“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,” The New York Times reports. Previn was 89.
“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,'” The Times notes. “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.”
Previn’s third marriage was to Mia Farrow in 1970. Before the couple divorced in 1979 they had three biological children together and adopted three others, including Soon-Yi Previn, who would later become the focus of a scandal involving Farrow’s partner Woody Allen. Andre Previn later reportedly said of Soon-Yi, “She does not exist.”
“Critics described Mr. Previn as a ‘wunderkind in a turtleneck’ and the ‘Mickey Mouse maestro’ when he was in his 20s and 30s,” The Times reports. “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.’”
Here’s an interview and featurette on Previn that was posted on YouTube …