In February of 2021 while with my family at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fl I received a phone call from the production manager of a movie project about Leonard Bernstein with Bradley Cooper as the Maestro. It was an exhilarating project that I wanted to get right. At that point, all I knew was that I would be making all the batons for the movie which spanned his entire career. All I had to work with was what was available on the internet about his batons, so I chose the photo of the one in the Grammy museum to base my rendition on. Given the scope of the project, I wanted to make batons to represent different eras, some with certain aspects to make them easier to photograph, and proportion them to look the same in Bradley Coopers hands as Leonards. This meant I wanted to make them a bit longer since Bradly is about 6" taller. I was asked to keep this project and my involvement a secret until I got the green light to publicize. As the movie release was approaching, the writers and actors strikes were in full swing, and I was preparing to build stock for the big release, I serendipitously found a story online about how Bradley Cooper found the son of Bernstein's original baton maker to provide him with batons for the movie. My heart sank as nearly two years of anticipation had just been robbed from me. I contacted the production manager who commissioned me for the project to express my sadness and he revealed that indeed both were true. My batons were used in the scenes from 1943-1955 and some of the still photos, while the Horowitz batons were used in later scenes. This makes sense and I'm actually very glad that they were able to use his batons. I only agreed in the first place because I knew that Richard Horowitz had passed in 2015. In the spirit of respect, my version of the baton is slightly different, using a solid wood core and finger tip and I engrave the batons with the title of the movie, "Maestro" instead of using Bernstein's signature as I do for my signature artists. I hope you enjoyed this story and will enjoy the baton even more. Thank you for visiting PaGu Batons!
Posted by Phil Aguglia on 10/23/2023 to