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Crowds in Australia line up for arrival of violin king Rieu

Dutch musician discovers continent

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SYDNEY, Australia — Thousands of fans lined several blocks down a Sydney street to meet their “man” from Maastricht, the Netherlands to get their DVDs autographed. With André Rieu’s first tour of the continent “down under,” Australians are quickly warming up to the Dutch violinist and conductor’s popular brand of classical music.

Rieu has sold more recordings in a one-year period in Australia than any other artist for music giant Universal, and his DVDs have gone platinum 50 times over.

Credited with bringing new audiences to classical music, the statuesque, floppy-haired 58-year old Dutch musician has also been dubbed the "Mel Gibson of the violin".

Rieu flew into Australia for a promotional tour of his latest album, Waltzing Matilda, appropriately featuring I Still Call Australia Home and Home Among The Gum Trees.