© Lillian Birnbaum
Brief Biography: Of Russian Jewish origin, composer, conductor, and pianist André Previn left his native Germany in 1938 to live in Paris and to subsequently settle in Los Angeles in 1940. His early career of orchestrating film scores at MGM led quickly to conducting engagements of symphonic repertoire and on to an international career as Music Director of such orchestras as London, Los Angeles, Oslo and Pittsburgh. In the 1980s, he concentrated increasingly on compositions for the concert hall and opera. His own richly lyrical style underscores his love of the late Romantic and early 20th-century masterpieces of which his interpretations as conductor are internationally renowned.
For a complete biography, click here.
|Key Works: |
- Piano Concerto
(1985; piano, orchestra)
- Honey and Rue
(1992; soprano, orchestra)
- Cello Sonata
(1993; cello, piano)
- A Streecar Named Desire
- Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, 'Anne Sophie'
(2001; violin, orchestra)
- Concerto for Violin, Contrabass and Orchestra
(2007; violin, contrabass, orchestra)
- Brief Encounter
- 1958 Received first (of his four) Academy Awards for the score ofGigi
- 1968-79 Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra
- 1996 Knighted for Services to Music
- 1998 Awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement
- 2005 Received fifth Grammy Award for the recording of his Violin Concerto, 'Anne Sophie'
- 2006 Awared the Glenn Gould Prize for exceptional contribution to music
- 2008 The London Symphony Orchestra presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award
He is a Complete Musician, whose versatility and personal charm have earned him esteem and affection in a variety of fields.
— Musical America
A stylistic chameleon whose language is conservative and eclectic, he writes to the technical strengths and musical personalities of the soloists who commission him.
— The New York Times
André Previn is among the few who have succeeded in making the transition from the podium to the pen…
— The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Conductor, composer, and pianist André Previn has received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding musical accomplishments, including both the Austrian and German Cross of Merit, and the Glenn Gould Prize. He is the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Kennedy Center, the London Symphony Orchestra, Gramophone Classic FM, and in 2010 was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy. He has also received several Grammy awards for recordings, including the CD of his Violin Concerto ("Anne-Sophie") and Bernstein's Serenade, featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter together with the Boston and London Symphony orchestras. In 1999, he was honored as Musical America's "Musician of the Year," and was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1996.
The venerable Houston Grand Opera premiered Previn's second opera, Brief Encounter, in May 2009. One of the most anticipated new operas in years, Brief Encounter is based on David Lean's classic film adaptation of a play by Noël Coward. An honest and compassionate look at emotional infidelity, Brief Encounter, with a libretto by John Caird, featured Elizabeth Futral and Nathan Gunn as Laura and Alec, a couple torn between love and honor. Patrick Summers conducted. Deutsche Grammophon released Brief Encounter on CD with Houston Grand Opera in April 2011.
Enjoying a fruitful and ongoing relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Previn recently led the group in premieres of three orchestral commissions: Owls; the Double Concerto for Violin, Contrabass, and Orchestra, with soloists Anne-Sophie Mutter and Roman Patkoló; and his Violin Concerto, “Anne-Sophie,” written for Anne-Sophie Mutter. Mutter and Previn have toured the concerto extensively, and Deutsche Grammophon released a recording in 2003. November 2011 saw the Clarinet Quintet debut and in October 2010 the Boston Symphony Chamber Players premiered Octet for Eleven, a chamber work commissioned by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; both performances were in Symphony Hall. Music for Boston premieres in August 2012 at Tanglewood, and was commissioned to honor the festival's 75th anniversary.
Previn’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, commissioned by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, premiered in June 2011 with the composer leading the orchestra and cellist Daniel Müller-Schott. Previn accompanied Boston Symphony Orchestra clarinetist Thomas Martin in the world and US premieres of Sonata for Clarinet and Piano at the Prague Spring International Music Festival in May 2010 and at Boston’s Symphony Hall in November 2011. Other recent works include: a piano trio for the Kalichstein-Laredo Robinson Trio; a violin sonata for Anne-Sophie Mutter; a violin concerto for Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Trondheim Soloists; and the Triple Concerto for horn, trumpet, and tuba for the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has also been commissioned and written works for Vladamir Ashkenazy, Yo-Yo Ma, Janet Baker, Sylvia McNair, and Barbara Bonney. Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, for the London Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with playwright Tom Stoppard, continues to be performed worldwide, with a Carnegie Hall premiere in May 2011.
A Streetcar Named Desire, which Mr. Previn set to a libretto by Philip Littell based on Tennessee Williams’ play, had its premiere at the San Francisco Opera on September 19, 1998, with soprano Renée Fleming in the role of Blanche du Bois. The opera has since been performed worldwide, and Mr. Previn’s 1998 recording of the work with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra won the Grand Prix du Disque. André Previn’s discography spans more than 50 years of recordings for all of the major labels. His 1999 Deutsche Grammophon release “American Scenes” — a collection of piano and violin works performed with violinist Gil Shaham and containing his own work Sonata for Violin, “Vineyard” — won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. Other recent Deutsche Grammophon releases include “Celebration,” a disc containing world premiere recordings of his Violin Concerto and five other Previn compositions, including Diversions, commissioned by the Mozarteum/ Salzburg for the Vienna Philharmonic, and The Giraffes Go to Hamburg, written for Renée Fleming. Also among his recent releases for the Decca label is “Live at the Jazz Standard” with bassist David Finck, featuring a variety of jazz standards and some of Mr. Previn's own new works. In 1991, Doubleday released Mr. Previn’s memoir No Minor Chords — My Early Days in Hollywood, chronicling his years as a composer, arranger, and orchestrator at the MGM studios.
André Previn’s concert music is published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and Chester Music Ltd.
— September 2012