Andre Previn had lasting ties with BSO, Tanglewood

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BOSTON — The Boston Symphony Orchestra is dedicating a series of Symphony Hall concerts this weekend and in mid-March to the late pianist, composer, conductor Andre Previn who died Thursday at his home in New York at age 89.

Previn, who would have turned 90 on April 6, had a 32-year association with the BSO and its summer home at Tanglewood that began in 1977 and continued through his last appearances there in August 2009, when he conducted a program of works by Beethoven, Ravel and Liszt with piano soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; appeared as pianist with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; and performed an evening of jazz favorites with a longtime collaborator, bass player David Finck.

According to the BSO, Previn's 90th birthday was to have been celebrated this summer at Tanglewood.

Saturday evening the BSO will give the third of three successive performances of Dvorak's Stabat Mater, conducted by BSO music director Andris Nelsons, with soloists Kristine Opolais, soprano; Violeta Urmana, mezzo-soprano; Dmytro Popov, tenor; and Ain Anger, bass, with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus under the direction of James Burton.

March 14, 15 and 16, the BSO will honor Previn with an all-Strauss program conducted by Nelsons and featuring soprano Renee Fleming in music from Richard Strauss' opera "Capriccio," "music close to Sir Andre's heart," the BSO says in an insert placed Thursday night in the printed program for the first of the three Stabat Mater performances set for this weekend.

Previn made his Tanglewood debut in August 1977 when he conducted the BSO for the first time. In the decades between 1977 and 2009, he appeared frequently with the BSO as conductor, as pianist, more often than not in a dual role.

According to the BSO insert, Previn's Tanglewood conducting credits included the world premieres of several works of his own, among them the suite from his opera "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1999); the Violin Concerto, "Anne-Sophie" (2002), a BSO commission written for Anne-Sophie Mutter; and his Double Concerto for Violin, Contrabass and Orchestra (2004). He taught regularly at the Tanglewood Music Center, and his Octet for Eleven (2010) was commissioned for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.

Previn also conducted the BSO at Carnegie Hall and on a 1997 tour of the Canary Islands and Florida.

This article was prepared by Berkshire Eagle arts editor Jeffrey Borak from material supplied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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