Violinist and conductor Andre Rieu emerged rapidly in the late 1980s as a latter-day Waltz King, specializing in light classics and Viennese salon music. Rieu came from a suitably musical family: his father was the conductor of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and a conductor at the Leipzig Opera, and most of André s brothers and sisters are professional musicians.
Rieu presently founded a larger ensemble, adopting the historic name the Johann Strauss Orchestra. Rieu and the Strauss Orchestra seek to recreate the spirit and ambience of a nineteenth-century Strauss appearance. As Johann Strauss and his brothers did, Rieu conducts while playing the violin, providing the beat with his bow and instrument and by motions of the body, virtually dancing the rhythm. The Strauss Orchestra's programs consist mainly of music by the Strausses and other composers of light music and operetta.
Accordingly, audiences have responded with great enthusiasm. Rieu's first CD, From Holland with Love, was an international best-seller, and subsequent CDs have enjoyed a similar success. Rieu's concerts throughout Europe and the United States consistently sell out. The musician attributes such success to his ability to provide the romance of a bygone era, the Vienna of the nineteenth century, with its palatial ballrooms, their walls fitted with resplendent mirrors and ornate chandeliers, the swish of swirling skirts and a sense of romance in the air.