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André Previn

Born: 1929

Nationality: American

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Photo © Lillian Birnbaum

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.

His first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, based on Tennessee Williams' play, had its premiere at the San Francisco Opera in 1998 with soprano Renée Fleming in the role of Blanche du Bois and continues to have numerous performances worldwide. Previn's 1998 recording of the work with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra won the Grand Prix du Disque. Houston Grand Opera premiered Previn's second opera, Brief Encounter, in May 2009.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, written for the London Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with playwright Tom Stoppard, continues to be performed worldwide, with a Carnegie Hall premiere in May 2011. Continuing his collaboration with Renée Fleming, Previn composed Ten by Yeats, setting of WB Yeats' poetry for soprano and piano, premiered in 2017. For 2019 he collaborates once again with Tom Stoppard on a monodrama for Fleming, the Emerson Quartet and piano.

Music for Boston premiered in 2012 at Tanglewood, and was commissioned to honor the festival's 75th anniversary. Other highlights from his recent orchestral works include a Double Concerto for Violin and Violoncello written for violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson which was premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in November 2014. Can Spring be Far Behind? was written for the Eastern Festival orchestra in 2016 followed closely by Almost an Overture for the Newport Contemporary Music Series in 2017. An orchestral commission celebrating the centennial of the LA Philharmonic, where Previn was Music Director from 1985-1989, and the composer's 90th Birthday can be heard in October 2019.  Previn's highly anticipated Concerto for Orchestra will see a premiere during 2020/21 season in celebration of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra's 100th Anniversary.

Previn's longstanding collaboration with Anne-Sophie Mütter continues in 2018 with the world premiere of his latest violin sonata, The Fifth Season, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Previn has also written works for Vladamir Ashkenazy, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Janet Baker, Sylvia McNair, Lynn Harrell, and Barbara Bonney.

He has been celebrated around the world for his 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 received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy. He has also received several Grammy awards for recordings, including the recordings of his own Sonata for Violin, "Vineyard" performed by Gil Shaham, and Violin Concerto ("Anne-Sophie") featuring Anne-Sophie Mütter with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1999, he was Musical America's "Musician of the Year," and was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1996.

André Previn's concert music is published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and Chester Music Ltd. 

— January 2018
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