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Andre Previn makes $1m New York move

July 19, 2018 by norman lebrecht

33 comments.


The conductor, 89, has retired to a 1,000 square-foot one-bed apartment on the 12th storey of East 63rd Street.

The New York Post reports that he paid the asking price, $999,000.

 


Comments (33)

  1. Matt says:

    Is Previn seen in public often? I saw him at BBC Proms some 8-9 years ago and he looked unsteady and frail then!

    1. Rich C. says:

      Saw him two year ago at a Delaware Symphony concert where his Double Concerto was performed He was in the audience. He looked his age.

  2. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    In today’s Manhattan market, the price is hardly expensive at $1000/sq.ft. Hard to believe that he will soon be 90. The show “Previn and the Pittsburgh” on PBS in the 1970s was a rare combination of quality music-making and probing interviews with Sir Andre, his guest artists, and a few composers (I especially remember one with William Walton). He was always very quietly generous to Curtis during the 1990s including an EMI recording of V-W 5th, the Tallis Fantasia, and one of his own compositions. Previn made sure that the students were paid for the recording sessions at local scale, and he donated his services for the project. Thanks AP.

    1. Mike Schachter says:

      Quite, does not seem all that expensive for the upper East side. Almost a bargain.

      1. Scotty says:

        Mid-town, near the park entrance, isn’t it?

  3. Robert Holmén says:

    Where does the piano fit and does the co-op let him play it?

    1. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      I’m sure a Steinway B will fit but the co-op is another story. I’m sure he checked with them before signing.

      1. Van says:

        Mr. Previn doesn’t need a piano to practice. George Szell taught him how to practice drumming his fingers on a tabletop years ago.

        1. Robert Holmén says:

          And George Szell wondered why he didn’t get invited to parties…

  4. william osborne says:

    The expense of NYC tells us something about cultural funding. Culture is one of the main factors that make cities attractive. In the USA, culture is funded by private donors and thus concentrated in a few cities that are large financial centers where the wealthy live. People thus want to live in that small number of cultured cities, and this contributes to a self-reinforcing cycle of ever-rising costs of living in them.

    In Europe, by contrast, culture is funded publicly and distributed at least relatively evenly among cities, so even mid-sized cities can be quite attractive. Cities like Berlin, Paris, and Prague might be special, but smaller cities do not become decimated, white-flight, Rustbelt backwaters like many do in the USA.

    One can only hope that the USA will eventually mature enough to publicly fund the arts and distribute the funding democratically around the country. This would eventually have the effect to relieving the cost of living in cities like New York and San Francisco because people would more freely choose to live elsewhere. And life in places like Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Miami, Nashville, Denver, and Des Moine would become much more attractive.

    For a cultured American these days, having to leave NYC or San Francsico to one of those other cities could seem like banishment to a wasteland. One can eek out a cultured life, but it ain’t easy, and would be far less active. Public arts funding systems, like all other developed countries have long had, help solve this problem.

    The expense of NYC tells us something about cultural funding. Culture is one of the main factors that make cities attractive. In the USA, culture is funded by private donors and thus concentrated in a few cities that are large financial centers where the wealthy live. People thus want to live in that small number of cultured cities, and this contributes to a self-reinforcing cycle of ever-rising costs of living in them.

    In Europe, by contrast, culture is funded publicly and distributed at least relatively evenly among cities, so even mid-sized cities can be quite attractive. Cities like Berlin, Paris, and Prague might be special, but smaller cities do not become decimated, white-flight, Rustbelt backwaters like many do in the USA.

    One can only hope that the USA will eventually mature enough to publicly fund the arts and distribute the funding democratically around the country. This would eventually have the effect to relieving the cost of living in cities like New York and San Francisco because people would more freely choose to live elsewhere. And life in places like Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Miami, Nashville, Denver, and Des Moine would become much more attractive.

    For a cultured American these days, having to leave NYC or San Francsico to one of those other cities could seem like banishment to a wasteland. One can eek out a cultured life, but it ain’t easy, and would be far less active. Public arts funding systems, like all other developed countries have long had, help solve this problem.

    And there are even more complex levels to this problem with funding. Concentrating culture in a few cities is not healthy for the arts. As expensive and NYC and San Francisco are, their cultural lives are not even all that great. NYC, in fact, can be astoundingly mediocre. When culture has a much broader demographic base, it becomes much richer and stronger.

    1. william osborne says:

      Apologies for the repeated part of the above post. The final paragraph is not repeated which is this:

      And there are even more complex levels to this problem with funding. Concentrating culture in a few cities is not healthy for the arts. As expensive as NYC and San Francisco are, their cultural lives are not even all that great. NYC, in fact, can be astoundingly mediocre. When culture has a much broader demographic base distributed throughout a country, it becomes much richer and stronger.

      1. Caravaggio says:

        No need for apologies. Some folks need to read stuff twice to get it. Besides, some things are worth repeating (-:

    2. Robert Holmén says:

      The obvious problem with tax funding of the arts is that someone will have to choose what art to fund.

      No one has ever come up with a palatable way to do that.

      1. Saxon Broken says:

        Sigh…someone already chooses, that person is the “rich donor”. I wouldn’t even mind if the rich donors were using their own money, but they don’t. They take their tax-dollars, and spend it on “charity”, or rather their hobby, setting their contribution against their tax liability. Personally, I think society as a whole should decide where this money is spent, rather than “the rich donor” deciding where the tax money went. Whoever society appoints to spend the money would at least be accountable for choosing how it is spent.

  5. V.Lind says:

    The US will never have publicly funded arts. It does not have publicly funded medicine. Americans refuse to pay TAX, the basis of great programmes in other countries. They prefer to leave it to private donors. A tax-based system is preferable to charity, as it does not leave the choice of recipients up to the donors — in medicine, everyone is treated the same, and in the arts at least decisions are made by councils, making fairness a closer possibility. But the nation as a whole declines to pay taxes the rest of the world takes for granted.

    1. MacroV says:

      Not really the point of this post, so I shouldn’t take it further off course, but while I’d like to see more public funding of the arts in the US, I would like to remind that because of the tax-deductibility of charitable donations, the U.S. government does effectively subsidize the performing arts quite substantially, possibly even as much as the European countries we all cite as a model.

      1. V.Lind says:

        Irrelevant. Charity donors choose who gets what. They choose what suits them. They donate to hospitals, however well-heeled, that saved Mom, not to homelessness or food banks. When there is a tax based system, there is usually a safety net across the board including for the less sexy or self-satisfying causes. It is no accident the right prefers private donations to taxes — the rich will start a foundation any day in preference to paying taxes. And in the arts, as I say, councils — while imperfect — will reflect a greater cross-section of views than one donor does.

        And the tax-paying countries also have charitable donors — in fact, many of them exceed the US (proportionately) when it comes to urgent causes.

        Your point only illuminates mine — the Americans do not want to PAY taxes, they want tax alleviations. The rich can calculate to the nearest dime what they should donate in order to avoid paying tax. It is a fiscal choice — one that leaves the decision as to who benefits in their hands. Little good to the poor or disadvantaged, including those arts that do not catch their eye. Or political or social aims.

  6. Greg says:

    He who takes the King’s gold is the King’s man.

    And I don’t think the good people of Kansas City, Nashville, Philadelphia, Atlanta et al think that life their fair cities would be considered banishment. After all, which city has the better orchestra: Cleveland or New York?

    1. william osborne says:

      As if a city only needed an orchestra to be cultured. Cleveland doesn’t even have an Operabase listing for perfomrnaces per year. According to the organization Seeds of Literacy, 66%s of the people in the city are functionally illiterate (i.e. can’t read at a 4th grade level.) Americans take this as normal.

  7. Philippa Ballard says:

    What’s interesting with the original post, is that Mr P is obviously downsizing. I remember an interview a few years ago where he had a study (in his previous NY appartment) stuffed to the gills with scores, books + recordings. There was a photo and they went right to the ceiling. Plus desk for composing.

    Maybe he really is going to live a quiet life now ?

  8. Rob says:

    Previn hasn’t retired. He’s still writing music and conducts the odd concert.

    He deserves every inch of happiness.

    1. Sharon says:

      Does anyone know if he ever reconciled with the daughter who married Woody Allen? It’s been 30 years

  9. Cubs Fan says:

    What percentage of people do you really think consider the arts when they move somewhere? What percentage of people in such exalted places like NY or SF ever go to the symphony, opera, or museums? 5% ? Probably less. Have you been to SF lately? It’s a sh!thole. Filthy. Some of the Midwestern cities Mr. Osborne denigrates have seen better days, but a lot of them have orchestras and other groups. Didnt save them, did it? Keep in mind, too, that some western states are bigger than whole European countries. And, there are places with great orchestras that people are fleeing, moving to places that may not have the arts you want, but they don’t care because it doesn’t matter. Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Nashville are all growing at the expense of LA, NY, Cleveland, Philly, Chicago…despite all their oh so superior arts.

    Previn…Anyone know what a flat that small would run in one of London’s better neighborhoods? Say Kensington?

    1. Carl DiOrio says:

      This gentleman seems to wear ideologically tainted glasses. The references he makes to attractive cityscapes vs. unattractive are simply inaccurate. Don’t want to get into a debate but I say that for any folks here who might want to visit one or more of those lovely U.S. locales.

      1. william osborne says:

        Yeah, like Detroit that is currently bulldozing 40 square miles of abandoned buildings. Or like Philadelphia which already in a Mayor’s report in 2001 had 14,000 abandoned buildings in a dangerous state of collapse, 31,000 trash-strewn vacant lots, 60,000 abandoned autos, and had lost 75,000 citizens in recent years. Philadeophia has 180,000 people living in deep poverty, including 60,000 children. (Deep poverty is defined as less than $10,000 a year for a family of 3.) Again, it is astounding what Americans take as a norm.

        1. Caravaggio says:

          A family of 4 earning $117,000 a year now qualifies for low income assistance in San Francisco. The figure was recently officially announced. It is shameful. And this in a Blue state and city.

    2. V.Lind says:

      You can get a flat in Albany, bigger than that, for under a million quid. That’s Mayfair.

  10. boringfileclerk says:

    Good for Previn! I wish him all the best.

    1. Byron says:

      Detroit is actually making a nice, quiet comeback. It had a loooooong way to go but there had been astonishing progress in the past decade. Most of it’s (lovely) downtown buildings are being restored and there are gorgeous old neighborhoods throughout the city that are coming back. It’s affordable as hell. It has a vibrant arts community and a hellva lot of great classical music being performed. To get back on track, I met Andre Previn briefly while working at a record store in the mid-80s. He was a considerate, down-to-earth guy free of any pretense or airs. A real regular joe.

  11. Peter Owen says:

    I was fortunate to be a concert goer in London in the 70s when Boulez was i/c the BBCSO and Previn the LSO. We Boulezians tended to be very sniffy about the Previnites and probably the reverse was true but looking back on it it’s clear that all of us had the best of both worlds available to us (and Solti with the LPO + Maazel with the NPO didn’t go amiss either).

  12. Father Hennepin says:

    We DO have publicly funded arts. Just not enough. And, like foundations, the arts agencies ask for conceptual proposals that are destructive to art. Minnesota, for one, has a thriving arts scene with much public funding as well as private funding. New York has NOT been the cultural capital of anything since I moved away in the mid-90s due to the rising cost of living. If artists can’t afford to live there, it cannot be considered the capital. And the quality is often not there. Broadway is a particular disappointment. The Met could be quite disappointing. ABT was actually probably the single most satisfying arts group. New York also lacks any first-class venues. Carnegie Hall does not have great acoustics, just great fame. Avery Fisher Hall (old name) is okay, about equal to most modern halls. The Met is not great. NY State Theater has decent acoustics. Some of the old theaters, like the Beacon, are more interesting, but only used for popular music. The great conservatories are the most important feature of New York arts. But a handful of years studying there is not enough to make an artist. Blame can be heaped on the New York Times, which for years exerted its muscle to destroy performing artists, serving only the egos of its writers. And New Yorkers blindly follow the Times around, they don’t know anything the Times doesn’t tell them, but they think they know everything. They don’t. The best theater I ever saw was at the Minnesota Opera in the 1970s, under the direction of Wes Balk, and at the then-great Guthrie Theater under Michael Langham.


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