André Rieu: I may have to sell my Strad

André Rieu: I may have to sell my Strad


norman lebrecht

December 18, 2020

From an interview with the Dutch bandmaster:

“We are in the midst of the crisis, with a few bright spots, but also a lot of threats. The support of the Dutch government for companies is 80% as of this month. And then it will be 70%, then 60% and then it will stop. And after it stops, I think in June 2021, it could go very quickly and then I might not be able to make it. So June could be the point of no return. I have had a few good years, but 120 permanent employees and many freelancers, who also work for me, that’s a lot of people. But I have good hope, and my life has always been about taking risks. All my life I thought let’s dare and do it! Entrepreneurship is daring. I gave up my job in an orchestra to build my own orchestra, I bought a castle and always want to try new things, and that means taking a risk.  And I say it again: I’d rather sell my Stradivarius to cover a few more months than fire a member of my orchestra.”

The André Rieu orchestra has not performed since March 5. 2020.




  • The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber says:

    For all the stick Mr Rieu takes, can we for once give credit to him for being a genuinely decent guy? It’s not many employers would go as far as saying “I’d rather sell my Stradivarius to cover a few more months than fire a member of my orchestra”. Good man.

  • Gustavo says:

    “120 permanent employees”

    Sell Strad and do Mahler cycle.

  • Roman says:

    Ignoring the quality of his shows, I wish more people had his attitude to people who they work with.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      As to the quality of his shows, he is a master of what he does. You may not care for the schmaltz nor the spectacle, but the fact is, he delivers what’s promised. Thus, the quality is very high.

      I wouldn’t myself purchase a ticket to see one of his shows (they aren’t cheap! – The Boston Symphony Orchestra tickets are much cheaper actually), but if someone gave one to me, I would go and likely enjoy it for what it’s worth. It’s just not my thing in general. But I greatly respect that he takes what he does seriously, he consistently delivers, and he genuinely seems to have a good time in the process. Bravo!

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “Dutch bandmaster”…. that’s a pretty condescending comment about someone who has provided so much joy to so many people.
    Andre Rieu is a wonderful violinist and orchestra leader.
    Good luck and best wishes to you and your orchestra, Andre! Stay safe!

    • violin accordion says:

      Not only is he a wonderful leader, he studied with the great Herrman Krebbers and played many concertos and recitals before his enterprise.

  • Edoardo says:

    Rieu found a niche and he has been very successful in filling it. He made millions (Andre Rieu Surpasses $550 Million in Touring Grosses according to billboard) with his shows (which are not classical concerts, so spare the high brow) and has always treated each of his musician with above standard working condition, both economically and personally without need to brag about it. So I gather from people who have worked with him. So what he says is perfectly in line with his past history

    • V. Lind says:

      Met musicians will be looking for vacancies in his orchestra. They will certainly be envying their counterparts in his ensemble.

  • Gustavo says:

    He could sell his Strad to ASM or Daniel Hope who obviously did well by staying at home.

  • CYM says:

    That’s okay. Anyway, Rieu had never looked at his Strad instructions manual, and he can still keep his castle and crown one of his Barbie, Queen !

  • DAVID says:

    There are very few companies in the classical music world that have shown during this crisis comparable generosity to Mr. Rieu’s. Whereas he’d sell his Strad rather than fire a single of his employees, managements in North America have callously leveraged this crisis in order to extort the kind of concessions they had been dreaming about for decades. The crisis has been a huge bonanza to them, giving them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get world-class talent at cheap labor prices, as well as exposed their profound disrespect of the very people without which they would simply not have a job. Whether or not one enjoys Mr. Rieu’s work, his statement in my opinion tells volumes about who he is and earns my complete respect and admiration. He shows a great depth of humanity and empathy, something which is sorely lacking in the so-called more “serious” classical music industry which has recently been hijacked by opportunistic administrators who see themselves as more worthy than the actual product they are selling and without which, frankly, they would not be able to enjoy their disproportionate salaries. Mr. Rieu brings joy to many people and perhaps provides to many an access to classical music which they otherwise might not have had. He is also an immensely talented entrepreneur — very few classical musicians in the world would be able to build a comparable business, as most have rarely ventured outside the practice room and outside the insular world of the audition circuit in order to take an actual risk and start something of their own. For that also, he deserves much admiration.

  • Stolz says:

    Fire an employee and get another Strad, it’s a far better long term investment.

    • QA says:

      His employees are like family because they spend so much time together on tours and Rieu triets them all like his own family members. You can’t kick out for your family. And also when his long time trombonist got heart attack 4 years ago what he did – he cancel the concert’s because the sick musician was family member – not just some single player who can be easily replaced.

      • Maria says:

        Yes, this was the case in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Highly respected for doing so as his player are most certainly ‘family’ of the right sort.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Nice to see so many positive comments about André Rieu who is, according to a long-time friend and employee of his, an excellent man and boss. AR is a master of his genre, brings high-quality performances to millions and richly deserves the success he has enjoyed. Once out of this CV nightmare may he and his continue to prosper many a long year.

  • redjives says:

    No link to the full interview?

  • MacroV says:

    I’ve never been a fan of his schtick. But I do admire his loyalty to his players.

  • harpist says:

    He… has a Strad? For.. that??

    • Bill says:

      He’s a violinist who is very successful at selling tickets. Is there a reason why he should not be able to buy a nice violin with his money if he wants?

  • Al & Holly Rodriguez, California, USA says:

    Hang in there Andre, things will get better. We love you, your music, your orchestra, and your Strad – don’t sell it.

  • If I want to fell better in these difficult times I often watch one or more of the Rieu concerts. They lift my spirits and take me away for a little while. I admire him and his spirit.

  • John Stubbs says:

    No thank you…

  • Aulikki, Finland says:

    Oh No, I wish the vaccine helps world and Maestro can have his Strad. It sounds so great! All the bedt for year 2021!

  • Gabe says:

    there are gonna be a lot of strads for sale out there by the time this runs its course. question is who’s gonna buy them.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    It would not be the greatest loss if he stops playing and “conducting” and the instrument ends up in the hands of a real serious musician.

  • Please Andre keep going as long as You can. Thank You for putting the orchestra staff first. Thank You for the pleasure You have given to the world. God bless and keep all safe.