I wanted to bring your attention to the newly-released movie “Maestro”, about the life of musician Leonard Bernstein starring, and directed by, Bradley Cooper. I was one of the musicians hired to play in an orchestra featured in several scenes of the film. I haven’t seen the movie yet; but it’s possible I’ll get a few seconds of screen time, being seated on the first stand of violas, right in front of Cooper playing the 25 year old Berstein making his 1946 conducting debut in Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic. Lots of fun being inside the elaborate process of making this part of the story come alive.
The film is receiving favorable reviews – NY Times link below:
Participating in this production had a particularly personal meaning for me, because Leonard Bernstein was responsible for my interest in taking up the violin in the first place. Beginning at age 5 in Omaha, Nebraska, I would watch Berstein conducting the New York Philharmonic in a series of “Young Peoples’ Concerts” NBC television broadcasts on Sunday afternoons. This was the origin of how that child, long ago, became fascinated with orchestral classical music, and especially the strings.
Many years later, my orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, was chosen as the orchestra to celebrate Bernstein’s 70th birthday with a gala concert in Carnegie Hall. The program we performed was entirely his compositions: Candide, West Side Story, On the Waterfront (shot in Hoboken NJ!), Jeremiah Symphony, etc. He was in attendance – and he mingled with the musicians afterwards; so I was finally able to meet the man who inspired me so many years ago.
[Webmaster’s Note: Maestro will begin streaming on Netflix on December 20, 2023.]