R.I.P. André Previn
The award-winning composer behind 'Gigi,' 'Porgy and Bess' and 'My Fair Lady' was 89
Born in Berlin in 1929, Previn's family fled Germany in 1938, moving to Paris and then New York before settling in Hollywood. At 16 years old, he began working on soundtracks at MGM, leading to his first original score assignment in 1949.
Previn's work won him a contract with the studio as a composer-conductor, and he went on to work on films such as Kiss Me Kate (1953), Kismet (1955), Silk Stockings (1957) and Bells Are Ringing (1960).
In the early '60s, Previn left MGM to turn his attention to classical music. In 1967, he was named musical director of the Houston Symphony in 1967 and went on to lead the London Symphony Orchestra as principal conductor from 1968 to 1979. Previn also served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Previn was also an accomplished jazz pianist, recording and releasing music both as a solo performer or playing alongside Dinah Shore, Doris Day, Benny Carter, J.J. Johnson, Shelly Manne and more. In the '80s, his output included collaborations with Ella Fitzgerald, David Finck, and Joe Pass and Ray Brown.
Previn was nominated 11 times for an Academy Award, winning four of his nominations for work on 1958's Gigi, 1959's Porgy and Bess, 1963's Irma La Douce and 1964's My Fair Lady. His work also earned him 10 Grammy Award nominations: five for classical recordings, two for film scores, two for jazz and one for his 1958 LP Like Young - Secret Songs for Young Lovers with David Rose.
In 1996, Previn was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1998, he was honoured by the Kennedy Center for his contributions to classical music and opera.
Previn was married five times over the course of his life. Actress Mia Farrow — his third wife and mother of three of his children — shared a photo of the two on Twitter, writing "See you in the Morning beloved Friend. May you rest in glorious symphonies."
In a statement online, the London Symphony Orchestra wrote, "We are deeply saddened to hear of the death this morning of our Conductor Emeritus André Previn. He will be hugely missed by everyone at the LSO and remembered with great affection. May he always play all the right notes in the right order."
We are deeply saddened to hear of the death this morning of our Conductor Emeritus André Previn. He will be hugely missed by everyone at the LSO and remembered with great affection. May he always play all the right notes in the right order. Tribute: https://t.co/GJ4OG9aoIj pic.twitter.com/ybK4dKBuoS— London Symphony Orch (@londonsymphony) February 28, 2019
See you in the Morning beloved Friend. May you rest in glorious symphonies pic.twitter.com/r546GFcsyV— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) February 28, 2019