Andre Previn Dead: An Oscar Winning Composer Was 89 Years Old


The Oscar-winning composer and former husband of Mia Farrow turned his back on Hollywood and gained increased renown as a leader of orchestra, composer and jazz pianist.

Andre Previn, four-time Academy Award winner, died after mastering classical music, jazz, pop and film music as a composer, conductor and pianist during a career as a eight decades. He was 89 years old.

The Berlin native, who started working at MGM in 1946 while still attending Beverly Hills High School, then wrote a resume featuring more than 500 amazing albums. He died Thursday at his home The Hollywood Reporter.

Previn has been nominated 11 times for an Oscar and was rewarded for his musical work on Gigi (1958) Porgy and Bess (1959), Irma the sweet (1963) and My beautiful lady (1964).

To the surprise of his colleagues, Previn in the early 1960s left MGM to focus on classical music. He was in his thirties. "At MGM, you knew you were going to work next year, you knew you would get paid," he said. The Guardian in 2008. "But I was too ambitious in terms of music to be content with that, and I wanted to play with the talent I could have had."

Previn was extremely versatile. During the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, he also imposed himself as an accomplished jazz pianist. From 1955 with the album Collaboration, his name was found on dozens of records, either solo or in collaboration with artists such as Shorty Roberts, Russ Freeman, Benny Carter, J.J. Johnson, Shelly Manne, Dinah Shore and Doris Day.

He returned to his jazz roots in the 1980s, publishing more than a dozen recordings over a period of two decades, including 1983. Good job if you can get it with Ella Fitzgerald, 1989 & # 39; s After hours with Joe Pass and Ray Brown, 1996 Ballads: Jazz Solo Standards and 2001 Live Jazz Standard with David Finck.

As Ted Gioia wrote in his 1992 book West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California, 1945-1960"At its best, Previn could be a moving and persuasive jazz musician."

One of Previn's favorite themes was to take on pop and show tunes and give them a touch of jazz. He has published jazz albums containing the songs of George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen, as well as music from Gigi, West Side Story and Showboat, among others.

Previn's eclectic musical talents earned him ten Grammy Awards: five for classical recordings, two for films, two for jazz, and one for 1958's pop recording. As a young person, which contained only song titles containing the words "young" or "young". In 2010, he received a Grammy of Excellence for all of his accomplishments.

Previn was married and divorced five times. He and his third wife, actress Mia Farrow, raised six children, including a pair of twins and an adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, born in Korea.

In 1992, Farrow ended his relationship with Woody Allen after discovering that the director had an affair with Soon-Yi, then 22 years old. (Soon-Yi and Allen got married in 1997). A 2013 Vanity Fair quoted history Previn saying of Soon-Yi, "She does not exist."

Previn has many working relationships with his second wife, lyricist, singer, songwriter and poet Dory Previn. They have teamed up on movies such as Two for the rocker (1962), Goodbye Charlie (1964) Inside the daisy (1965), harp (1965), The swinger (1966) and Valley of the dolls (1967).

Dory had to deal with emotional and psychological issues throughout their eleven-year marriage. She had a seizure when he told her that he was leaving her for Farrow. He and the The rosemary baby star were married from 1970 to 1979.

Previn was born in Berlin on April 6, 1929, to Andreas Ludwig Priwin, Charlotte and Jacob Priwin. (The year of his birth was questioned by Previn in 2006 when, as guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he stated in the program notes that he was born in 1930.)

In 1939, Jewish Priwins fled to Germany to escape persecution and settled in Los Angeles, where Andre's great uncle, Oscar winner Charles Previn, was music director at Universal Studios. The family has changed names and is now called Previn. André became a naturalized citizen. His father had been a lawyer and judge in Berlin, but in America he earned a living as a piano teacher.

"My father could not practice law because he did not know the language, I never realized that it was much later that he was really a hero," Previn said. The Guardian. "He left Germany, had no money, did not speak the language, had a family and yet he managed to get by."

The music department of MGM heard the musical arrangements of the young Previn for a local radio show and offered him a job. announces its first film as the drama of the 1946 film noir Undercurrent, with Katharine Hepburn and Robert Mitchum.

As musical supervisor, music director, conductor, composer and / or musical arranger, Previn then worked on films such as Act of violence (1948), Crime scene (1949), Incident at the border (1949), Kiss me Kate (1953) Kismet (1955) It's always nice weather (1955) Bad day at Black Rock (1955) The catering business (1956), Silk stockings (1957), Bells are ringing (1960) and Long day at night (1962).

In 1967, Previn was appointed musical director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. The following year, he was appointed head of the London Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 1979. He is also musical director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London and director. Los Angeles Philharmonic. .

After leaving the MGM, he was particularly interested in the career of symphonic conductor. Previn continued his activities in the film industry as a music leader / supervisor. My beautiful lady (1964), as a composer The fortune cookie (1966), as a scorer of musical numbers on Completely modern millie (1967), as a composer Music lovers (1970) and as conductor Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) and Rollerball (1975).

In 1969, Previn creates the music of the musical directed by Tony coconut, in collaboration with Alan Jay Lerner, who wrote the lyrics and the book. A decade earlier, he had contributed to Broadway magazine A party With Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

Previn also wrote two operas. In 1995, he made music for an adaptation of Tennessee Williams A streetcar named desire and directed during his San Francisco Opera debut in 1998. And in 2009, Previn created the music for A brief meeting, based on Noel Coward Still life.

Previn and his fifth wife, German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, also collaborated frequently, perhaps in a particularly memorable way on the 2001 album. The Violin Concerto ("Anne-Sophie"), recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. (They were married in 2002, when he was 72 and she was 39, only to divorce four years later.)

Previn has received six Emmy nominations, the first in 1961 for his work on The Donald O 'Connor Show. His PBS issue Previn and Pittsburgh got names in 1977 and 1978 for his outstanding achievements in musical direction.

In 1996, Previn was named Honorary Knight of the Order of the British Empire. Two years later, he received an honor from the Kennedy Center for his contributions to classical music and opera.

"I am very conscious of my luck now," Previn said during an interview in July 2015. "When I started composing, no one wanted to know. Now, if I write a piece and let some orchestras and soloists know that I wrote it, they all want to do it. … it does not matter whether it's new or old or anything. It's just a piece of music they did not play, which is really the healthiest thing in the world. "

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