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Previn Dead at 89;
Seattle Unveils High-Tech Hall
It’s “This week in Classical Music”; an update on what’s happening in classical music; I’m Randy Kinkel.
Andre Previn who distinguished himself as a performer and composer in a wide range of styles and genres, died on Thursday at his home in New York City. He was 89. A gifted pianist whose work as a film composer and orchestrator began before he left high school, Previn won four Academy Awards for his film scores. He won the first two for best scoring of a musical picture, for “Gigi” and “Porgy & Bess” while still in his 20s. He then won two for best adaptation or treatment for “Irma la Douce” and “My Fair Lady”.
Other scores include “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Designing Women” and “Hot Summer Nights.” His final score was for 1980’s Paul Simon movie “One Trick Pony,” Previn also made classical recordings, starting in the 1950s, with the complete four-hand piano music of Mozart. He wrote songs for the likes of Judy Garland and Doris Day.
He later abandoned films to conduct orchestras, like the London Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
He then moved on to the Pittsburgh Symphony, London’s Royal Philharmonic and, in the mid-’80s, the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
He performed orchestral works and wrote many pieces played by renowned musicians including the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, to whom he was married for a time. Another of his wives was the actress Mia Farrow.
Seattle Symphony’s Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center was unveiled to outsiders for the first time last week.
The 2,500-square-foot, $6.7 million project brings together cutting-edge technology in sound and visuals to create a venue which officials say is not replicated anywhere else in the world.
The honeycomb ceiling absorbs sound while also helping to conceal technology including speakers, microphones and projectors. The immersive environment will be home to varying styles of performance. The state-of-the-art Constellation acoustic system makes it feel like a small club or a concert hall with just the touch of a button.
Without changing the architecture they can change the physical size of the room acoustically.
Gabe Kean with Belle & Wissell said it’s all about enhancing the sensory experience, one that goes beyond the solitary environment a user might partake in while inside a VR headset.
The layout of Octave 9 and the visual components can be tailored to different types of performances and varying audience sizes, ranging from about 55 people up to around 125 people.
Seattle Symphony’s artistic programming for the venue will run through June and include five world premieres and music by over 70 contemporary composers.
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