Birthday: April 6, 1929
Died At Age: 89
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: André George Previn, Andreas Ludwig Priwin
Born Country: Germany
Born in: Berlin, Germany
Famous as: Pianist
Spouse/Ex-: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Betty Bennett, Dory Previn, Heather Mary Hales, Mia Farrow
father: Jack Previn
mother: Charlotte Epstein
siblings: Leonore Previn, Steve Previn, Steve Previn and Leonore Previn
children: Alicia Previn, Claudia Previn, Daisy Previn, Fletcher Previn, Lark Previn, Li-An Mary, Lukas Alexander, Matthew Previn, Sascha Previn, Soon-Yi Previn
Died on: February 28, 2019
place of death: Manhattan, New York, United States
Notable Alumni: Conservatoire De Paris Alumni
Ancestry: German Americans, Polish Americans, Polish German
City: Berlin, Germany
education: Conservatoire de Paris alumni
Who was André Previn?
Andre Previn, born as Andreas Ludwig Priwin, is a world-renowned German-American musician. He’s an award-winning composer, a highly sought-after conductor of the world's popular orchestras, recording artist, classical and jazz pianist as well as an author and an educator. He has won ten Grammy Awards for his musical work and four Academy Awards for his contributions to films. Born as the youngest child of a wealthy Jewish family in Germany, Previn was inclined towards music from a young age. His father, who was himself an accomplished amateur pianist, enrolled him at the Berlin Conservatory of Music when he was six years old. Previn later attended Paris Conservatory of Music until his family immigrated to the United States in 1939 to escape the Nazis. He made his debut as a conductor in 1963 with the St. Louis (Mo.) Symphony and later went on to conduct a number of prestigious orchestras including Houston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Endowed with a magnitude of talents, the musician has also had a long relationship with television. He has been featured in a number of TV programs and shows, including London Weekend Television’s ‘Meet André Previn,’ ‘Call My Bluff,’ and ‘Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show,’ to name a few. On a personal note, Previn has been married five times and has ten children.
Childhood & Early Life
Andre Previn was born on April 6, 1929 in Berlin, Germany to Charlotte and Jack Previn, an attorney and music teacher. He had two siblings: brother Steve Previn, a well-known television director, and Leonore Previn.
At the age of six, he began attending Berlin Conservatory of Music. In 1938, he, along with his family, left Nazi Germany and fled to Paris, France where he studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music.
The family soon relocated to Los Angeles. He eventually became a naturalized citizen of USA in 1943. There, he studied at Beverly Hills High School and graduated from there in 1946.
To make ends meet, Previn gave music lessons at home. He also studied piano, composition and theory from the best instructors available, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Joseph Achron.
In 1951 and 1952, while performing his military service at the Presidio of San Francisco, he took private conducting lessons from popular French conductor Pierre Monteux.
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Andre Previn first came to prominence in 1948 when he began arranging and composing Hollywood movie scores. During the 1950s, he made dozens of jazz recordings, both as a leader and a sideman.
He released numerous albums of jazz interpretations of tracks from Broadway musicals as well as a number of solo piano recordings focussing on songbooks of famous composers including ‘Pal Joey’ (1957), ‘Gigi’ (1958), ‘King Size’ (1959), and ‘West Side Story’ (1959), ‘André Previn Plays Songs by Vernon Duke (1958),’ and ‘André Previn Plays Songs by Jerome Kern’ (1959).
His career flourished during the late 1950s and early 1960s through musical hits that Previn adapted from the theatrical stage for movies, and original scores he conducted and composed for other musicals and dramas.
During the early 1960s, he continued releasing his jazz albums, such as ‘Like Previn’ (1960), ‘André Previn Plays Songs by Harold Arlen’ (1960), and ‘Irma la Douce’ (1963).
His life changed considerably when he was appointed the music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 1968, the German-American musician began his tenure as the principal conductor of London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). During his LSO tenure, he would often appear on television programs to talk about music.
His performance as "Mr. Andrew Preview" in the 1971 ‘Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show,’ which involved him conducting Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto as the comically inept soloist earned him much recognition in Britain.
In the 1970s, Previn also toured throughout USA and Europe with LSO and became famous for his interpretations of Russian and British symphonic works.
From 1976 to 1984, he served as the music director for Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and later joined Royal Philharmonic Orchestra where he served until 1991.
In 1985, he began serving at the Los Angeles Philharmonic as a music director. Although his tenure with the orchestra was satisfactory from a professional view, other conductors including Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kurt Sanderling did a better job at selling out concerts.
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Previn also continued with his jazz recordings and released many albums over the years, including ‘After Hours’, ‘Uptown’, ‘Old Friends’, ‘Kiri Sidetracks: The Jazz Album’, ‘What Headphones’, ‘André Previn and Friends Play Show Boat’, ‘Jazz at the Musikverein’ and ‘Live at the Jazz Standard’.
His compositions in the 1980s and 1990s included ‘Triolet for Brass,’ ‘Sonata for Cello and Piano,’ ‘Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon,’ and ‘Sonata for Bassoon and Piano.’
He composed ‘Ten by Yeats,’ a setting of WB Yeats' poetry for piano and soprano that premiered in 2017. A year later, he collaborated with Anne-Sophie Mütter (his fifth wife) for ‘The Fifth Season,’ the world premiere of his violin sonata.
In 2019, Previn teamed up with Tom Stoppard on a monodrama. His highly anticipated concert, 'Concerto for Orchestra,' will premiere during the 2020/21 season in celebration of Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra's 100th Anniversary.
As a composer, Andre Previn has composed numerous jazz pieces and contemporary classical music works alongside several film scores. Among the most notable films he composed music for are the musical ‘It's Always Fair Weather’ (1955) and ‘Paint Your Wagon’ (1969).
Family & Personal Life
Andre Previn has been married five times till date. His first marriage was to singer Betty Bennett. The couple had two daughters, Claudia and Alicia, before separating in 1957.
In 1959, Previn married singer-songwriter Dory Langan. The two collaborated on numerous movie scores during their marriage. Previn eventually divorced Langan in the year 1969 while she was hospitalized for a mental breakdown.
His third marriage was to Mia Farrow in 1970. Before their divorce in 1979, the couple had three biological kids—twins Sascha and Matthew born in 1970, and Fletcher who was born in 1974. They later adopted Vietnamese infants Lark and Summer Song, followed by a Korean child named Soon-Yi Previn.
In 1982, Previn went on to marry Heather Sneddon, with whom he had his longest marriage. With Sneddon, he had two kids, Li-An Mary, adopted, and Lukas Alexander, who was born in 1983. This marriage ended in 2002.
His fifth marriage was to violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in 2002. They divorced in 2006, but continued to work together in concerts.
Previn is the father-in-law of American director Woody Allen who is married to his daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Woody Allen was also once in a relationship with Previn's third wife, Mia Farrow.