Alice Letts

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More on musicals with Andre Previn …

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Talking about musicals, including Annie get your gun, Gigi, and Singing in the Rain, will bring to mind their composer Andre Previn.  In April 2009 BBC Four screened an interview with Andre Previn and others who knew him. Previn was very modest in the interview and understated when he says “im just very pleased to be a musician, …whatever the branch … it’s a wonderful thing to be”. He is a remarkable classical and jazz pianist, composer, and conductor. Previn was described as one of the world’s great living conductors.

As a child Previn was considered the little genius, but he simply said “I did grown ups work at child prices”. At the age of 16 he was part of the music team at MGM which Previn describes as similar to working in a toy shop because there was so much going on. This was a great honour for the young Previn to conduct the orchestra for MGM. In his time there he associated with famous celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor.

When Previn was not even 20 years old, he composed the soundtrack for MGM’s biggest stars, Lassie. The Producer asked him to do music for the whole movie. Previn explained that there was very little dialogue, but there was a lot of barking! Previn’s stint at MGM came to an abrupt end in 1951 when he was called to national service. He remained in barracks for 19 months stationed near San Francisco.  During that time Previn became immersed in the San Francisco jazz scene. Previn played jazz and performed in the Andre Previn Jazz trio. He sold a million copies of the jazz record on My Fair Lady performed by the Andre Previn Jazz trio.


Previn was heavily involved in classical music which he travels across the world conducting. Previn also composes operas. He composed the opera ‘Street car named desire’. Street car named desire has been staged all over the world, and has been one of the most popular operas of all time. For more details please refer to Previn’s website by clicking <here>.


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