Ambler baton maker creates Leonard Bernstein replica for upcoming Bradley Cooper movie 'Maestro'

Christie Ileto Image
Monday, September 25, 2023
Montco baton maker creates replica for upcoming Bradley Cooper movie
Montco baton maker creates replica for upcoming Bradley Cooper movie

AMBLER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Baton-making is Mark Horowitz's blood. From his basement in Montgomery County, he's molded delicate sticks for famous conductors for decades.

Then Hollywood came calling.

When the prop team for Bradley Cooper's upcoming film "Maestro" was looking for an authentic Leonard Bernstein conductor baton, they turned their eyes to Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Mark Horowitz and his family are known for making conductor batons.

In fact his dad, Richard, was Bernstein's baton maker.

"When the props guy called me, I said, 'I've been expecting your call'," said Horowitz. "It was sort of natural. They managed to track me down through a woodworking shop in Philly that does some classes that I take."

Horowitz made seven Bernstein replicas for Cooper, also a Philadelphia-area native, but didn't know if they were ever used until about three weeks ago.

"They said in the beginning of the movie, when he was not well known and much younger, they got him a different baton and then when Bernstein was older and better known, when he started using my dad's batons - that's when they used mine," said Horowitz.

Horowitz makes the batons out of his basement and all are crafted by hand, tapered to a tip no larger than about 1/16th of an inch.

It takes two hours to do, then another couple hours to be painted by hand and dry. One baton costs about $100.

Horowitz says seeing his work and his dad's legacy on the big screen is priceless.

"I sent the batons to the props guy. He brought the mailing tube up to see Jamie Bernstein," said Horowitz. "He took out the baton and handed it to her and she started crying because it was the baton she grew up with, and the one her dad used. It's nice that his legacy is continuing."

"Maestro" hits theaters December 20, 2023.