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Mia Farrow and Stephen Fry lead tributes to Andre Previn

Mia Farrow, who was married to Andre Previn from 1970 to 1979, has paid tribute to the composer (PA)
Mia Farrow, who was married to Andre Previn from 1970 to 1979, has paid tribute to the composer (PA)

Mia Farrow and Stephen Fry have led the tributes to Oscar-winning composer Andre Previn following his death at the age of 89.

Previn – who was married to Farrow for nine years –  was best known for his work on films such as Gigi, Porgy And Bess and My Fair Lady.

He later turned his back on Hollywood to conduct orchestras and was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) from 1968 to 1979.

Andre Previn death
Oscar-winning composer Andre Previn has died at the age of 89 (PA)

During this period he and the orchestra appeared on television in the programme Andre Previn’s Music Night.

His appearance on the 1971 Morecambe And Wise Christmas Special is still among the most popular moments of British TV comedy history.

After news of his death broke on Thursday, tributes were paid to the German-born composer.

Actress Farrow, who had three biological children with Previn, shared a picture of the two together and wrote: “See you in the Morning beloved Friend. May you rest in glorious symphonies.”

The couple were married from 1970 to 1979. They also adopted Korean child Soon-Yi Previn, who went on to marry Farrow’s partner, Woody Allen.

Comedian and actor Fry referenced the Morecambe and Wise sketch and said: “Farewell, Andre Previn. He played all the right notes, and usually in the right order. What a life.

“All those Oscars, awards and achievements and yet most of my generation will always think of him as Andre Preview, conducting Eric Morecambe. He probably wouldn’t mind … ”

Opera singer and soprano Renee Fleming said she was “very saddened” by the loss.

She tweeted: “The @NYTimes says his music knew no boundaries, but I would say that of his talent and humanity as well.”

Previn was an accomplished jazz pianist and also proved to be versatile across musical genres and won 10 Grammys.

In 2010, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Recording Academy.

Andre Previn death
Andre Previn has been hailed as ‘one of a kind’ following his death (PA)

Gareth Davies, chairman of the London Symphony Orchestra, said: “Like the majority of players in the present day LSO, Andre’s time as principal conductor had ended before I’d begun, but it was the stuff of legend and I was fortunate enough to be able to perform with him several times over the last 20 years.

“I will never forget hearing the 1970s recording of Previn conducting the LSO in Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony when I was about 15. It had me hooked.

“The sound, the phrasing, the passion. It changed the way I thought about orchestral music.

“When I got to play it a few years ago with Andre conducting, it was really a dream come true. Andre was one of a kind and a real friend to the LSO. We will all miss him.”

Previn stepped down as principal conductor after 11 years, the longest term at the time, becoming conductor laureate in 1992 and conductor emeritus in 2016.

A statement from the orchestra said: “As a pianist, conductor and composer, working in jazz, classical and film music, there was not a single area of music in which he did not excel.

“He will be deeply missed by everyone at the LSO and remembered with great affection.”

Andrew Marriner, principal clarinet at the orchestra and lifelong friend of Previn, said: “Andre’s music-making thrilled me long before I was lucky enough to play with him; but when I did, it was the extraordinary sound he conjured from an orchestra, unmistakably his own, that dazzled.”

He added: “Never one to suffer fools, his wicked sense of humour could be sharp, always hilarious.”

Previn was acclaimed for taking popular show and pop tunes and giving them a jazz twist and released jazz albums featuring the songs of George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen.

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