The career of the Johann Strauss Orchestra is not precisely coterminous with that of superstar Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu, who was performing small classical crossover concerts with his Maastricht Salon Orchestra by the late 1970s. But the group has served as the vehicle for Rieu's increasingly ambitious ideas since its founding in 1987.
On the occasion of Rieu's first concert with the orchestra, on January 1, 1988, there were 12 musicians. By 2008 that had expanded to 43, and by the mid-2010s the group might include anywhere from 80 to 150 members, depending on venue and occasion. At the core of its repertoire have been the Viennese waltzes with which Rieu began his career, but the orchestra's capabilities now encompass popular songs, film themes, and musical theater as well as a variety of classical compositions. The group has won two World Music Awards and has toured with Rieu, as he inherited the title of Waltz King by popular acclaim, throughout Europe and in the U.S. (where the orchestra has been a fixture of Rieu's appearances on the PBS television network), Japan, and Australia.
The Johann Strauss Orchestra is featured on Rieu's recordings, made at his own state-of-the-art studios in his hometown of Maastricht. In 2017, the orchestra released, with Rieu, the recording Amore. Happy Days arrived in 2019. ~ James Manheim, Rovi