André Previn, 89; Famed Musician, Woody Allen’s Father-In-Law

Mia Farrow and Andre Previn. Image: Twitter, @MiaFarrow

Linked by marriage to Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow

| New York Times – André Previn, who blurred the boundaries between jazz, pop and classical music — and between composing, conducting and performing — in an extraordinarily eclectic, award-filled career, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by his manager, Linda Petrikova.

Mr. Previn wrote or arranged the music for dozens of movies and received four Academy Awards, and was nominated for three Oscars in one year alone — 1961, for the scores for “Elmer Gantry” and “Bells Are Ringing” and the song “Faraway Part of Town” from the comedy “Pepe.”

Audiences knew him as well as a jazz pianist who appeared with Ella Fitzgerald, among others, and as a composer who turned out musicals, orchestral works, chamber music, operas and concertos, including several for his fifth wife, the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

He was also the music director or principal conductor of a half-dozen orchestras.

Critics described Mr. Previn as a “wunderkind in a turtleneck” and the “Mickey Mouse maestro” when he was in his 20s and 30s.

He was often compared to Leonard Bernstein, a similarly versatile conductor, composer and pianist.

Time magazine’s headline when Mr. Previn became the principal conductor of the London Symphony in 1968 was “Almost Like Bernstein.” Newsweek summarized his appointment as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1985 as “Bernstein West.”

And like Bernstein, Mr. Previn was no stranger to a life of glamour and media attention, particularly when the actress Mia Farrow left Frank Sinatra, her husband, and married Mr. Previn after an affair that had become grist for the gossip columns. Nancy Sinatra Dies

“See you in the Morning beloved Friend,” Ms. Farrow, who was divorced from Mr. Previn in 1979, tweeted on Thursday. “May you rest in glorious symphonies.”

Mr. Previn himself considered Bernstein an idol. “Bernstein has made it possible not to specialize in one area of music,” he said. Read more. 

André Previn – Linked by marriage to Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Born Andreas Ludwig Priwin, April 6, 1929, Berlin, Germany
  • Died February 28, 2019 (aged 89), New York, New York
  • Occupation: Pianist, conductor, composer
  • Years active: 1943–2019
  • Organization: London Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony. Los Angeles Philharmonic

André George Previn was a German-born American pianist, conductor, and composer.

Starting by arranging and composing Hollywood film scores for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Previn was involved in the music for over 50 films over his entire career.

He won four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings (and one more for his Lifetime Achievement).

He had been the music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Oslo Philharmonic, as well as the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Previn was married five times. His first marriage, in 1952, was to jazz singer Betty Bennett, with whom he had two daughters, Claudia Previn Stasny and Alicia Previn. Previn divorced Bennett in 1957, a few months before she gave birth to Alicia.

In 1959, he married Dory Langan. A singer-songwriter, Dory became widely known as a lyricist with whom Previn collaborated on several Academy Award-nominated film scores during their marriage.

After Previn divorced her in 1969 during her hospitalization for a mental breakdown, and after Previn was caught having an affair with 23-year-old Mia Farrow, Dory resumed her career as a singer-songwriter with On My Way to Where (1970), a critically acclaimed album whose confessional lyrics were described as “searingly honest”, and chronicled both her mental health struggles and the infidelity that she alleged had at once precipitated the end of her marriage to Previn and exacerbated her intermittent mental illness.

In 2013, jazz singer Kate Dimbleby and pianist Naadia Sheriff revisited Dory Previn’s musical reflections on her marriage to Previn in the London cabaret show, Beware Of Young Girls: The Dory Previn Story.

Previn’s third marriage, in 1970, was to Mia Farrow.

Before their divorce in 1979, Previn and Farrow had three biological children together—twins Matthew and Sascha, born in 1970, and Fletcher, born in 1974.

They then adopted Vietnamese infants Lark Song and Summer “Daisy” Song (born October 6, 1974), followed by Soon-Yi Previn, a Korean child whose age a physician’s bone scan placed between six and eight years old and whose unknown birth date her adoptive parents estimated as October 8, 1970.

Lark died on Christmas Day 2008. In the aftermath of the scandal involving Soon-Yi and Mia Farrow’s partner Woody Allen, Previn said of Soon-Yi, “She does not exist.”

Previn’s most durable marriage was his fourth. In January 1982 he married Heather Sneddon. Previn wrote a brief memoir of his early years in Hollywood, No Minor Chords, which was published in 1991, edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and dedicated to Heather. This marriage ended in divorce after 17 years. JFK’s Sister-In-Law, Caroline’s Namesake, Dead At 85

His fifth marriage, in 2002, was to the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, for whom in the previous year he had composed his Violin Concerto. They announced their divorce in August 2006, but continued to work together in concerts afterwards.

Previn was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. He won four times, in 1958, 1959, 1963 and 1964. He is one of the few composers to have accomplished the feat of winning back-to-back Oscars, and one of only two to have done so on two occasions (the other being Alfred Newman).

Previn was the only person in the history of the Academy Awards to receive three nominations in one year (1961).

In 1970 he was nominated for a Tony Award as part of Coco’s nomination for Best Musical. In 1977 he became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.

The 1977 television show Previn and the Pittsburgh was nominated for three Emmy Awards.

Previn was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1996. (Not being a citizen of a Commonwealth realm, he was permitted to use the post-nominal letters KBE but was not styled “Sir André”.)

Previn received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 in recognition of his contributions to classical music and opera in the United States.

In 2005 he was awarded the international Glenn Gould Prize and in 2008 won Gramophone magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in classical, film, and jazz music. In 2010, the Recording Academy honored Previn with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.

Previn died on February 28, 2019, at home in Manhattan at the age of 89. No cause was released.


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