Does Bradley Cooper play the piano in real life?

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In Bradley Cooper’s upcoming Netflix film “Maestro,” where he takes on the roles of writer, director, and star, the actor portrays the legendary American composer Leonard Bernstein. Early reactions to the film suggest its potential for awards, with particular praise for Cooper’s and Carey Mulligan’s performances.

In this project, Cooper’s portrayal of Bernstein demands considerable piano-playing skills, a talent not widely known to be part of Cooper’s repertoire. Many viewers speculated if Cooper genuinely played the piano in the film or if his musical scenes were the result of movie magic and a stand-in pianist.

Cooper did indeed learn to play the piano in preparation for his role in “Maestro,” showcasing a dedication to his craft that is characteristic of his approach to his projects. However, he didn’t attain virtuoso-level skills. While the scenes of him playing the piano are authentic, Cooper’s performance involves him learning the basics—hand positioning, finger movements, and projecting confidence with the instrument.

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The actual musical content heard in the film and on its soundtrack is credited to Victoria Ruggiero, not Cooper. Cooper’s hands are shown on the keyboard, portraying his character’s interactions with the piano convincingly. However, achieving the level of piano proficiency and mastery attributed to Bernstein requires years of dedicated practice, which is provided by Ruggiero’s music to complement Cooper’s performance in the film.