André Rieu was born into a musical family in October 1949 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. He began studying violin at the age of five, taking inspiration from his father who was a conductor.
He studied violin at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège and in the Conservatorium Maastricht, (1968–1973). From 1974 to 1977, he attended the Music Academy in Brussels, studying with André Gertler, winning the Premier Prix at the academy.
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. The Orchestra began with 12 members but now performs with between 40 and 50 musicians, depending on the size of the venue.
Rieu and his orchestra have performed throughout Europe, in North America, and Japan. Winning several awards including two World Music Awards, their recordings have gone gold and platinum in many countries, including 8-times platinum in the Netherlands.