Previn was born in Berlin, Germany, to a Russian Jewish family, a distant relative of the composer Gustav Mahler.
André (as he would be known) became a naturalised citizen of the United States in 1943, and grew up in Los Angeles. His elder brother was director Steve Previn. At André Previn's 1946 graduation from Beverly Hills High School he played a musical duet with Richard M. Sherman: Previn played the piano, accompanying Sherman (who played flute). He first came to prominence by arranging and composing Hollywood film scores in 1948. Coincidentally, twenty-one years later, both composers won Oscars for different films, both winning in musical categories.
Previn has composed film scores and other musical works, including a cello concerto and a guitar concerto. He has also adapted and conducted the music for several films, some of them stage-to-film adaptations, such as My Fair Lady, Kismet, Porgy and Bess, and Paint Your Wagon. Several were written especially for film, including the Academy Award-winning Gigi. Several of the film scores were collaborations with his second wife, Dory Previn.
In later years, he has concentrated on composing classical music. He collaborated with Tom Stoppard on Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a play with substantial musical content, which was first performed in London in 1977 with Previn conducting the LSO. His first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, premiered at the San Francisco Opera in 1998. His second opera, Brief Encounter, based on the 1945 movie of the same name, was premiered at Houston Grand Opera on May 1, 2009. His numerous other classical works include vocal, chamber, and orchestral music.
Diahann Carroll & The André Previn Trio - Porgy And Bess (1959)
02. My Man's Gone Now
03. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'
04. Porgy, I Is Your Woman
05. Oh, I Can't Sit Down
06. It Ain't Necessarily So
07. What You Want Wid Bess
08. I Loves You Porgy
09. There's Somebody Knockin'
10. There's A Boat That's Leavin' Soon For New York