Bard College’s The Orchestra Now (TŌN) Chosen to Perform in Bradley Cooper’s Netflix Film “Maestro”
TŌN’s Performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 Also on Film’s Soundtrack, Released by Deutsche Grammophon
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY— As the classical music world eagerly awaits the new Netflix film Maestro, starring Bradley Cooper as the renowned composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, the young musicians of Bard College’s pre-professional graduate orchestra, The Orchestra Now (TŌN), are particularly excited about the film’s imminent release. They were selected to perform Beethoven’s 8th Symphony in the film, with “Leonard Bernstein” (Cooper) conducting, and will also be on the Deutsche Grammophon release of the film’s original soundtrack.
In April of 2022, TŌN was approached by the film’s orchestra casting agent. The script included a 1989 Tanglewood performance by Bernstein with a youth orchestra. “They told us they had considered all of the major pre-professional young orchestras on the east coast,” said TŌN Executive Director Kristin Roca. By the end of the month, Cooper and the casting director had selected The Orchestra Now for the role. By May, the TŌN musicians were at Tanglewood, preparing to perform with “Lenny.”
In the weeks after being cast in the film, the students squeezed costume fittings in New York City into their already busy schedule of TŌN concerts. Roca also needed to ensure the instruments they would be playing would be correct for 1989. “We arrived in Tanglewood to shoot our performance on May 21,” said Roca. “After going through hair and makeup, the students headed onto the stage, where they worked for several hours with the Metropolitan Opera’s Music Director Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, rehearsing and recording Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8.” With the recording complete, the orchestra was joined on stage by Bradley Cooper and filmed their 1989 Tanglewood performance for the screen.
For double bassist Milad Daniari, a 2018 TŌN graduate, this was a highlight of his young career. “Like most classical musicians, I grew up surrounded by Leonard Bernstein’s iconic recordings and videos. I even have a framed print of him conducting the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood hanging above my desk,” he said. “To film this once-in-a-lifetime scene for Maestro, at Tanglewood no less, remains one of the most incredible moments of my career. The second Bradley Cooper came on set in full makeup, it truly felt as if Leonard Bernstein was in the room with us.”
Leon Botstein, founder and music director of TŌN and president of Bard College said, “I’m so terribly proud of TŌN and that it was invited to participate in this fabulous project. The combination of Bernstein and Beethoven is hard to beat. It’s an experience the musicians won’t forget.”
Maestro will have a limited theatrical release on November 22, and will be available for streaming on Netflix on December 20. The Maestro Original Soundtrack album will be released by Deutsche Grammophon digitally on November 17 and on CD and vinyl on December 1.
The Orchestra Now (TŌN) is a group of vibrant young musicians from across the globe who are making orchestral music relevant to 21st-century audiences by sharing their unique personal insights in a welcoming environment. Hand-picked from the world’s leading conservatories—including the Yale School of Music, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Royal Academy of Music, and the Eastman School of Music—the members of TŌN are enlightening curious minds by giving on-stage introductions and demonstrations, writing concert notes from the musicians’ perspective, and having one-on-one discussions with patrons during intermissions.
Conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein, whom the New York Times said “draws rich, expressive playing from the orchestra,” founded TŌN in 2015 as a graduate program at Bard College, where he is also president. TŌN offers both a three-year master’s degree in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies and a two-year advanced certificate in Orchestra Studies. The orchestra’s home base is the Frank Gehry–designed Fisher Center at Bard, where it performs multiple concerts each season and takes part in the annual Bard Music Festival. It also performs regularly at the finest venues in New York, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others across New York City and beyond. HuffPost, who has called TŌN’s performances “dramatic and intense,” praises these concerts as “an opportunity to see talented musicians early in their careers.”
The orchestra has performed with many distinguished guest conductors and soloists, including Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Järvi, Gil Shaham, Fabio Luisi, Joan Tower, Vadim Repin, Hans Graf, Peter Serkin, Naomi Woo, Gerard Schwarz, Tan Dun, and JoAnn Falletta. Among TŌN’s many recordings are albums featuring pianists Piers Lane, Anna Shelest, and Orion Weiss; Buried Alive with baritone Michael Nagy, which includes the first recording in almost 60 years—and only the second recording ever—of Othmar Schoeck’s song-cycle Lebendig begraben; Classics of American Romanticism, featuring the first-ever complete recording of Bristow’s Arcadian Symphony; and the soundtrack to the motion picture Forte. Recordings of TŌN’s live concerts from the Fisher Center can be heard on Classical WMHT-FM and WWFM The Classical Network, and are featured regularly on Performance Today, broadcast nationwide.
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 13 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 163-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
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Contact: Mark Primoff