Born: April 6, 1929 Primary Instrument: Piano
André Previn started playing jazz as a teenager, having studied classical piano for many of his formative years. In the early 1950s, he was blown away by the bebop of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. By 1954, he was performing with some of those bebop masters. In 1956, Previn made his own jazz history. Along with drummer Shelley Manne and bass player Leroy Vinegar, he recorded the first jazz version of a Broadway score for “My Fair Lady.” It was the first jazz album to sell one million copies.
Conductor, composer, and pianist André Previn has received a number of awards and honors for his outstanding musical accomplishments. He holds both the Austrian and German Cross of Merit, was honored by the Kennedy Center for his lifetime achievements, and was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. He was presented the Glenn Gould Prize in Toronto on March 14, 2006. He has received several Grammy awards for his recordings. Most recently he was honored at 47th Grammy Awards in February 2005 for the recordings of his violin concerto Anne-Sophie and Bernstein’s Serenade featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter together with the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras. Musical America named him Musician of The Year, and his first opera A Streetcar Named Desire was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque.
A frequent guest with the world’s major orchestras - both in concert and on recordings - André Previn appears annually with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Vienna Philharmonic, to name a few. André Previn has held the chief artistic posts with such orchestras as the Houston Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Royal Philharmonic.
n his third season as musical director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra Sir André Previn appeared on several occasions in Oslo in September 2005. On the program were Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 featuring Emmanuel Ax as pianist as well as Britten’s Spring Symphony featuring Susannah Glanville, Randi Stene and Anthony Dean Griffey as soloists. In October 2006 Maestro Previn will appear in Oslo conducting Orff’s »Carmina Burana«, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Beethoven’s »Pastoral« Symphony No. 6. He will also direct the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in this season. In 1998 Sir André Previn conducted the premiere performance of his opera »A Streetcar Named Desire« with the San Francisco Opera with Renée Fleming as Blanche Dubois. The opera, featuring a libretto by Philip Littell, is based on the play by Tennessee Williams. It was subsequently broadcast on television and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. In June 2003 André Previn again performed the work together with the London Symphony Orchestra and original cast. In May of 2004 he began another series of performances with the Washington Opera.
As a pianist, André Previn often performs together with Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell. As a jazz pianist he also performs with David Finck. Sir André Previn has performed recitals with Renée Fleming at Lincoln Center and with Barbara Bonney at Carnegie Hall and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and regularly gives chamber music concerts with the Emerson String Quartet, as well as with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Sir André Previn has enjoyed a number of successes as a composer. The Emerson String Quartet recently performed the premiere of a commission work in Carnegie Hall with Barbara Bonney. This work and the opera »A Streetcar Named Desire« followed the latest compositions as did a work for violin and piano (»Tango Song und Dance«) and a violin concerto commissioned by Boston Symphony Orchestra. Both works were written for Anne-Sophie Mutter, who has performed and recorded them. During the 1999/2000 season the Vienna Philharmonic performed the premier of the contracted work »Diversions« and subsequently recorded it.
Other compositions include a piano concerto for Vladimir Ashkenazy, a cello sonata for Yo-Yo Ma and songcycles for Janet Baker, Kathleen Battle, Barbara Bonney and Anthony Dean Griffey. Sir André Previn is currently working on new song cycles for Barbara Bonney and Renée Fleming, a clarinet sonata for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Thomas Martin, and his second opera. Another highlight among his compositions is the double concerto for violin and contrabass, which Sir André Previn wrote for Anne-Sophie Mutter and Roman Patkolo (contrabass). The premier performance of the work is scheduled for April 2007 in Boston where it will be performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter and Roman Patkolo with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
. After decades spent conducting symphony orchestras and composing classical music, Previn returned to jazz in 2007, and recorded a solo album - his first in 10 years. Previn's latest performance is on the new solo jazz piano CD, “Alone.” (Decca)