André Previn was born in Berlin 80 years ago today. He got his start in Hollywood, composing and arranging for films when he was not yet 20. Since then, he’s composed, performed (he’s an accomplished pianist), and conducted music of various kinds, from classical to jazz. He has four Academy Awards for his film work, and several Grammy Awards for recordings of his playing and conducting.
Previn’s been married five times, most recently to violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, 34 years younger than he. They divorced in 2006, but still work together from time to time, and she’ll be playing his piano trio with him and cellist Lynn Harrell later this month at Carnegie Hall. She’ll also be the soloist with Previn conducting two of his own concertos.
And tomorrow, Mr Previn will be both the soloist and conductor in a Mozart piano concerto, also at Carnegie Hall. (Alas, I won’t be seeing any of these concerts.)
Some of my favourite Previn recordings:
- Conducting Elgar’s cello concerto, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist.
- Conducting and playing solo in Gershwin’s piano concerto and “Rhapsody in Blue”, with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
- Conducting his own piano and guitar concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Conducting the Prokofiev piano concertos, with Vladimir Ashkenazy as soloist.
Happy 80th birthday, André Previn.
Update, 7 April: Brian points out, in private mail, that Mr Previn’s most well known TV appearance was a comic sketch on this episode of Morecambe and Wise from 1971. I’d heard of it, but not seen it, and I didn’t think it’d be on YouTube, so I didn’t check. But there it is; enjoy. And thanks, Brian.