André Previn Biography

Andreas Ludwig Priwin, 6 April 1929, Berlin, Germany. After studying music in Berlin and Paris, Previn moved to the USA in 1938 when his family emigrated. Resident in Los Angeles, he continued his studies and while still at school worked as a jazz pianist and as an arranger in the film studios. From the mid-40s he made records with some measure of success, but it was in the middle of the following decade that he achieved his greatest renown. The breakthrough came with a series of jazz albums with Shelly Manne, the first of which featured music from the popular show My Fair Lady. Previn recorded with lyricist Dory Langdon, whom he later married. The marriage broke up in 1965 and was controversially chronicled in Dory Previn’s later solo recordings.

In the 60s Previn continued to divide his time between jazz and studio work but gradually his interest in classical music overtook these other fields. By the 70s he was established as one of the world’s leading classical conductors. His term as conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra saw him emerge as a popular personality, which involved him television advertising and making celebrated cameo appearances for light-entertainers such as Morecambe And Wise. He became conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1976 and later the London Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Previn continued to involve himself in many facets of music throughout the 80s and into the following decades - one of his later projects, in 1992, was a jazz album with opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and jazz bass player Ray Brown. In 1993, Previn took up his appointment as conductor-laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra, while the stage musical Rough Crossing, for which he wrote the music to playwright Tom Stoppard’s book and lyrics, had its US regional premiere. In 1995, Previn toured the UK with his jazz trio, and a year later he was awarded an honorary knighthood by the Queen for his ‘outstanding contribution to Anglo-American cultural relations and the musical life of Britain’. His recent work has included collaborations with David Finck on superb tribute albums to George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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