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Andre Previn keeps on rolling

Written by Andrew Druckenbrod on .

Andre Previn Gramophone magazine just gave Andre Previn its Lifetime Achievement Award.

That's an honor (past awardees include Leontyne Price, Isaac Stern and Charles Mackerras), but media outlets are always heaping awards on famous musicians and composers as they get older (full disclosure, I also write for Gramophone, reviewing CDs). But often, those musicians are not that active any more.

Not Previn. He turns 80 this April, but he is as busy as ever. He has four concerts at Carnegie Hall in spring, spotlighting his diversity, from conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra to a jazz gig. He is still composes at a heady rate, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiering his "Owls" Oct. 2 and his second opera, "Brief Encounter," premiering at Houston Grand Opera (in May).

On top of that, Previn is guest conducting like a madman: London Symphony Orchestra (with ex-wife Anne-Sophie Mutter), Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra and Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra this year -- all in addition to more composing, I am sure.

What can you say? Previn's tenure with the Pittsburgh Symphony may not have risen to the level of Maazel, Jansons or Steinberg, and his conducting appearances here have largely been mediocre. But I find most of his compositions delightful, and it's impressive to see how much creativity Previn is displaying and how much energy he is expending these days.

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