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28 November 2012, 15:41 | Updated: 6 December 2012, 14:12
International superstar violinist André Rieu answered a series of quickfire questions from around the world in a live web chat with Tim Lihoreau.
To celebrate the start of the festive season, André Rieu put down his treasured violin and picked up a keyboard and mouse in time to answer a series of quickfire waltz-related questions. From queries about violin strings, performing with Jermaine Jackson and appearing on Neighbours, André was inundated with a range of questions and well-wishes from his international fans. More Music Breakfast presenter Tim Lihoreau fielded the best questions and posed them to the King of the Waltz.
Sid Jo Hexter: How do you manage to juggle family life with such demanding schedules?
Thanks to the iPhone, webcam and Skype we manage to keep in contact a lot .
Michael Carl Scott: Do you have perfect pitch?
Yes I do. Fortunately!
Tim Lihoreau: MORNING ANDRE! I hope you are well, and MANY many thanks for sparing us some time to answer listeners' web questions. Here's MY first question. I saw your picture in my local cinema the other day - for the film Home for Christmas. That looks like a lot of fun, how did it come about?
The Christmas special was the most spectacular special we ever made. We all loved making it and I still enjoy seeing it, specially on the big screen!
Tim Lihoreau: A question now from Classic FM Listener, Rachel Orr, who sings and always includes a waltz in her concerts. "What's YOUR all time favourite waltz?"
The blue Danube, without doubt.
Marie Dor: I love opera and I was wondering... what's your favorite opera?
La Traviata is my absolute favorite opera.
Christine Kinloch: You are a perfectionist. Have you ever played a wrong note in a concert?
Of course I have... didn't you hear? ;-)
Tim Lihoreau: Ok, a question from me: I gather you had Jermaine Jackson round at your place the other day. (I saw the photo on your website). Can you tell us any more about this collaboration, yet? An amazing pairing that would be.
We loved making music together at my studio. So let's see what the future brings...
Tim Lihoreau: Is there even a TINY recording yet?
No nothing yet. Maybe in the future.
Diane Thompson: If your life was a piece of music, what would it be and why?
Good question. As my heart beats in 3/4 time, I'm sure it would be a waltz!
Christine Freer: Could you tell me what kind of strings you use and which bow?
I use different bows and strings all the time.
Tim Lihoreau: When I saw you live, you occasionally balanced your violin under your chin... with no hands. I gather that's a 1667 Stradivarius, isn't it? You've never dropped it, have you?
No of course not. I'm used to holding the violin ever since I was five.
Peter Lewis: Music is an emotional experience..so is there a piece that you find difficult playing because of its personal emotional content for you?
I play all pieces with a lot of emotion. I think that is why people like it.
Sheila Skitt: How do you manage to memorize your music, you must have a terrific memory?
By practicing and playing it over and over again. I have to because I can't read without my glasses.
Chris Ireland: I have just started learning to play the violin, do you have any tips for an adult beginner?
Try the flute ;-) No seriously, just keep on practicing (and find a beautiful teacher, like I did!)
Julie Laing: If you could time travel, what composer would you go to see first and why?
Johann Strauss, he is my absolute favourite!
Tim Lihoreau: I was looking at your string of UK dates: Glasgow, Dublin, Manchester...etc. From the 7th Dec, right through to the 20th. How many of you and the orchestra and the crew actually are there on the road at one time? (SO many tour buses, surely?)
We are traveling with approx. 110 people. This time a little more, because we need to set up two sets of equipment in Glasgow and Dublin, because of the distance.
Morgen Bailey: My mother (Ann) and aunt (Jill) are 81-year-old twins and are coming to see you at the London O2 centre, they saw you there in April. They have almost everything you've ever released (the rest of the family are working on the 'almost'!). What is your favourite piece that you play and is there anything you haven't played that you would like to?
It's difficult to say. I always play The Rose to my twin grand-daughters and they love it. Maybe your twin mother and aunt will love it as much as they do!
Sarah Chaplin: When you have time what do you do to relax?
I often relax in my conservatory. I have beautiful plants there and a lot of exotic butterflies.
Tim Lihoreau: You were once in an episode of Neighbours. How did that come to pass?
The producers of the show were at my Melbourne concert and we had a lovely chat afterwards...
Tim Lihoreau: MANY many thanks for sparing so much time and answering all those questions. Best wishes with the tour - and DO pop in to Classic FM soon.
You are welcome, it was a lot of fun! Whenever I'm in the area I'll stop by. Hope to see you all at one of the concerts!
You can listen to a specially recorded message from André Rieu and a selection of his own music, as chosen by him on Anne-Marie Minhall's show this Saturday 8 December from 3pm.
And don't forget to come back at 9am on Wednesday next week for another web chat, this time with composer John Rutter.