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André Previn

April 6, 1929 -
born in Berlin, Germany, composed during the Modern period
Successful as pianist, composer, and especially as conductor, André Previn has frequently bridged the gap between popular and so-called "serious" music, and in doing so broadened the horizons of both.

His father was an accomplished pianist (though a lawyer by profession) and determined that his son would follow in his musical footsteps. The talented young André received instruction on the piano at the Berlin Hochschule, and also absorbed music in a less formal environment during the many private recitals given in the Previn home. In the mid-1930s the Jewish family fled to France where André continued as a scholarship student at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1939, the Previn family relocated to southern California.

Life was difficult for the family (all their possessions had been left behind in Europe, and Previn's father was qualified only in German law), and though barely ten years old, André supplemented the family income by accompanying films at movie houses and playing in jazz clubs. At 14 he started working at MGM (Charles Previn, André's great uncle, was head of music at Universal Studios), orchestrating and arranging film music, and slowly saved enough money to study composition with Castelnuovo-Tedesco. At 18 André was asked to compose his own full-length film score (The Sun Comes Up, 1949), which resulted in his first experience on the podium in front of a real orchestra -- Previn quickly realized that his future lay in conducting, though he understood the gulf between film music and serious conducting to be a wide one indeed.

Previn, who had taken U.S. citizenship in 1943, serving in San Francisco during the Korean War, where he had the opportunity to study conducting with Pierre Monteux. Following discharge from the army, Previn left MGM, but continued to compose, conduct, and arrange film music throughout the 1950s. He also recorded and released a series of best-selling jazz albums (something he would continue to do sporadically throughout the decades).

In 1963, having won four Academy Awards in as many years, Previn found the courage to abandon Hollywood and pursue his dream of becoming a respected conductor. His professional debut occurred that same year with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and he spent the next several years traveling around the country conducting various little-known orchestras in an effort to gain exposure and develop his own skill on the podium. His first big break occurred in 1967 when he was asked to succeed Sir John Barbirolli as music director of the Houston Symphony. When offered the job of principal conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra in 1968, Previn left Houston. During his 11 years with the orchestra (1969-1979) a series of BBC television productions -- entitled André Previn's Music Hour -- made the LSO (and Previn) a household name around the world. Other conducting appointments have included the Pittsburgh Symphony, from 1977 to 1985; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1985 and 1986 seasons; and, from 1987 on, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1993 he was named conductor laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra, and he continues to make frequent appearances around the globe as a guest conductor.

Previn readily admits that he is not driven to compose, but only does so on occasion, and then only on specific request. Nevertheless he has composed a generous quantity of concert music, including a piano concerto for Vladimir Ashkenazy and cello sonata at the request of Yo-Yo Ma. His musical play, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, was produced in London in 1978. The year 1998 saw the release of his full-length opera, A Streetcar Named Desire at the San Francisco Opera. In 2009, Houston Grand Opera presented his Brief Encounter, based on the film of the same name and the Noël Coward play, Still Life. ~ Blair Johnston, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Previn - A Streetcar Named Desire / Fleming, Futral, Gilfry, Griffey, SF Opera, Previn

Disc 1
Title: A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera

1. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 1.: They Told Me To Take A Streetcar Named Desire

2. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 1.: Blanche!/stella! Oh Stella!

3. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 1.: I Can Hardly Stand It

4. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 1.: You Left! I Stayed And I Struggled!

5. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 1.: I... I... I... Took The Blows On My Face

6. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 1.: Hey Mitch! Come Back Here

7. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 1.: You Must Be Stanley. I'm Blanche

8. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 2.: Hiyah, Sweethart

9. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 2.: Let Me Enlighten You On A Point Or Two

10. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 2.: Hello Stanley. Do You Mind?

11. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 2.: Here! There Are Thousands Of Papers

12. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 3.: Well, I Ought To Be Getting Home

13. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 3.: Yes? Oh, Hello

14. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 3.: Stella!/stanley, That's My... What Are You Doing

15. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 1. Scene 3.: Hmmm.../stella? Stella?

Disc 2

1. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Prologue

2. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 1.: Say, Blanche... Do You Happen To Know

3. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 1.: Soft People Have Got To Shimmer And Glow

4. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 1.: Ah Me... Ah Me... Come In

5. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 1.: Don't You Love These Rainy Afternoons?

6. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 1.: What's The Time? Come On, Mitch

7. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 2.: Fraid You Didn't Have Much Fun

8. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 2.: I Work Out With The Weights

9. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 2.: Blanche... How Old Are You?

10. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 2.: I'm Not A Boy, She Says

11. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Act 2. Scene 2.: He Was A Boy When I Was A Very Young Girl

Disc 3

1. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Prologue, Act 3

2. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: What's All This For?

3. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: You Should Just Know The Line

4. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: What Time Is It

5. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Stanley, Tell Us A Joke

6. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Stell, It's Gonna Be All Right

7. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Yes... Don't Light These Pretty, Pretty Candles

8. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Me And You When We First Met

9. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Who Is It, Please?

10. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: It's Dark In Here

11. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Real! Who Wants Real?

12. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: I Don't Mind Your Being Older

13. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: How About Taking A Swim

14. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Take A Look At Yourself

15. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Operator, Operator, Give Me Long Distance

16. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Interlude

17. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: Damn Your Luck

18. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: I'll Wear The Cool Yellow Silk

19. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: I Can Smell The Sea Air

20. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: That Must Be Them

21. A Streetcar Named Desire, Opera: These Fingernails Need To Be Trimmed

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