tin" comic series. I'm not sure if that's known in Turkey. The stories feature a professor who lives in a castle, and I wanted to have one too. I also used to take piano lessons as a child in the castle where I live now. But it was cold and dark until I bought and renovated it. I always believed that the kind of music I played and loved would be loved by thousands of people around the world as well. And I was right. I started out with a small ensemble of five musicians and then 12, and now I have more than 50, making us the biggest private orchestra in the world.
D.S: If you were not making music, what would you do?
I would have loved to become an architect.
'Waltz is the musical expression of life'
D.S: You once said, "The waltz can be sad and at the same time uplifting." Can you explain this?
To me the waltz is a perfect kind of music because you will find all of the emotions in it. If you listen to it, you may feel a bit melancholic, but the next moment you want to jump up and dance. Maybe the waltz is the musical expression of life. Life also can be sad, and then suddenly uplifting.
D.S: There are always thousands of flowers and balloons in your concerts. Why?
I want people to have fun at my concerts. I love to entertain. I feel bored by "regular" classical concerts in which the whole orchestra is dressed in black, everyone is serious, and you don't see any smiles at all. I've always found it so depressing that at classical concerts orchestra members play the most beautiful music and don't seem to enjoy themselves at all. There were no smiles. I wanted to change that. We have a lot of fun on stage. We play with all our hearts, and if I see happy people, dancing, smiling and enjoying the evening in front of me, it makes me proud and happy at the same time.
D.S: Can you tell us about the concert you will play in Istanbul? Are there going to be any surprises?
Last year, in our Istanbul concert, we made snowflakes fall on the audience. It was only a joke I made on stage. But I am going to do different things in my next concert in Istanbul also. This time I am going to give concerts in two different cities. One is Istanbul, and the other one is Ankara. I am always full of surprises.
'My nickname is king of waltz'
D.S: How do you define your music?
I received a classical music education; in fact, my nickname is "the King of Waltz." But this doesn't mean I only do waltz music. As long as it gives me a chance to turn my concerts into a big party, I will play anything next to classic music. I will do the same in my Istanbul concert. I don't discriminate toward "classical music" or "music that's not classical." For me there is only good music or bad music. There are bad pieces in classical music, and there are wonderful songs in pop music.
D.S: Lastly, how do you take care of yourself? Do you have any particular diet or training?
I have a wonderful job. I always have to be fit due to my job. I feel bad when I don't exercise three times a week. My personal trainer goes around the world with me.