Bradley Cooper, a Jenkintown/Abington native, was recently featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer for his upcoming movie Maestro, an important element of which were created by Mark Horowitz, 74, of Ambler.
According to The Inquirer, Cooper sought out Horowitz to create replicas of batons used by Leonard Bernstein, famed conductor, composer, Curtis Institute of Music alumnus, and the centerpiece of the film.
Cooper is both the star and the director of Maestro, and Horowitz’s father was Bernstein’s baton maker.
“If a conductor thinks a certain baton is going to make a difference, it probably will,” Horowitz said. “There is no way to predict what somebody is going to want, and I doubt if even the conductor would know. That’s part of the reason that when I meet somebody who’s interested in having my batons, I’ll take them 20 batons, so they can pick them up, feel the weight, feel the balance, feel the handle, and maybe even decide if they want wood as opposed to cork. So it’s a matter of what’s comfortable.”
An excerpt from the article:
Cooper is said to have kept several Horowitz batons as a memento of the film. Bernstein, in something closer to a musical memento mori, also keeps company with one; he is buried with a score to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, which encompasses both a funeral march and a love song, and a baton believed to be one of Richard Horowitz’s.
The movie has other significant Philadelphia connections. Screenwriter Josh Singer was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Upper Dublin High School. Cooper, who grew up in Rydal and Jenkintown, was coached in conducting movements by Philadelphia Orchestra music and artistic director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Horowitz hasn’t made a baton for him yet.
“Bradley Cooper is, I don’t know exactly what his height is [6-foot-1], but he’s taller than Bernstein, who I believe was around 5-foot-6. So Cooper wanted potentially bigger batons,” said Horowitz. “Bernstein’s batons had started at around 17 inches. Over the years my dad made them, I think they had gotten shorter to about 16 inches. So I made him a 16- and a 17- and 18-inch so he could choose what he wanted, and he decided he liked the two longer ones. After the reaction came back that he really liked the designs, he asked me again to make four more — a couple of 17s and a couple of 18s, and I sent them off.”
Maestro will premiere at the New York Film Festival from Sept. 29-Oct. 15, theaters in November, and on Netflix in December. For more on the film, including a teaser, you can click here.
For the full article, you can click here. You can also watch The Inquirer’s video coverage below:
Screengrab: The Inquirer