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André George Previn, KBE (born Andreas Ludwig Prewin; April 6, 1929) is a German-American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings (and one more for his Lifetime Achievement).
- 1 Early life
- 2 Work as a pianist
- 3 Work as a conductor
- 4 Compositions
- 4.1 Catalog raisonné
- 4.2 Opera
- 4.3 Theater
- 4.4 Orchestral music (selection)
- 4.5 Chamber music (selection)
- 4.6 Solo piano music (selection)
- 4.7 Songs and song cycles
- 4.8 Film scores (selection)
- 4.9 Notable jazz and pop songs (from soundtracks or jazz records – selection)
- 5 Recordings
- 6 Television
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Awards and recognitions
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Previn was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Charlotte (née Epstein) and Jack Previn, who was a lawyer, judge, and music teacher. He is said to be "a distant relative of" the composer Gustav Mahler. However, In a pre-concert public interview at the Lincoln Center, in May 2012, Previn laughed at the suggestion that he is related to Mahler. The year of his birth is uncertain. Whilst most published reports give 1929, Previn himself has stated that 1930 is his birth year.
In 1939, his family, being Jewish, had to leave Nazi Germany and moved to Los Angeles, where his great-uncle, Charles Previn, was music director of Universal Studios. André grew up in Los Angeles and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1943. At Previn's 1946 graduation from Beverly Hills High School he played a musical duet with Richard M. Sherman; Previn played the piano, accompanying Sherman (who played flute). He first came to prominence by arranging and composing Hollywood film scores in 1948. Coincidentally, in 1964, both composers won Oscars for different films, both winning in musical categories.
Work as a pianist
In the mid-to-late 1950s, and more recently, Previn toured and recorded as a jazz pianist. In the 1950s, mainly recording for Contemporary Records, he worked with Shelly Manne, Leroy Vinnegar, Benny Carter, and others. An album he recorded with Manne and Vinnegar of songs from My Fair Lady was a best-seller (see My Fair Lady (Shelly Manne album)). As a solo jazz pianist, Previn largely devoted himself to interpreting the works of major songwriters such as Jerome Kern (recorded in 1959), Frederick Loewe, Vernon Duke (recorded in 1958), and Harold Arlen (recorded in 1960). Previn made two albums with Dinah Shore as arranger, conductor, and accompanist in 1960, and another, "Duet", with Doris Day in 1961. He made appearances on The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford as well as The Dinah Shore Chevy Show. He collaborated with Julie Andrews on a collection of Christmas carols in 1966, focusing on rarely heard carols. This popular album has been reissued many times over the years and is now available on CD. His main influences as a jazz pianist include Art Tatum, Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, and Horace Silver. Previn's more recent work also shows the influence of Bill Evans. Previn has recorded solo classical piano compositions by Mozart, Gershwin, Poulenc, Shostakovich, an album for RCA with violinist Erick Friedman of the Franck and Debussy violin sonatas, and many chamber works for piano.
Work as a conductor
In 1967, Previn succeeded John Barbirolli as music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 1968, he began his tenure as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), serving in that post until 1979. During his LSO tenure, he and the LSO appeared on the BBC Television programme André Previn's Music Night. From 1976 to 1984, he was music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and, in turn, had another television series with the PSO entitled Previn and the Pittsburgh. He was also principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1985 to 1988.
In 1985, he became music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Although Previn's tenure with the orchestra was deemed satisfactory from a professional perspective, other conductors including Kurt Sanderling, Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, did a better job at selling out concerts. Previn clashed frequently with Ernest Fleischmann (the orchestra's Executive VP and General Manager), most notably when Fleischmann failed to consult him before naming Salonen as Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra, complete with a tour of Japan. Because of Previn's objections, Salonen's title and Japanese tour were withdrawn; however, shortly thereafter, in April 1989, Previn resigned. Four months later, Salonen was named Music Director Designate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, officially taking the post of Music Director in October 1992.
Previn has composed film scores (including many songs), jazz pieces and contemporary classical music. His earliest compositions known at least by name/type are student works from the mid-1940s (a clarinet sonata, a string quartet, a rhapsody for violin and orchestra and some art songs). They were written at the same time as he did his first work for the movies (1946) and his first jazz recordings (1945).
In Hollywood between 1946 and 1969, Previn also worked extensively as an adapter, winning his four Academy Awards (out of 13 nominations) for works in this category: Gigi (Original score by Frederick Loewe for the film), Porgy and Bess (stage-to-film adaptation of George Gershwins opera score), Irma la Douce (related to the music score of Marguerite Monnot, but not as a stage-to-film adaptation becoming a musical film) and My Fair Lady (stage-to-film adaptation of Fredrick Loewes musical score). While working as an adapter, Previn regularly modified the original compositions. At times, he was adding some own music, orchestrating, conducting and playing piano, too. So in saying that Previn worked as an adapter means that he was heavily involved in those films on every level of his versatile musicianship as a composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor and pianist.
In later years, he has concentrated on composing contemporary classical music. In this field, Previn's works as a composer "combine expressionistic harmony with a strong tendency towards tonality. They are rhythmic and metrically complex, marvelously orchestrated, and include flashes of idioms associated with jazz and symphonic film music. Despite the crossover appeal that Previn's art music provokes in the ears of many commentators, Previn does not see himself as a postmodern musician, trying to mix musical styles and elements to create new kinds of aesthetic experiences." For example, he collaborated with Tom Stoppard on Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a play with substantial musical content, which was first performed in London in 1977 with Previn conducting the LSO. His first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, premiered at the San Francisco Opera in 1998. It quickly developed into one of the most widely played contemporary operas. His second opera, Brief Encounter, based on the 1945 movie of the same name, was premiered at Houston Grand Opera on May 1, 2009. His numerous other contemporary classical works include vocal, chamber, and orchestral music. His contemporary classical music was premiered by artists like Vladimir Ashkenazy, Janet Baker, Yuri Bashmet, Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Itzhak Perlman, John Williams, the Emerson String Quartet, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. The closest working relationships with regard to Previn's contemporary classical music are with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, having premiered six works between 2001 and 2012, and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, having premiered (as an ensemble or with smaller groups or soloists from its ranks) nine works between 1996 and 2012.
For a full catalog raisonné containing the dates, places and participants of premieres as well as the names and sources for lost works (especially the early chamber and orchestral music), abandoned works (like the opera Silk or the film score to Goodbye, Mr. Chips), rejected works (like the film score to See No Evil) and withdrawn works (like the Cello Concerto No. 1) see Frédéric Döhl: André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung, Stuttgart 2012, p. 279-294.
- A Streetcar Named Desire (1997, premiered in San Francisco in 1998)
- Brief Encounter (2007, premiered in Houston in 2009)
- A Party with Betty Comden & Adolph Green (1958) – a revue with Previn as featured songwriter
- Coco (premiered in New York 1969) – a musical with words by Alan Jay Lerner
- The Good Companions (premiered in London 1974) – a musical with a book by Ronald Harwood and lyrics by Johnny Mercer
- Incidental Music for Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (premiered in London 1977) – a play for actors and orchestra with words by Tom Stoppard
Orchestral music (selection)
- Overture to a Comedy (premiered in Los Angeles in 1963)
- Cello Concerto No. 1 (premiered in Houston in 1968)
- Guitar Concerto (premiered in London, United Kingdom, in 1971)
- Principals for Orchestra (premiered in Pittsburgh in 1980)
- Reflections for Cor anglais, Cello and Orchestra (premiered in Saratoga Springs in 1981)
- Piano Concerto (premiered in London, United Kingdom, in 1985)
- Diversions for Orchestra (premiered in Salzburg, Austria, in 2000)
- Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie" (premiered in Boston in 2002)
- Night Thoughts for Orchestra (premiered in Sacramento in 2006)
- Concerto for Violin, Double Bass and Orchestra (premiered in Boston in 2007)
- Harp Concerto (premiered in Pittsburgh in 2007)
- Owls for Orchestra (premiered in Boston in 2008)
- Concerto for Violin, Viola and Orchestra (premiered in New York in 2009)
- Cello Concerto No. 2 (premiered in Leizig, Germany, 2011)
- Triple Concerto for French Horn, Trumpet and Tuba (premiered in Pittsburgh in 2012)
- Music for Boston for Orchestra (premiered in Tanglewood in 2012)
- Concerto for Violin and Strings (premiered in Trondheim, Norway, in 2012)
Chamber music (selection)
- Violin Sonata No. 1 (ca. 1960, possibly rejected by the composer)
- Four Outings for Brass (premiered in London in 1974)
- Two Little Serenades for Violin and Piano (premiered in New York in 1974)
- Peaches for Flute and Piano (ca. 1978)
- Triolet for Brass (ca. 1985)
- A Wedding Waltz for 2 Oboes and Piano (ca. 1986)
- Sonata for Cello and Piano (premiered in Amsterdam in 1993)
- Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon (premiered in New York in 1996)
- Sonata (No. 2) Vineyard for Violin and Piano (written in 1994, premiered in New York in 1996)
- Sonata for Bassoon and Piano (premiered in New York in 1999)
- Tango, Song and Dance, for Violin and Piano (premiered in Luzern, Switzerland, in 2001)
- String Quartet with Soprano (premiered in New York in 2003)
- Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello (premiered in New York in 2009)
- Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (premiered in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2010)
- Octet for Eleven (premiered in Boston in 2010)
- Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet (premiered in Boston in 2011)
- Trio (No. 2) for Piano, Violin and Cello (premiered in New York in 2012)
- Sonata (No. 3, publ. as "No. 2") for Violin and Piano (written in 2011; scheduled premieres in Essen and at Tanglewood in 2012 were cancelled due to illness; new world premiere is scheduled for December 14, 2013, in New York, with an August 2014 performance due at the Salzburg Festival)
Solo piano music (selection)
- Impressions for Piano (20 pieces for students) (ca. 1964)
- Paraphrase on a Theme of William Walton (premiered in London, United Kingdom, in 1973)
- Invisible Drummer. Five Preludes (premiered in Liverpool, United Kingdom, in 1974)
- Five Pages from My Calendar (ca. 1978)
- Matthew's Piano Book (10 pieces for students) (ca. 1979)
- Variations on a Theme by Haydn (ca. 1990)
Songs and song cycles
- Five Songs, Texts by Philip Larkin (premiered in London, United Kingdom, in 1977)
- Honey and Rue for Soprano, Jazz Band and Orchestra, Texts by Toni Morrison (premiered in New York in 1992)
- Sallie Chisum Remembers Billy the Kid, Texts by Michael Ondaatje (premiered in Tanglewood in 1994)
- Four Songs, Texts by Toni Morrison (premiered in New York in 1994)
- Vocalise (premiered in Tanglewood in 1995)
- Three Dickinson Songs, Texts by Emily Dickinson (premiered in Quebec, Canada, in 1999)
- The Giraffes Go to Hamburg, Text by Karen Blixen (premiered in Newark in 2000)
- Four Songs, Texts by Philip Larkin and William Carlos Williams (premiered in New York in 2004)
- Sieben Lieder (Seven Songs), Texts by Theodor Storm (US premiere in San Francisco in 2006)
Film scores (selection)
- The Sun Comes Up (1949)
- Tension (1950)
- The Girl Who Had Everything (1953)
- Bad Day at Black Rock (1954)
- It's Always Fair Weather (1955)
- Invitation to the Dance (1956 – original music for scene two, Ring Around the Rosy, by Previn)
- Designing Woman (1957)
- Elmer Gantry (1960)
- The Subterraneans (1960)
- All in a Night's Work (1961)
- The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1961)
- One, two, three (1961)
- Long Day's Journey into Night (1962)
- Two for the Seesaw (1962)
- Dead Ringer (1964)
- Kiss Me, Stupid (1965)
- Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
Adaptation of original scores or songs by others
- The Secret Garden (1949) – adaptation of Bronislau Kaper's music
- Three Little Words (1950) – based on songs by composer Harry Ruby
- Gigi (1958) – adaptation of Frederick Loewe's original music for the film
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) – based on songs by composers Harry Akst, Zez Confrey, Benny Davis, George Gershwin, Georg Friedrich Handel, James F. Hanley, Jimmy Van Heusen, Raymond Hubbell, M.K. Jerome, Sylvia Neufeld, Jay Thompson and Harry Warren, with additional incidental music by Elmer Bernstein
Adaptation for film of stage musical or opera by others
- Kiss Me, Kate (1953) – after Porter's musical
- Kismet (1953) – after Wright's/Forrest's musical
- Silk Stockings (1957) – after Porter's musical
- Porgy and Bess (1959) – after Gershwin's opera
- Bells Are Ringing (1960) – after Styne's musical
- Irma la Douce (1963) – after Monnot's Musical
- My Fair Lady (1964) – after Loewe's musical
- Paint Your Wagon (1969) – after [[Paint Your Wagon (musical)|Loewe's music, also additional music for new songs written with Alan Jay Lerner]]
- Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) – after Lloyd Webber's musical
Adaptation for film of classical music by others
- The Music Lovers (1970) – arrangement of Peter Tchaikovsky's music
- Rollerball (1975) – arrangement of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Peter Tchaikovsky (with some original music by Previn: Executive Party and Executive Party Dance)
Notable jazz and pop songs (from soundtracks or jazz records – selection)
- Like Young, text of vocal version: Paul Francis Webster (1959, for Previn's record Like Young. Secret Songs for Young Lovers – recorded amongst others by Ella Fitzgerald and Perry Como)
- Why Are We Afraid?, text of vocal version: Dory Previn (1960, for The Subterraneans – recorded amongst others by André Previn (for the soundtrack) and Art Pepper)
- The Faraway Part of Town and That's How It Went, All Right, texts by Dory Previn (1960, for Pepe – The Faraway Part of Town was performed by Judy Garland in the movie, Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Song of 1960; That's How It Went, All Right was performed by Bobby Darin in the movie, with Previn at the piano on screen)
- A Second Chance, text by Dory Previn (1962, for Two for the Seesaw, Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Song of 1962)
- You're Gonna Hear from Me, The Circus Is a Wacky World, text by Dory Previn (1965, for Inside Daisy Clover – You're Gonna Hear From Me recorded among others by Shirley Bassey, Bill Evans (twice), Ella Fitzgerald, André Previn (twice), Diana Ross and the Supremes, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Stanley Turrentine, Scott Walker and Andy Williams)
- Livin' alone, text of vocal version: Dory Previn (1966, for Harper – recorded amongst others by André Previn (for the soundtrack))
- (Theme from) Valley of the Dolls, It's Impossible, Come Live with Me, I'll Plant My Own Tree and Give a Little More, texts by Dory Previn (1967, for Valley of the Dolls – (Theme from) Valley of the Dolls recorded amongst others by Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles)
- The First Thing You Know, A Million Miles Away Behind the Door, The Gospel of No Name City, Best Things and Gold Fever, texts by Alan Jay Lerner (1969, for Paint Your Wagon)
Previn's discography contains hundreds of recordings in film, jazz, classical music and contemporary classical music. Because of the huge number of recordings, the following lists are necessarily highly selective. A full discography (including LP/CD record codes) is available in Frédéric Döhl: André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung, Stuttgart 2012, p. 295-319.
See the list of films above. Most films are still available as Videos/DVDs or/and as soundtrack records, at least antiquarian. Some soundtracks have been reissued in recent years like the ones from Elmer Gantry, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or Inside Daisy Clover.
Previn has made dozens of jazz recordings as leader and sideman, primarily in two periods of his career: from 1945 to 1967, and then again from 1989 to 2001, with just a handful recordings in between and afterwards (while he focused his career on conducting/recording classical music, and later on composing contemporary art music). Previn did several crossover recordings with classical singers like Eileen Farrell, Leontyne Price or Kiri Te Kanawa, too, as well as several Easy-Listening records with piano and orchestra in the 1960s (beginning with Like Young. Secret Songs for Young Lovers, 1959. with David Rose and His Orchestra).
Like Oscar Peterson, whom Previn admires a lot, and Bill Evans – or more recently Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau or Esbjörn Svensson – Previn has worked a lot as a trio pianist (usually with bass and drums). But besides his greatest hit record in Jazz (Shelly Manne & His Friends. Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from My Fair Lady, 1956, with Leroy Vinnegar and Shelly Manne), his fine abilities are displayed arguably best in his four solo piano recordings (André Previn Plays Songs by Vernon Duke, 1958; André Previn Plays That Old Black Magic, Come Rain or Come Shine, Stormy Weather, Over the Rainbow and Other Wonderful Songs by Harold Arlen, 1960; Ballads. Solo Jazz Standards, 1996; Alone: Ballads for Solo Piano, 2007), the late recording of songs by Harold Arlen with singer Sylvia McNair and bass player David Finck (Come Rain or Shine. The Harold Arlen Songbook, 1996), and his TV shows with Oscar Peterson (1974) – which Marlon Brando simply called "one of the greatest hours I ever saw on television" – and Ella Fitzgerald (1979) respectively.
Jazz critic and historian Ted Gioia wrote in his book about West Coast Jazz, the scene to which Previn belonged: "[His] projects varied greatly in terms of quality and jazz content, but at his best Previn could be a persuasive, moving jazz musician. [...] Despite his deep roots in symphonic music, Previn largely steered clear of Third Stream classicism in his jazz work, aiming more at an earthy, hard-swinging piano style at times reminiscent of Horace Silver. Long before his eventual retreat from his jazz work, Previn had become something of a popularizer of jazz rather than a serious practitioner of the music. At his best, however, his music reflected a strong indigenous feel for the jazz idiom."
And Dizzy Gillespie has stated: "He has the flow, you know, which a lot of guys don't have and won't ever get. Yeah. I heard him play and I knew. A lot of guys, they have the technique, the harmonic sense. They've got the perfect coordination. And, yeah, all that's necessary. But you need something more, you know? Even if you only make an oooooooo, like that, you got to have the flow."
- Shelly Manne & His Friends. Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from My Fair Lady (1956, with Leroy Vinnegar and Shelly Manne)
- Double Play! (1957, with Russ Freeman and Shelly Manne)
- André Previn & His Pals. Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from Pal Joey (1957, with Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne)
- André Previn & His Pals. Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from Gigi (1958, with Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne)
- André Previn Plays Songs by Vernon Duke (1958)
- Shelly Manne & His Friends. Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from Bells Are Ringing (1959, with Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne)
- André Previn Plays Songs by Jerome Kern (1959)
- King Size! (1959, with Red Mitchell and Frank Capp)
- André Previn & His Pals. West Side Story (1959, with Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne)
- Like Previn! (1960, with Red Mitchell and Frank Capp)
- André Previn Plays That Old Black Magic, Come Rain or Come Shine, Stormy Weather, Over the Rainbow and Other Wonderful Songs by Harold Arlen (1960)
- André Previn and J.J. Johnson Play Mack the Knife and Bilboa Song and Other Music from the Threepenny Opera, Happy End, Mahagonny (1961, with J.J. Johnson, Red Mitchell and Frank Capp)
- Duet (1962, with Doris Day, Red Mitchell and Frank Capp)
- A Different Kind of Blues (1980, with Itzhak Perlman, Jim Hall, Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne)
- Nice Work if You Can Get It (1983, with Ella Fitzgerald and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen)
- After Hours (1989, with Joe Pass and Ray Brown)
- Uptown (1990, with Mundell Lowe and Ray Brown)
- Old Friends (1992, with Mundell Lowe and Ray Brown)
- Kiri Sidetracks: The Jazz Album (1992, with Kiri Te Kanawa, Mundell Lowe and Ray Brown)
- André Previn and Friends Play Show Boat (1995, with Mundell Lowe, Ray Brown and Grady Tate)
- Sure Thing. The Jerome Kern Songbook (1996, with Sylvia McNair and David Finck)
- Ballads. Solo Jazz Standards (1996)
- Come Rain or Shine. The Harold Arlen Songbook (1996, with Sylvia McNair and David Finck)
- Jazz at the Musikverein (1997, with Mundell Lowe and Ray Brown)
- We Got Rhythm. A Gershwin Songbook (1998, with David Finck)
- We Got It Good and That Ain't Bad. An Ellington Songbook (1999, with David Finck)
- Live at the Jazz Standard (2001, with David Finck)
- Alone: Ballads for Solo Piano (2007)
Classical music (as conductor and/or pianist – selection)
Chamber music / solo piano music
As in Jazz, Previn, the classical pianist, worked most of the time as a trio pianist (with violin and cello) in classical chamber music. Accordingly, most of his recordings as pianist are in this genre.
- Samuel Barber: Four Excursions, Paul Hindemith: Piano Sonata No. 3, Frank Martin: Prelude No. 7 (1961)
- Gabriel Fauré: Piano Trio D-minor op. 120, Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Trio D-minor op. 120 (1964, with Nathan Roth and Joseph Schuster)
- Serge Rachmaninoff: Music for Two Pianos. Suite Nr. 1 op. 5, Suite Nr. 2 op. 17, Symphonic Dances op. 45 (1974, with Vladimir Ashkenazy)
- Maurice Ravel: Piano Trio A-minor, Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2 E-minor op. 67 (1974, with Kim Young Uck and Ralph Kirshbaum)
- Claude Debussy: Piano Trio G-major, Maurice Ravel: Piano Trio A-minor (1995, with Julie Rosenfeld and Gary Hoffmann)
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Trio No. 7 B flat-major op. 97, Johannes Brahms: Piano Trio B-major op. 8 (1995, with Viktoria Mullova and Heinrich Schiff)
- American Scenes. André Previn: Sonata for Violin and Piano "Vineyard", George Gershwin: Three Preludes, Aaron Copland: Sonata for Violin and Piano, Nocturne, Samuel Barber: Canzone (Elegy) op. 38a (1998, with Gil Shaham)
Orchestral music / concertos / ballets
Previn's recording repertoire as a conductor is focused on the standards of classical and romantic music, with notable exceptions like Anton Bruckner, most of Gustav Mahler and opera in general, instead favoring the symphonic music of contemporaries like Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms and Richard Strauss and with a special emphasis on violin and piano concertos and ballets. Just very few recordings deal with music before Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (both favourites of Previn's programmes) or contemporary avant-garde art music based on atonality, minimalism, serialism, stochastic music etc. Instead, in 20th-century music Previn's repertoire highlights specific composers of late romanticism and modernism like Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten, George Gershwin, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Serge Prokofiev, Serge Rachmaninoff, Maurice Ravel, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton.
His recordings of works by Gershwin, Korngold (especially the Violin Concerto in D major op. 35, which he recorded three times with Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham and Anne-Sophie Mutter), Prokofiev (esp. the 5 piano concertos with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the LSO, Romeo and Juliet op. 64 with the LSO, and the Symphonies 1 and 5, the score to Alexander Nevsky, and the Symphony-Concerto for Cello & Orchestra with Heinrich Schiff as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic), Rachmaninoff (esp. the Symphony No. 2 E minor op. 27 and The Bells op. 35), Shostakovich, Richard Strauss (esp. the recordings of all tone poems with the Vienna Philharmonic) Tchaikowsky (esp. the three ballets Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker), Vaughan Williams and Walton (esp. the Symphony No. 1 B-flat minor and Belshazzar's Feast) have been particularly prized.
Contemporary classical music (recordings of Previn's own compositions – selection)
- Guitar Concerto (1972, with John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra)
- Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1978, with the London Symphony Orchestra)
- Piano Concerto and Guitar Concerto (1990, with Vladimir Ashkenazy, Eduardo Fernandez and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)
- Honey and Rue (1995, with Kathleen Battle and the Orchestra of St. Luke's)
- "From Ordinary Things": Sonata for Cello and Piano; Four Songs for Soprano, Cello and Piano; Two Remembrances for Soprano, Alto Flute and Piano; Vocalise for Soprano, Cello and Piano (1997, with Sylvia McNair, Yo-Yo Ma and Sandra Church)
- Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon (1997, with Cynthia Koledo de Almeida and Nancy Goeres)
- "Music of André Previn": Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon, Peaches for Flute and Piano, Triolet for Brass, Variations on a Theme by Haydn for Piano, A Wedding Waltz for Two Oboes and Piano (1998, with the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble)
- "American Scenes": Sonata for Violin and Piano "Vineyard" (1998, with Gil Shaham)
- A Streetcar Named Desire (1998; with Renée Fleming, Elizabeth Futral, Rodney Gilfry, Anthony Dean Griffey, San Francisco Opera Orchestra)
- "Diversions – Songs": Diversions; Sallie Chisum Remembers Billy the Kid; Vocalise; The Giraffes Go to Hamburg; Three Dickinson Songs (2001, with Renée Fleming, Barbara Bonney, Moray Welsh, Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra)
- Tango Song and Dance (2003, Anne-Sophie Mutter)
- Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie" (2003, with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Boston Symphony Orchestra)
- Double Concerto for Violin, Contrabass and Orchestra; Piano Concerto; Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie"; Three Dickinson Songs; Diversions; "I Can Smell The Sea Air" from A Streetcar Named Desire (2009, with Renée Fleming, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Roman Patkolo, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera Orchestra)
- Brief Encounter (2011, with Elizabeth Futral, Nathan Gunn, Kim Josephson, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Patrick Summers)
Previn became known to a broad public through his television work. In the United Kingdom he worked on TV with the London Symphony Orchestra. In the United States the TV show "Previn and the Pittsburgh" (1977) featured him in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Previn is particularly remembered in Britain for his performance as "Mr. Andrew Preview" (or "Privet") on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show in 1971, which involved his conducting a performance of Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto with Eric Morecambe as the comically inept soloist. At one point during the sketch "Mr Preview" accuses Eric Morecambe of playing all the wrong notes; Eric retorts that he has been playing "all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order". Because of other commitments the only time available for Previn to learn his part in the show was during a transatlantic flight but the talent he showed for comedy won high praise from his co-performers. At a concert with the Grieg Concerto in Britain afterwards, Previn had to pause the playing to allow the audience time to stop giggling as they remembered the sketch. Previn himself notes that people in Britain still recall the sketch years later: "Taxi drivers still call me Mr Preview".
Previn has been married five times. His first marriage was to jazz singer Betty Bennett (with whom he had two daughters, Claudia Previn Stasny and Alicia 'Lovely' Previn who was violinist for the Irish band In Tua Nua).
His second marriage to Dory Langan (better known as Dory Previn, the singer/songwriter) was childless.
His third marriage was to Mia Farrow. Previn and Farrow had three children together, twins Matthew and Sascha, born 1970, and Fletcher, born 1974. They then adopted Vietnamese infants Lark Song and Summer "Daisy" Song (born October 6, 1974). Lark died on Christmas Day of 2008. He is also the adoptive father of Soon-Yi Previn, who was adopted from Korea at age 8 (born October 8, 1970). Soon-Yi was initially called "Soon-Yi Farrow Previn" being co-adopted by Mia Farrow, until later dropping the Farrow surname. In the aftermath of the scandal involving Soon-Yi and Mia Farrow's partner Woody Allen, Previn has been quoted as saying about Soon-Yi: "She does not exist."
His fourth marriage was to Heather Sneddon in 1982. With Heather he had two children, Li-An Mary, adopted 1982 and Lukas Alexander, born 1983. Previn wrote a brief memoir of his early years in Hollywood, No Minor Chords, which was published in 1991, edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and dedicated to Heather. This marriage ended after 20 years in 2002.
Awards and recognitions
Previn has received a total of thirteen Academy Award nominations, winning in 1958, 1959, 1963 and 1964. He is one of few composers to accomplish the feat of winning back-to-back Oscars, and one of only two to do so on two occasions (the other being Alfred Newman). In 1970 he was nominated for a Tony Award as part of Coco's nomination for Best Musical. In 1977 he became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music. The 1977 television show Previn and the Pittsburgh was nominated for three Emmy awards. Previn was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1996. (Not being a citizen of a Commonwealth Realm, he may use only the post-nominal letters KBE and not the title "Sir André".) Previn received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 in recognition of his contributions to classical music and opera in the United States. In 2005 he was awarded the international Glenn Gould Prize and in 2008 won Gramophone magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in classical, film, and jazz music. In 2010, the Recording Academy honored Previn with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
- Best Music – Scoring of a Musical Picture
- Best Score – Adaptation or Treatment
- 2010 André Previn
- 1974 William Walton: Belshazzar's Feast with the London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
- 1977 Rachmaninoff: The Bells with the London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
- 1961 West Side Story
- 1962 André Previn Plays That Old Black Magic, Come Rain or Come Shine, Stormy Weather, Over the Rainbow and Other Wonderful Songs by Harold Arlen
- Stephen Moss (June 6, 2005). "Baton charged". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- "Andre Previn Biography (1930-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- André Previn Video | Celebrity Interview and Paparazzi, Ovguide, Undated..Accessed 15 February 2012.
- Previn mentioned in the liner notes of the programme printed for his appearance as guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra during the 2006–07 season that his year of birth is 1930, and not 1929 as many sources claim.
- Canarina J. Pierre Monteux, Maître. Amadeus Press, Pompton Plains, Cambridge, 2003, p204-5.
- Conductors, London Symphony Orchestra website.Accessed 15 February 2012.
- Bernheimer, Martin (October 8, 1989). "The Tyrant of Philharmonic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
- Frédéric Döhl, André Previn, in: Charles Hiroshi Garrett (Ed.): New Grove Dictionary of American Music. 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, New York 2012.
- Michael Billington (January 19, 2009). "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- Frédéric Döhl: Movie for the stage? Zu André Previns Opern, in: Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 69/1 (2012), p. 55.
- "Previn's publisher G. Schirmer announced this Violin Sonate as "No. 2", but there is an earlier third Violin Sonata from around 1960 (like other early compositions possibly rejected by the composer in later years), see Frédéric Döhl, André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung, Stuttgart 2012, p. 285, 292". Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- "Triumph für die Überfliegerin" [Triumph for the overachiever]. Recklinghäuser Zeitung (in German). 4 July 2012.
- "Anne-Sophie Mutter & Lambert Orkis - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 8:00 PM | Boston Symphony Orchestra". bso.org. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Anne-Sophie Mutter - Lambert Orkis - Saturday, December 14, 2013". Carnegie Hall. 2012-01-20. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Frédéric Döhl: André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung, Stuttgart 2012, p. 127.
- "Oscar Peterson and Andre Previn Part 1". YouTube. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- As quoted in Frédéric Döhl: André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung, Stuttgart 2012, p. 16.
- "Ella Fitzgerald in concert 1979 last part (6)". YouTube. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Ted Gioia, West Coast Jazz. Modern Jazz in California, 1945–1960, Berkeley 1998, p. 278 – as quoted in Frédéric Döhl: André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung, Stuttgart 2012, p. 140.
- Martin Bookspan/Ross Yockey, André Previn. A Biography, London 1981, S. 124 – as quoted in Frédéric Döhl: André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung, Stuttgart 2012, p. 139-140.
- "Morecambe and Wise - Andre Previn (The full sketch)". YouTube. 2011-01-22. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Ancestry.com". Search.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "Ancestry.com". Search.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Mia Farrow mourns the death of adopted daughter Lark Previn on Christmas Day Mail Online
- Tim Ashley (June 26, 2008). "LSO/Previn/Mutter (Barbican, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- Emma Brockes (October 1, 2008). "'I gambled on my talent'". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- "Honorary Members of the Royal Academy of Music (Oct.14, 2009)". Royal Academy of Music. October 14, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2009.[dead link]
- Chris Jones (August 9, 2002). "André Previn: Striking the right chord". BBC News: Newsmakers. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- "Lifetime win for composer Previn". BBC. September 26, 2008. Archived from the original on October 01 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008.
- Martin Bookspan / Ross Yockey: André Previn. A Biography, Garden City/New York 1981.
- Frédéric Döhl, André Previn, in: German Historical Institut Washington DC: Transatlantic Perspectives. Europe in the Eyes of European Immigrants to the United States, 1930-1980, Washington 2012.
- Frédéric Döhl, André Previn, in: Charles Hiroshi Garrett: New Grove Dictionary of American Music. 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, New York 2013, Vol. 6, p. 597–599.
- Michael Freedland: André Previn, London 1991.
- Edward Greenfield: André Previn, in: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, hrsg. von Stanley Sadie, London 2001, Vol. 20, p. 309–310.
- Edward Greenfield: André Previn, London/New York 1973.
- Lawrence Kramer: The Great American Opera: Klinghoffer, Streetcar, and the Exception, in: The Opera Quarterly 23/1 (2007), p. 66–80.
- David McKee: A Streetcar Named Desire. André Previn, in: The Opera Quarterly 16/4 (2000), p. 718–723.
- André Previn, No Minor Chords. My Days in Hollywood, New York 1991.
- André Previn (Ed. and Introduction): Orchestra, London 1979.
- André Previn / Antony Hopkins: Music Face to Face, London 1971.
- Helen Drees Ruttencutter: Previn, New York 1985.
- Frédéric Döhl: André Previn. Musikalische Vielseitigkeit und ästhetische Erfahrung (engl. André Previn. Musical Versatility and Aesthetic Experience), Stuttgart 2012, 351 p. (contains sheet music samples from Violin Concerto Anne-Sophie (2001), Brief Encounter (2009), Cello Concerto (2011), and for the first time full catalog raisonné, filmography and discography).
- Frédéric Döhl: Movie for the stage? Zu André Previns Opern (engl. Movie for the stage? About André Previns Operas), in: Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 69/1 (2012), p. 51–64.
- Frédéric Döhl: André George Previn, in: Claudia Maurer Zenck, Peter Petersen (Hrsg.): Lexikon verfolgter Musiker und Musikerinnen der NS-Zeit. Hamburg ²2012.
- Frédéric Döhl: If the Image is valid. André Previn und die Rezeption musikalischer Diversifikation (engl. If the Image is valid. André Previn and the reception of musical diversification), in: Miriam Drewes / Ruth Reiche / Iris Romanos / Berenika Szymanski (Ed.): Transformationen – Entgrenzung in den Künsten (engl. Transformations – The Dissolution of Limits in the Arts), Bielefeld 2011, p. 96–113.
- Rehearsing the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra in Beethovens' 7th symphony
- Rehearsing the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra in Glinka's Russlan and Ludmilla overture
- Rehearsing the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra in Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances
- The Morecambe and Wise Grieg sketch: extracts and interviews