Former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conductor Andre Previn dies at 89

André Previn, former musical director and principal conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, has died in Manhattan at the age of 89.

His manager, Linda Petrikova, confirmed Previn’s death to The Associated Press.

Beyond his talents as a conductor, Previn also brought to the symphony his “piano virtuosity and a musical sensibility fashioned in Hollywood”.

Previn led the PSO from 1976 to 1984. The symphony orchestra honored him Thursday afternoon, saying, “We join the world in mourning the loss of our beloved former music director André Previn. Our most sincere sympathies to his family. We will soon share memories.

The PSO then sent a Release with remarks from several notables of the orchestra.

“André Previn was a musical genius, a groundbreaking figure who came to Pittsburgh and launched the symphony into a remarkable new era of international acclaim,” said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a released statement. Thursday evening. “We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and all who enjoyed his music around the world.”

“The world has lost a true musical legend and the symphony has lost a close and dear friend,” said Manfred Honeck, Music Director. “I had the chance to play several times under his direction as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and I remember his gentleness. He was humorous, friendly and a natural partner in creating music.

“When the symphony performed at Carnegie Hall, Maestro Previn came backstage to share how happy and thrilled he was to hear the orchestra’s exceptional playing,” Honeck said. “My heart goes out to his family and all the musicians he has touched over the years.”

Previn began studying the piano in his native Berlin at the age of 6. The rise of the Nazi regime sent his family first to Paris and then to Los Angeles, where as a teenager he began composing, arranging and conducting film scores.

A four-time Oscar winner, Previn enjoyed a successful career as a jazz pianist before turning to conducting in 1960. He took on the role of Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, which he served until 1979, after assuming leadership in Pittsburgh.

“I’m convinced that I was incredibly lucky to start my career in the United States with a true genius on the podium,” said PSO Principal English Horn Harold Smoliar. “I had so much respect for his musical talent, which went far beyond his direction. He and I shared a love of jazz, which we talked about quite often. He had the most amazing sense of humor. Working with him was a highlight of my career. »

The Pittsburgh Symphony made its national debut on PBS with Previn in 1977 through a three-year series of eight specials, “Previn and the Pittsburgh”.

His ex-wife, actress Mia Farrow, said goodbye to him with a tweet.

His career included adventures with opera, with a 1998 performance based on “A Streetcar Named Desire” with the San Francisco Opera and regular returns to jazz.

“I never consciously change gears when playing jazz or classical. It’s music,” Previn once said.

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