André Previn, a musical polymath, died February 28th in Manhattan, he was 89. He was a composer of film music, conductor, pianist and the music director for several notable orchestras. His family fled Germany in 1938, eventually settling in Hollywood where Previn was quickly recognized as a gifted musical improviser.
Working with scores he straddled the worlds of Classical and Jazz. He released an album of jazz arrangements for material from “My Fair Lady” and later served as music supervisor fo the film version of the production. He recorded with Benny Carter, Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Shore, Julie Andrews, and Andre Kostelanetz with whom he made a production of Rhapsody and Blue. He composed chamber music, concertos, and operas, including an original setting for Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.
He was music director of the Houston and Pittsburgh Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and conducted the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He won four Oscars; for Gigi, Porgy and Bess, Irma La Douce and My Fair Lady, 10 Grammys, and was honored by the Kennedy Center.
Famous as a Hollywood lothario, even as a teenager, he married five times; to jazz singer Betty Bennett, singer-songwriter Dory Previn, actress Mia Farrow, Heather Sneddon, and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.