André Previn  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

André George Previn (born Andreas Ludwig Priwin; April 6, 1929 – February 28, 2019) was a German-American pianist, conductor, and composer. Previn won four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings (and one more for his Lifetime Achievement).

Previn was married five times, including Dory Previn and Mia Farrow.



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 Marguerite Monnots musical score, 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 adaptationer, 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 adaptationer 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.

Catalog raisonné

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.



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 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)

  • Four Outings for Brass (premiered in London/United Kingdom 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/Netherlands in 1993)
  • Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon (premiered in New York in 1996)
  • Sonata (No. 2) Vineyard for Violin and Piano (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) for Violin and Piano (the scheduled world premiere in Essen/Germany on July 2, 2012
and the scheduled US-premiere in Tanglewood on July 11, 2012 were both cancelled due to illness; new date of premiere to be announced)

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)

Original Scores

Adaptation of Original Scores/Songs by Others

Adaptation for Film of Stage Musical or Opera by Others

Adaptation for Film of Classical Music by Others

Notable Jazz and Pop Songs (from Soundtracks and/or Jazz records - Selection)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "André Previn" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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