André Previn (1929-2019)

André Previn (1929-2019)

The Boston Symphony Orchestra mourns the loss of composer-conductor-pianist André Previn, who passed away on February 28, and would have turned 90 on April 6, a birthday to have been celebrated at Tanglewood this coming summer. Maestro Previn’s connection to the Boston Symphony Orchestra dates to August 1977 at Tanglewood, when he conducted the BSO for the first time, initiating a decades-long relationship that continued through his final appearances there in August 2009, when he conducted the BSO, appeared as pianist with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and performed an evening of jazz favorites with a longtime collaborator, bass player David Finck. In addition to his subscription-series and Tanglewood concerts with the orchestra—which included numerous performances in the dual role of conductor and piano soloist—he also led the BSO at Carnegie Hall in New York as well as on a 1997 tour to the Canary Islands and Florida. With the BSO he led the world premieres of several works of his own, among them the suite from his opera A Streetcar Named Desire (1999); the Violin Concerto, Anne-Sophie (2002), a BSO commission written for Anne-Sophie Mutter; and his Double Concerto for Violin, Contrabass, and Orchestra (2004). He taught regularly at the Tanglewood Music Center, and his Octet for Eleven (2010) was commissioned for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.

In the course of his distinguished and multi-faceted career, the much honored Sir André also held chief artistic posts with the London Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, and Royal Philharmonic. He appeared regularly in recitals and chamber music, collaborating with such artists as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Janet Baker, Barbara Bonney, the Emerson Quartet, Renée Fleming, and Yo-Yo Ma, as well as members of the BSO, the London Symphony, the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, and the Vienna Philharmonic.

This week’s BSO concerts (February 28, March 1, and March 2), conducted by Ray and Maria Stata Music Director Andris Nelsons, will open with “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, which is being performed in memory of Sir André Previn. The upcoming BSO concerts of March 14, 15, and 16, featuring Renée Fleming in music from Richard Strauss’s opera “Capriccio,” music close to Sir André’s heart, will be dedicated to his memory.

The late André Previn speaks with Brian Bell before a 2008 Tanglewood concert. He discusses Mozart and his piece that he wrote for the BSO, "Owls".

Sir André Previn’s obituary was published in the New York Times and is available directly at: