André Rieu was born into a musical family on October 1, 1949 in Maastricht in the Netherlands. He began studying violin at the age of five. His father was a conductor. From a very young age he developed a fascination with orchestra. He studied violin at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège and in the Conservatorium Maastricht, (1968–1973). His teachers included Jo Juda and Herman Krebbers. From 1974 to 1977, he attended the Music Academy in Brussels, studying with André Gertler, winning the Premier Prix at the academy.
At University he performed the Gold And Silver Waltz by Franz Lehár. Encouraged by the audience reaction he decided to pursue the waltz form. Rieu formed the Maastricht Salon Orchestra and performed as a violinist with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, he created the Johann Strauss Orchestra and his own production company. Since then, his melodramatic stage performances and rock-star demeanor have for some been associated with a revival of the waltz music category. André Rieu plays a 1667 Stradivarius violin.
In April 2009 (Australia) /June 2009 (UK), he made a cameo appearance as himself on “Ramsay Street” in the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours.
The Orchestra began in 1987 with 12 members but now performs with between 40 and 50 musicians. At the time the Orchestra first toured Europe, there emerged a renewed interest in waltz music. The revival began in the Netherlands and was ignited by their recording of the Second Waltz from Shostakovich’s Jazz Suites. As a result, Rieu became known as the waltz King.