Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Amsterdam announced as host city for the 2013 MTV EMA!

MTV to take over the new Ziggo Dome on November 10…

Jan 29, 2013

by Lucy Slight

After the success of last year’s star-studded ceremony in Frankfurt Germany, we are excited to announce that the ‘2013 MTV EMA’ will be hitting the city of Amsterdam on Sunday November 10!

The Dutch capital is one of the world’s most culturally renowned cities with a thriving arts and music scene and the new Ziggo Dome is the perfect venue to host the hottest musical artists from across the globe.

“We’re very excited to partner with the city of Amsterdam, a true world class music city and top destination for artists,” revealed Bruce Gillmer, Executive Vice President of Talent and Music Programming/Events, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).

“Each year the MTV EMA celebrates the biggest names in music from every corner of the globe and showcases unbelievable performances from today’s most exciting acts. We’re confident that Amsterdam, and the cutting-edge Ziggo Dome, with its state of the art facilities, will be the perfect setting for what will be a very memorable and spectacular 2013 MTV EMA.”

Dan Ligtvoet, Managing Director, VIMN Northern Europe said: “I am thrilled to see the MTV EMA return to my home country, the Netherlands.

“Amsterdam already served as the backdrop for the legendary MTV Europe launch party at the Roxy and we will make sure that, with this year’s MTV EMA, the citizens of Amsterdam and the entire Netherlands will be treated again to a star-studded music extravaganza – which at the same time will allow us to showcase our Dutch audiences’ zest and enthusiasm across the globe.”

Carolien Gehrels, Vice Mayor of the City of Amsterdam, is also honoured to have her city play host to the prestigious event.

“We are honoured that Amsterdam has been selected to host the 2013 MTV EMAs,” she said.

“This is great news for the city for a number of reasons: it promises to be an exciting event for young people and music lovers in the city, it will provide opportunities for businesses in these difficult economic times and it will allow Amsterdam to raise its international profile. A great event at an ideal moment.”

Stay locked to for more 2013 MTV EMA announcements!

Find the original story here.


How Andre Rieu conquered classical music

Posted: November 13, 2012 in Music

Original Daily Mail article found here

A riot of fake snowflakes fall from the gods, elaborate fountains send jets of water into the air, ice rinks shimmer, plumed horses trot through the auditorium pulling fairy-tale gilt carriages and women in lavish pastel ballgowns waltz with men dressed as Austro-Hungarian dragoons.

In the audience, grown men and women leap to their feet, clap, stamp, hug each other, pirouette in the aisle and weep with the ecstasy of it all.

Standing centre-stage, his silk cravat fastened with a sparkling brooch, a Stradivarius violin pressed between shoulder and neck, is Andre Rieu, the Dutch conductor and violinist whose extraordinary showmanship has helped him sell more than 32 million CDs worldwide and has made him a millionaire many times over.

Showman: Andre Rieu dazzles the audience during a performance on Sunday's Strictly Come Dancing Showman: Andre Rieu dazzles the audience during a performance on Sunday’s Strictly Come Dancing

Rieu’s fans lap up his unique brand of snow-sprinkled Bavarian kitsch.

On Sunday evening, he performed on Strictly Come Dancing accompanied by four beautiful cellists in silk taffeta dresses and a brass band in white tie.

Serenaded by Rieu’s violin, professional ballroom dancers Anton du Beke and Erin Boag waltzed across the dance floor, sending the audience into raptures.

Meanwhile, the violinist’s album narrowly missed the top spot in the Sunday night UK album charts. He was beaten to the number one spot by Robbie Williams, but at number two, Rieu was still ahead of the wildly popular boyband JLS. Not bad for a 63-year-old grandfather from the Netherlands.

The hugely successful record, Magic Of The Movies, offers Rieu’s take on classic film scores, but it is in live performance that his genius lies.

Indeed, even the bespangled Liberace, until now the most flamboyant showman popular classical music has ever known, might have described Rieu’s concerts as a tad over the top. For audiences it must be like being inside a giant snowglobe.

Flamboyant: His exceptional showmanship has helped Dutch violinist Andre Rieu, right, sell more than 32million CDs world wideFlamboyant: His exceptional showmanship has helped Dutch violinist Andre Rieu, right, sell more than 32million CDs world wide

But who is the long-haired King of Schmaltz and how did he inspire such a cult following?

Born in 1949, Rieu grew up in the Dutch city of Maastricht, known for the treaty which led to the creation of the euro — a currency of which Rieu has accumulated rather a lot, enabling him to buy the local medieval castle and make it his home.

He started playing the violin when he was five, forced into it by his father, who led the city’s symphony orchestra. But he gradually came to adore classical music. ‘The Beatles completely passed me by,’ he once recalled.

When he became a professional classical musician himself in 1978, aged 29, he was troubled by the solemn reverence the music inspired, both from those who performed it and the audience.

Struggles: Andre Rieu, performing in Sydney, Australia, came close to bankruptcy staging some of his shows Struggles: Andre Rieu, performing in Sydney, Australia, came close to bankruptcy staging some of his shows

‘I felt very strongly: why don’t you put some flowers on the stage? Why do you have the girls always in black dresses? Why does the conductor turn his back to the audience? No wonder classical music was dying.’

If classical music was in its death throes, he has given it CPR.

In 1987, aged 38, Rieu formed his own orchestra, the Johann Strauss, specialising in waltzes, and gave it a lick of Las Vegas magic.

The purists were horrified. His performances were described as ‘affected’, ‘effeminate’, ‘histrionic’, ‘slapstick’ and ‘conceited’.

He was denounced as a ‘phoney’. But Rieu waltzed all the way to the bank. He has now sold out more venues than Bruce Springsteen.

Moreover, while many of the world’s orchestras are subsidised by governments, he keeps his going entirely from his own pocket.

His 120 musicians are loyal and by all accounts he treats them well. He is said only to get cross with them when they forget to smile.

On his seemingly effortless rise to the top, Rieu has only once stumbled. Four years ago, he paid for three eye-wateringly expensive replicas (allowing for wear and tear) of the facade of Vienna’s 1,441-room Schonbrunn Palace  to serve as backdrops to his Australian tour. He was almost bankrupted as a result.

But the gamble was worth it. The tour was a triumph, paying off all his debts.

The greater Rieu’s success, the more the classical music snobs shudder at his repertoire. He intersperses endless renditions of The Blue Danube with Feed The Birds from Mary Poppins, Elvis Presley’s Are You Lonesome Tonight? and Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. Everything, but everything, is arranged so you can waltz to it.

It’s impossible not to laugh at a video of Rieu wielding his 1667 Stradivarius at the top of an Austrian mountain, playing Edelweiss accompanied by a battalion of other violinists, passing goatherds and bemused cattle wearing cowbells.

Nor is he the first classical musician to challenge dusty perceptions — he is not even the first violinist. Our own Nigel Kennedy brought the spirit of punk to violin solos, and the lovely Vanessa-Mae a dash of glamour. But never has it been done on such a monumental scale.

While it might seem incongruous that a man with a Stradivarius should have taken on Robbie Williams for the top spot in the album charts, they actually have a great deal in common: whatever the brand of music, they are both showmen, inveterate and irrepressible.

Rise to the top: Andre Rieu astonishing popularity has seen him sell out more venues than Bruce SprinsteenRise to the top: Andre Rieu astonishing popularity has seen him sell out more venues than Bruce Sprinsteen

When Rieu paid homage to Frank Sinatra in New York, with his waltzable version of My Way, men and women in the audience openly wept.

Rieu, who is liable to get swept up by the almost hysterical emotions of the crowd, wept too. Ol’ Blue Eyes might also have shed a tear, had he been there.

Star act: Andre Rieu can rival big name acts such as Robbie Williams for star attractionStar act: Andre Rieu can rival big name acts such as Robbie Williams for star attraction

In Australia, his fans hugged each other as Rieu marched down the aisle to Seventy-Six Trombones, then practically hyperventilated when he brought Ravel’s Bolero to a shuddering climax.

And in the one city where you might expect him to be pelted with stale Viennese Whirls, Rieu is venerated almost as much as Strauss himself.

In 2008, the thousands of people packing the square in front of Vienna’s imperial palace could hardly contain their exhilaration as he launched into The Blue Danube.

But what does Rieu’s chart success tell us about ourselves?

The answer is surely that we enjoy kitsch and schmaltz — the former a German word defined as a tasteless imitation of high art, the latter a German-Yiddish word which has come to mean excessive sentimentality — more than we like to admit.

In fact, two more German words are proof of this: Engelbert Humperdinck. The best-known hits — Release Me, The Last Waltz — of the singer born plain Arnold George Dorsey could hardly be schmaltzier.

Even the most cursory flick through the history of our singles charts reveals Britain’s intermittent love affair with the saccharine and sentimental, from Ken Dodd’s Tears, the biggest-selling single of 1965 (beating Ticket To Ride by The Beatles and Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones), to the late Clive Dunn singing Grandad, a chart-topper for three weeks in 1971.

The following year, Amazing Grace, by the pipe band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, stayed at number one for more than a month.

It is clearly to this tradition that Rieu’s music belongs.

Paul Cassidy of the celebrated Brodsky Quartet, who has himself pushed the genre’s boundaries by collaborating with Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Bjork, takes his hat off to Rieu.

‘I can’t bring myself to disapprove of what he’s doing,’ says Cassidy. ‘It’s fun, people like it, so why not? And frankly, anyone who can make a living playing the violin deserves it.’