Andre Previn, composer Oscar winner, dies at age 89


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By Associated press

The pianist, composer and conductor André Previn, whose wide scope encompasses the Hollywood, jazz and classical worlds, has consistently rejected claims that his bop 'n' blues au noir would decrease his stature, was off Thursday. He was 89 years old.

Its director, Linda Petrikova, said that Previn had died in his home in Manhattan.

His ex-wife Mia Farrow tweeted on Thursday"See you in the morning, dear friend, may you rest in glorious symphonies."

Previn was a child prodigy whose family had fled Nazi Germany. As a teenager, he found work as a composer and arranger in the underground workshops of Hollywood, mainly at the MGM, winning four Oscars for his musical style orchestras as stylish as "My Fair Lady" of 1964 .

Previn then abandoned Hollywood for a career as a classical chef. He was appointed Music Director of the Houston Symphony in 1967 and later directed such renowned orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic in London.

In 1998, his opera based on "A Streetcar Named Desire" was premiered at the San Francisco Opera House.

During his career, Previn has continued to dive into the world of jazz. "I never consciously change gear when I play jazz or classical," he said one day. "It's all music."

It can be said that no one has ever played at such a high level in so many different genres of contemporary music. But the versatility of Previn had a price.

"Music critics have made it clear," he said one day, that any composer who has already contributed to a four-bar jingle in a film should now be called a "Hollywood composer", even if the rest of his film production was to consist solely of sonatas of liturgical organs ".

Previn has become as close to his family's name as anyone in his field – his celebrity has been magnified by his propensity to appear in gossip columns.

He has been married five times, including brilliant collaborations with Farrow and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. He was one of those in Hollywood who had experimented with LSD early on, and his memoirs of "No Minor Chords," his days at the movie studio, contained juicy revelations about everyone from Lenny Bruce to Ava Gardner. Soon-Yi, the Korean orphan that he and Farrow adopted, became the focus of a tabloid scandal when she became involved in Farrow's boyfriend, Woody Allen, and took it over. finally married.

Previn never even heard of jazz before his teenage years. Born in 1929 into a wealthy Jewish family in Berlin, he was sent to eminent professors to study classical music as soon as his gifts became evident. But the family was forced to flee Germany in 1938, briefly traveling to Paris before traveling to the United States.

"I had a purely classical training," recalled Previn. "And then, when I was a kid in Los Angeles, someone gave me a record of Art Tatum (pianist) playing" Sweet Lorraine. "I was amazed and bewitched. "

One of his father's cousins ​​was working as music director at Universal Studios and Previn quickly imposed himself at MGM.

Much of his work in Hollywood has been devoted to producing smaller films ("Challenge to Lassie," for example), but his work has given him "in-depth training in the practical aspects of musical creation," he told the Washington Post. He added that this allowed him to "stand up in front of an orchestra of great players" and perfect his leadership skills.

Hollywood has also made Previn famous. He was nominated for 13 Oscars and won four. In addition to "My Fair Lady", her Oscar-winning orchestrations include "Gigi" (1958), "Porgy and Bess" (1959) and "Irma La Douce" (1963).

After leaving Hollywood, Previn also turned his back on jazz, partly because he feared that it would weaken his credibility with classical musicians.

"I must say it probably crossed my mind, it's a cowardly confession … But the other thing is that once I left Hollywood in '65, I really needed start as a classical chef, worked very hard. "

Jazz however continues to exert an irresistible attraction. In 1995, after leading all major orchestras in Europe, Previn returned to pop, recording an album of jazz treatments of "Show Boat" songs and an album of songs by Jerome Kern with soprano Sylvia McNair.

"Some of my friends jazz musicians and the atmosphere have missed a lot," he said. "I've always liked to improvise, during the time I was not playing jazz, I always listened to it."

Previn and Farrow, his third wife, had three children and adopted three more during their highly visible union.

After Soon-Yi's affair with Allen became known in the early 1990s, Farrow strongly criticized the filmmaker for initiating a relationship with the young woman while he was a father figure for years . Allen and others countered that he had barely known Soon-Yi during his childhood and that Previn was not only a father figure, but also his father.

"I would roll it cheerfully with a steamroller," said Previn about Allen, who eventually adopted two children with Soon-Yi.

In August 2002, at the age of 72, Previn married Mutter, the violinist who has been a superstar of classical music since his teenage years. She was 39 years old. In 2005, their recording of the "Anne-Sophie Violin Concerto", which he wrote for her, won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo Show with Orchestra (conducted by Previn).

But the marriage ended with a divorce in 2006.

Previn's second wife, Dory Previn, also had a distinguished career as a singer and songwriter. She collaborated with Previn during their wedding on Oscar nominated songs for the films "Pepe", 1960 and "Two for the Swing", 1962. After leaving it for Farrow, she wrote about the 39, "Beware of Young Girls" experience. "

The other women of Previn were Betty Bennett and Heather Hales.

Previn was born Andreas Ludwig Prewin in Berlin. His father, Jack Prewin, was a distinguished lawyer, but when it became clear that Jews were not welcome in Hitler's Germany, Prewin moved his wife Charlotte and their two sons to Paris. A year later, the family left for Los Angeles.

In this country, Jack Prewin was reduced to giving piano lessons, while Andrew, 17, after finding work in a movie studio, assumed the bulk of the support charge of the family.

Previn earned his first film award as musical director for "She's For Me" in 1943. He cut his first album three years later and began composing scores three years later.

In 1958, he won the first of his many Grammys for the soundtrack of "Gigi". In 1960, he received a Grammy for the best jazz show for a selection of "West Side Story".

He won the same prize the following year for "Andre Previn Plays Harold Arlen". In 1998, he received the Kennedy Center's Award of Excellence for all of his work – with his ex-wife Farrow paying tribute to the televised ceremony.

"Since our first meeting, you have been a sincere and trusted friend, thanks for the music, the good words and the memories," she says.

Previn's longest tenure as chief conductor was his 11 years spent with the London Symphony Orchestra from 1968 to 1979. He did dozens of recordings with the LSO and other major orchestras.

At the twilight of his career, Previn was asked if he sometimes felt like he was blossoming.

"It's been almost my entire life:" Why does not he just focus on direction or composition, not on my own playing, nor on jazz? ", He replied.

"But the fact is that I am naturally curious about different disciplines of music and I like to practice them, and as long as people are nice enough to let me, I will continue to try."

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