Bradley Cooper spent six years learning how to conduct like Leonard Bernstein

Bradley Cooper was “absolutely terrified” about the key performance scene.

Bradley Cooper spent six years learning how to conduct “six minutes and 21 seconds of music” like Leonard Bernstein for Maestro.

In one of the biopic’s standout scenes, Cooper recreates the time Bernstein famously conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at Ely Cathedral in 1976.

After a recent screening in Los Angeles, the actor revealed that he spent six years perfecting Bernstein’s animated and theatrical conducting style so he could perform the sequence live on set.

“That scene I was so worried about because we did it live,” Cooper said, reports IndieWire. “That was the London Symphony Orchestra. I was recorded live. I had to conduct them. And I spent six years learning how to conduct six minutes and 21 seconds of music.”

Cooper, who also directed the movie, studied footage of Bernstein’s performance while Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, helped him perfect his portrayal.

“Nézet-Séguin made videos with all the tempo changes, so I had all of the materials to just work on,” Cooper explained. “It was really about dialling exactly what I wanted cinematically and then inviting them into then inhabit that space and trusting that they have all done the work.

“Because I think that I knew I was terrified, absolutely terrified that if I hadn’t done the work then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself in these scenes. And everybody did.”

Maestro, also starring Carey Mulligan, will have a limited theatrical release on 22 November before streaming on Netflix on 20 December.

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