André Previn

(1929– )

André Previn


In order to assess their suitability for adopting a Vietnamese orphan, a Miss Taylor, who had run a Saigon orphanage, stayed with the Previn family for a weekend. At breakfast on the first morning, she asked if she might have a bowl of cereal. Eager to please, Previn reached for the health-food cereal that his two small sons consumed with delight every morning and poured Miss Taylor a generous bowlful. While she ate, he held forth on the nutritional value of the cereal. Miss Taylor made no reply, however, until her bowl was empty.

“To be quite honest,” she admitted, “I’m not crazy about it.”

Previn’s glance happened to fall on the jar from which he had served Miss Taylor. “I’m not surprised,” he said slowly, “I’ve just made you eat a large dish of hamster food.”

Biographical Note: 

André Previn was a German-born conductor, pianist, and composer, known especially for his televised concert performances, which have done much to widen the audience for classical music.

Born in Berlin, André Previn moved to Paris where he briefly studied music before his family decided to follow a dream and relocate to Los Angeles, California, where as a teenager Previn began his musical career arranging and composing scores for MGM Studios. He simultaneously worked professionally as a jazz pianist, and recorded his first jazz record at the age of 16.

He was conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (1969–79) and in 1977 became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony; he has also made many appearances as a guest conductor with other major orchestras. He is an award-winning composer of orchestra, chamber, stage and film scores, a pianist in chamber music and jazz, and a prolific recording artist, author and television host.