He's now the conductor of the 26-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra, wowing crowds with his music and showmanship, and impressing Americans with his latest album and PBS special, "Dreaming."
Rieu visited The Saturday Early Show to add some classical flair to the Second Cup Café.
Andre Rieu, the Waltz King, was born into music. 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. Needless to say, the family home was filled with classical music.
Rieu trained as a violinist and singer. He was a member of the Limburg Symphony Orchestra for ten years. He changed the direction of his career when he took a job to play in a salon ensemble. He played dance and light music as it might have been heard in the days before World War I. Now, he specializes in light classics and Viennese salon music.
Today, he conducts the Johann Strauss Orchestra while simultaneously playing the violin, making for an entertaining show to both hear and observe. Time magazine calls Rieu the "classical music's surprise superstar."
Rieu's first CD, "From Holland with Love," was an international best seller, and later CDs have been just as successful. His last three albums have achieved platinum sales status in Europe, making him the best selling instrumentalist there in the last 20 years. In 1996, he received a World Music Award in Monte Carlo.
"Dreaming" also contains music that might be familiar to Americans who love movies. It features "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie "Titanic," "Edelweiss" from "The Sound of Music," "Send In the Clowns" from "A Little Night Music," and "Moon River" from "Breakfast At Tiffany's."