"My Honeymoon Was the Worst": Violinist André Rieu on the Trials and Triumphs of Travel

A view of Tunis and the Mediterranean from the medieval fortress
Photo by Gelia/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by The Telegraph, March 26, 2018

André Rieu, the Dutch violinist and conductor, recalls an unforgettable trip to Chicago, the eye-opening beauty of New Zealand and an unfortunate honeymoon in Tunisia.

I want to perform on the moon...

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...one day, because I love to bring my music to every single place. I spend months at a time travelling with my orchestra, while every spring I go on holiday with my wife and family. 

I’m never happier than when...

...I’m with my loved ones. I need my family to have the perfect holiday, since I’m away touring for so much of the year. 

I travelled the world with a mobile castle...

...a full-sized replica of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, with horses, carriages, dancers and real fountains, for my World Stadium Tour in 2008. 

New Zealand was a real eye-opener...

...because of its incredible nature and beautiful landscape. It’s the furthest place I’ve travelled to so far. 

I was so musically inspired...

...by the country that my first violinist, Frank Steijns, and I composed a waltz called Dreaming of New Zealand. 

NZ best country 

The Dordogne is so beautiful...

...and I have fond memories of holidays there as a child with my mother and father, who was also a symphony orchestra conductor. His work schedule was pretty full growing up but our family spent many holidays in France. 

I’ll never forget my trip to Chicago...

...on my first big trip abroad in 1988. I was there performing with my Maastricht Salon Orchestra, the small ensemble I had founded 10 years earlier. We gave concerts in historic properties, cultural houses and small theatres. 

History is tangible in every sense in Rome...

...when you walk through its streets and it’s my favourite city. I still can’t get my head around the fact that I’m looking at all these buildings that the Romans built centuries ago. I love history and reading about ancient times, especially the emperors and philosophers.

I’m a small town boy at heart...

...as much as I enjoy visiting “megacities” like Paris, London and New York. I wouldn’t say they’re overrated but, in truth, they’re too overwhelming for me. I find getting around big cities so stressful and time-consuming.  

My home city of Maastricht is the most underrated...

...place in the world. It is the oldest city in the Netherlands but has so much to offer with lovely restaurants and hotels, beautiful churches and museums, and a pretty countryside. It boasts a wonderful location too: it’s close to the German and Belgian borders, while Paris and London are just “around the corner”.

Dorothy was right...

...in the Wizard of Oz film: there is no place like home. I love travelling, but I’m always happy to head back to good old Maastricht.

I’ve grown fond of Britain...

...on my trips across the Channel over the years. My favourite place in the UK is London’s South Bank area during the Christmas market season. 

I always fly by private jet...

...whenever I travel for work without my orchestra. As I’m on the road so much, time is my most valuable commodity. Maastricht, despite being in the heart of Western Europe, unfortunately only has one small airport. 

My worst travel experience was while on my honeymoon...

...in Tunisia. The hotel wasn’t very good, the weather wasn’t very nice and, since my wife and I booked a cheap journey (as I was a poor violin student back then), we couldn’t leave early and had to endure a fortnight. But we were happy just being together. 

In the bag | Andre Rieu's favourite travel accessories 

I always exercise while on board a plane...

...and try not to get stressed out. I always try to sleep on a flight too and make sure that my watch is set to the local time.

Embrace the culture...

...you are about to encounter wherever you are – it’s always been my motto. Doing so is sure to make your trip much more enjoyable.

My next concert will be very special...

...as I’ll be playing my first concert series in Tel Aviv next month. I’ve never been before, so I’m really looking forward to visiting the city.

André Rieu’s 2018 Maastricht Concert – Amore, My Tribute To Love – is in cinemas across the UK on July 28 and 29 (andreincinemas.com). See André Rieu and The Johann Strauss Orchestra perform live on a five-day tour visiting Maastricht, Antwerp and Amsterdam on a Telegraph Exclusive Tour departing on July 4. For more information, see here.

Interview by York Membery 

 

This article was from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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