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Andre Previn (b1929)

André Previn’s father, Jacob Prewin, was not only a successful lawyer but also a highly gifted amateur musician who from his son’s early years played piano duets with the boy. He took André when he was five to hear the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Furtwängler, and the following year his son entered the Berlin High School for Music, where he studied piano with Rudolf Breithaupt and quickly became a fluent pianist as well as an accomplished musician. With its Russian-Jewish background, the Prewin family was under threat in Nazi Germany and in 1938 it fled to Paris, where André studied briefly at the Paris Conservatoire with Marcel Dupré. A year later the family was on the move once again, this time to America. It settled in Los Angeles, where a relative was head of the music department of Universal Studios in Hollywood. Here Jacob, lacking fluency in the English language, was forced to earn his living as a piano teacher, while André quickly established a reputation as a versatile pianist, equally adept whether playing jazz in night clubs or accompanying silent films in specialist cinemas.




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