Andre Previn Dead at 89

Oscar-winning composer reached high levels of jazz, classical worlds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2019 3:20 PM CST
Andre Previn Dead at 89
In this 1971 file photo, actress Mia Farrow, left, and her husband Andre Previn appear during a rehearsal for a concert together.   (AP Photo/Bob Dear, File)

Andre Previn, the pianist, composer and conductor whose broad reach took in the worlds of Hollywood, jazz, and classical music, always rejecting suggestions that his bop 'n' blues moonlighting lessened his stature, died Thursday. He was 89. His manager Linda Petrikova said Previn passed away in his Manhattan home, the AP reports. His ex-wife Mia Farrow tweeted Thursday, "See you in the Morning beloved Friend. May you rest in glorious symphonies." Previn was a child prodigy whose family fled Nazi Germany. As a teenager, he found work as a composer and arranger in the musical sweatshops of Hollywood, mostly at MGM, winning four Oscars for his orchstrations of such stylish musicals as 1964's My Fair Lady. Previn then abandoned Hollywood for a career as a classical conductor. He was named musical director of the Houston Symphony in 1967, and went on to lead such renowned orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and London's Royal Philharmonic.

Through his career, Previn continued to dip in and out of the jazz world. "I don't ever consciously change gears when I play jazz or classical," he once said. "It's all music." Arguably, no one ever performed at so high a level in so many different genres of contemporary music. Previn became as close to a household name as anyone in his field—his fame burnished by his propensity for popping up in the gossip columns. He married five times, including glittering collaborations with Farrow and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. He was among those in Hollywood who early on experimented with LSD, and his memoir of his movie-studio days, No Minor Chords, contained juicy revelations about everyone from Lenny Bruce to Ava Gardner. The Korean orphan he and Farrow adopted, Soon-Yi, became the center of a tabloid scandal when she became involved with Farrow's then-boyfriend, Woody Allen, and eventually married him. (More on Previn's life, including how he felt about Allen, here.)

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