Obituary: Andre Previn Dies At 89

By Francisco Salazar

Andre Previn has died at the age of 89.

The German-American composer, conductor, and pianist was born in Germany and left in 1938 to New York. He eventually naturalized himself in the United States and moved to Los Angeles. In his youth, he studied piano and conducting and began his career in Hollywood arranging and composing Hollywood film scores. In total, he composed more than 50 movies as composer, conductor or performer. His achievements in Hollywood earned him four Academy Awards for “Gigi,” “Porgy & Bess, “Irma la Douce,” and “My Fair Lady.”

In the classical music world, he was the music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony, as well as the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also held the position of music director with the LA Philharmonic until 1989.

Previn composed two opera, “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Brief Encounter.” The former had its world premiere in 1997 at the San Francisco Opera with Renée Fleming, Rod Gilfry, Elizabeth Futral, and Anthony Dean Griffey. It ultimately played worldwide with productions in Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Meanwhile “Brief Encounter” made its world premiere in 2009 at the Houston Grand Opera with Elizabeth Futral and Nathan Gunn.

Previn also composed a number of song cycles and worked with such prominent artists as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Janet Baker, Yuri Bashmet, Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Itzhak Perlman, and John Williams.

He won 10 Grammy awards and made numerous recording and television appearances.