A selection of NYC-ARTS Greatest Hits: a visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art for a conversation with curator Donna De Salvo about the landmark exhibition “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again,” followed by a profile of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York, which provides opportunities for underserved students to receive a complete musical education.

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♪♪ ♪♪

Next on 'NYC-Arts,' a look back at some of our favorite segments featuring the best in arts and cultural events in our area.

This exhibition really looks at his career with examples from really every aspect of his production -- of course, painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, photography -- but also his forays into publishing.

When I'm onstage, I usually feel empowered because not a lot of kids get to play, and not a lot of kids get to do music.

I feel really blessed to be part of such a great group.

I'm working on keeping my bow straight in the middle because sometimes when I'm playing, it goes all the way off.

Everybody who I'm playing with is really good, and our conductor is amazing.

He's just great.

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by... Additional funding provided by members of Thirteen.

'NYC-Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

First Republic Bank presents 'First Things First.'

At First Republic Bank, 'first' refers to our first priority, the clients who walk through our doors.

The first step?

Recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First decree?

Be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was First Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

Good evening, and welcome to 'NYC-Arts.'

I'm Philippe de Montebello at the Tisch WNET Studio at Lincoln Center.

It's been my pleasure along with my colleague, Paula Zahn, to bring you the very best of arts and culture in the tristate area.

Whether it's music, dance, film, theater, the visual arts, classic or contemporary, well known or newly discovered, 'NYC-Arts' has provided unique access to the people and places that represent the richness of our arts community.

In this program, we'd like to share with you some of our favorite segments.

We hope they are some of your favorites as well.

♪♪

Next, we'll travel downtown to the Whitney Museum of American Art for a look at the exhibition 'Andy Warhol -- From A to B and Back Again.'

Few American artists are as instantly recognizable as Warhol.

Through his carefully cultivated persona and willingness to experiment, he understood the growing power of images in contemporary life and helped to expand the role of the artist in society.

With more than 350 works of art on view, many assembled together for the first time, the exhibition builds on a wealth of new materials, research and scholarship that has emerged since the artist's untimely death in 1987.

It reveals new complexities about the Warhol we think we know.

Curator Donna De Salvo is our guide to this landmark exhibition.

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I think that one of the things that often is missed with Warhol is understanding where he came from and where he was going after the 1960s, so this exhibition really takes as foundational the period of time he spent as a commercial illustrator working in New York and his experiences of that time and how much of what he was doing in the 1950s and particularly working with different reproductive techniques within the magazine format was instructive for him.

And then, you know, as much as the show, of course, highlights many of the great works from the 1960s, I've felt that many exhibitions had not made sense of what he did after that period.

So this exhibition really presents the work as a continuum, looks at his career more holistically with examples from really every aspect of his production -- of course, painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, photography -- but also his forays into publishing with magazine, the books that he published as well as his video work that he was doing.

I mean, no exhibition could capture it all, but I would say one of the key things of this show is really following Warhol's process as a maker of art.

Some of the themes of the exhibition are looking at the duality of or the multiplicity of meaning that he can bring to a single image -- the images that he would choose that he selects can be read at face value, and then they have many other meanings to them, which I think you can see more clearly by looking at the work of the 1950s, so the '50s is positioned as a very foundational decade in this exhibition.

Warhol gets a job as the sole illustrator for the I. Miller Shoe Company from '55 to '57, where he is drawing these incredible shoes, so his public side is to do the shoes.

The private side, and these are works that were not shown at all, are of these very erotic drawings of men's feet, so here is this duality.

When you look at the breadth of his career and the just extraordinary number of images he made, you really begin to see how he really destabilizes the image or questions what it is we're actually looking at, which is something that's accomplished really through the photo silk screen.

Once he brings the silk screen and the photograph and painting together, you know, you have an image that is articulated through the very means through which it's distributed in the culture, so that's really the radical paradigm shift in Warhol's work when he gets to the silk screen in 1962.

Now, normally, that's used within a commercial setting to create things that are identical, but he interprets them in ways that are actually much more nuanced, so you see differences from one image to the next in one painting.

So if you think about it, he takes a technique that really should be about conformity, and he uses it a very innovative way.

Warhol emerged in a postwar culture where there was this feeling of optimism, aspiration.

America is a world leader, capitalism certainly as the sort of greatest expression, let's say, after the war.

His commentary seems to be a kind of celebration of consumerism, but I think there's something also, a dark side of Warhol that is somewhat about the dangers of consumption, and I think the ambiguity of it is where its power lies, like with any great work of art.

Warhol is very topical.

He chooses images that really have a currency in the world and especially in American culture, which is a little bit the ad man part of him, you know, Mona Lisa, which he makes when the painting comes from the Louvre to the National Gallery and then the Met, so it's in the news a lot.

You know, it's called 'Thirty Are Better Than One,' a little bit of a kind of dig, if you will, at our obsession with the original.

He was commissioned to do a painting of the most famous man in the world, and it was...Albert Einstein was who was suggested, but Nixon had gone to China, so it was a very important moment, and Mao Zedong's image was in newspapers, on the news.

'72 is...It's an epic year, first time a sitting president goes to the People's Republic of China.

So Warhol decides to do Mao, and of course, you know, he's a bit irreverent because he gives Mao, you know, eye shadow and lipstick and, you know, makes Mao into an American version of a celebrity.

And the last room of the exhibition, which also includes his 'Camouflage Last Supper' and two Russia paintings, suggests, you know, within the '79-to-'86 period just some of the ideas that Warhol was exploring, and then sadly, he dies in February of 1987.

His premature death at the age of 58, you know, leaves us in a place of not knowing, you know, where he might have gone.

We have what we have.

I don't think Warhol ever, you know, went out of style to an extent, but there's certainly now a far more receptive audience to his work, and, you know, he was prescient in certainly understanding the ubiquitous nature of images and that we live in an image world, and we live in one now, you know, on steroids.

I mean, to think about social media or Instagram, Warhol was just ahead of the curve.

So I'd like to invite everyone to come to the Whitney and visit the exhibition, 'Andy Warhol -- From A to B and Back Again,' and, you know, really learn something about Andy Warhol and even ask yourself, 'Why? Why is this artist as important as he is?'

because any exhibition should invite questioning as much as confirm hopefully some answers.

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Good evening, and welcome to 'NYC-Arts.'

I'm Philippe de Montebello at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

Tonight, we'll introduce you to the InterSchool Orchestras of New York.

♪♪ It is the only orchestral experience in the area for elementary, middle- and high-school students to perform in an ensemble of their peers and also progress through a graded system.

Over the course of an academic year, ISO students are coached through auditions, placed in ensembles and mentored by professional musicians through rehearsals and performances.

ISO began in 1972 when Annabelle Prager, mother of a 10-year-old son learning clarinet, discovered there were limited opportunities for him to play in an orchestra, so Ms. Prager took musical matters into her own hands.

Today, the InterSchool Orchestras of New York boasts eight ensembles serving more than 300 children from 163 New York City schools.

No child is ever turned away because of financial need.

'NYC-Arts' had an opportunity to follow the InterSchool Orchestras this year as these young musicians develop a love of music to last a lifetime.

♪♪

When I'm onstage, I usually feel empowered because not a lot of kids get to play, and not a lot of kids get to do music, and I feel really blessed to be part of such a great group.

A lot of my life is pretty busy, but then when I get to play the cello, it feels like a bit of a quiet musical retreat.

When I'm playing, I feel like we're a string family.

I really like it because I see my friends and the songs we're playing.

They make me very happy except for sometimes slow songs.

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ISO is unique in New York City.

We have six orchestras and two bands.

If you stick with us from 6 years old all the way through your high school, you're going to get absolute the best orchestral training by going through different orchestras at different places.

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The orchestra culture is one of the thing that's just a mix.

It's a community.

You know, you meet once a week, and in ISO, one of the unique thing is starting from age 5 to 17 or 18, so the idea is to actually grow up together in this culture in an orchestra, you know.

It's like a family.

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We have such a unique presence that we can offer a tiered educational experience that's not connected to any single entity.

We provide opportunities for students from private schools, from public schools, so we are a unique entity that can bring like-minded students together to create music.

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For ISO, they start at a place where they can play quarter notes and read music.

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So I'm working on keeping my bow straight in the middle because sometimes when I'm playing, it goes all the way off, and I get frustrated with myself sometimes, but I keep trying.

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It's a really talented group of people that are around me.

I wouldn't say anything to that nature about myself, like, not to be precocious or anything.

We have a great conductor.

He's really funny.

He's just great.

They're middle-school age.

They're high-school age.

A lot of them are just now starting to come into their own on the instruments technically, but they haven't had a lot of experience playing in orchestras.

They are all individuals.

They do have different needs and different hungers for expression.

I hope I can bring that out.

♪♪ For example, a middle-school kid will think an accent... They'll go boom on a violin, and they think they made a loud noise, and it's really actually quite sweet, and if it has to be really a little intense, I have to work them almost until it's too ugly and then pull back a little.

So it's kind of fun to work with that age kid.

♪♪

For me, it's always fun to come back and work with this orchestra and kind of see the kinds of nuances that the kids might be learning as they're going through, the way they take time, the way they wait, the way they listen to each other, their internal rhythmic sense, but as a guest conductor, you definitely can feel it when you work with them.

You definitely know, okay, something good is happening here clearly, you know, and so it's really a lot of fun to do that when I work with ISO.

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As a conductor, I choose not to say what I want but do it with my hands and my gesture, and hopefully they'll follow.

♪♪ The group I conduct, concert orchestra, is the second group from the top of the pyramid, if you will.

The students generally are aged early high school, maybe late middle school.

♪♪ One of the first things I try to share with them is that the goal of rehearsal is to come to the rehearsal with your part mastered so you can learn everyone's else's part, and there could be true collaboration.

♪♪ [ Instruments practicing ]

In a day and an age where they are so distracted by technology -- you know, their attention span gets shorter, everything is instant gratification, you could push a button, and you could find something on the Internet -- you lose the notion of purpose.

And music gives them purpose.

♪♪

Tonight, we're playing Shostakovich, 'Symphony No. 5,' and we're doing the fourth movement.

Shostakovich himself, he's such an amazing composer.

I feel like everybody could agree on that.

If we're looking at it from a technical perspective, the Shostakovich can be above the level of some students, so one of the challenges is them being able to play the notes on the page.

I've definitely seen progress.

You know, I'm trying to work on right now my mid and low range.

Like, I want a better sound with it, so that's really what I'm working on right now.

♪♪

One of my friends told me about this piece called 'Shostakovich 5,' you know, because it has huge brass opening in the finale, and it's one of those pieces that I always wanted to play.

It was on my bucket list.

♪♪ It's definitely personal, especially when you play the tuba, because there's so much breath control involved.

Sometimes, you can, like, feel your air moving inside your body, and you can feel when it's not right.

You definitely learn things about yourself, not just about the instrument.

You learn what you can do, and you just make it a goal to get better and better every day.

When you play the tuba, you can't hide.

The minute that you play that note, everybody hears, so you're either right or wrong, and you're definitely important, and that's what so important about orchestral music is that you're playing together as a group, but individually your part matters.

All right.

Stand up.

I will do this.

You will smile.

You'll look out that way, not at me.

The kids have main-stage concerts.

One is going to be at the Brooklyn Museum for the younger kids and the Metropolitan museum for the older kids.

♪♪

It's a beautiful place.

It's definitely going to be an emotional night, my last big ISO symphony performance.

♪♪ 'The Symphonic Dances' by 'West Side Story' is definitely a fun piece.

It's a privilege to play, and a lot of times that privilege makes it a little bit less challenging because when you're working towards it, it doesn't feel like a task.

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This performance is important to me because, you know, just getting to play in front of people, you know, getting the feedback of actually be in, like, a concert environment, like, it just makes everyone better.

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Mambo!

♪♪

It's actually kind of hard.

It's a lot of, like, flailing, I guess.

It's fun, though.

It was hard to figure out, but it's just kind of you get to play loud.

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Mambo!

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

They are having fun.

That's for sure.

It's just -- the body is moving and all that.

That's the wonderful part for, I mean, just playing the orchestra, playing music together.

They are breathing together, you know, onstage as a group.

That's fascinating.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

I love watching the kids when they come in a little unsure, and by the time they're completed and moving on, they really are much more secure in the way they play, the way they can express, and that's a joy for me, at least, to watch that growth.

I'm getting closer and closer to, you know, graduating, and it kind of felt like it was never going to happen, and I'm definitely happy to, you know, get out of high school and start a new life in college, but I'm going to miss this group.

I don't know if I'd make it my profession, but then again, I don't know if I'd make really anything right now my profession.

I'm not quite at that stage, but it's definitely something that's fun and peaceful and relaxing.

I want to play for fun and see where it takes me, but then I also have some dreams.

I've been thinking maybe I could be a soloist with my violin, or I can be in the orchestra for the New York City Ballet at 'The Nutcracker.'

[ Cheers and applause ] [ Applause continues ] ♪♪

I hope you've enjoyed our program.

I'm Philippe de Montebello at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

Good night, and see you next time.

♪♪ To enjoy more of your favorite segments on 'NYC-Arts,' visit our website at NYC-Arts.org.

♪♪

Good evening, and welcome to 'NYC-Arts.'

I'm Paula Zahn.

I'm Philippe de Montebello at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

Good evening.

I'm Christina Ha with the 'NYC-Arts' news.

♪♪

Leonard, what a privilege to be able to sit down and talk with you.

I love being here with you too, Paula.

Where are we?

We're at a moment to take nothing for granted.

Well, it's a pleasure to be with Marci Reaven, the curator of this exhibition, 'Full of Hope.'

We are in the midst of some of the greatest sculptures by the iconic names.

Classical and modern dance are extremely different, and I have so much more to learn before I can really articulate the differences.

And when I listened to Yip Harburg's lyrics in that, I suddenly thought, 'That's what I want to do with my life.'

My pictures reside in very intimate, very private moments.

My primary way of playing the piano is by improvising.

You are, in some respects, on sacred ground.

A woman came to see me perform and said, 'How would you like to play Billie Holiday?'

I think one of the essential things that we learned is that Matisse used pens to compose his work.

You always are always surprised when you're in opera, and you're doing a piece that's 100 years ago, and you think, 'Oh, my gosh, this could be now.'

The cardboard guitar is the very first of that moment of realization.

Then suddenly you come and present something, and you get applause.

Great, you know?

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by... Additional funding provided by members of Thirteen.

'NYC-Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

First Republic Bank presents 'First Things First.'

At First Republic Bank, 'first' refers to our first priority, the clients who walk through our doors.

The first step?

Recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First decree?

Be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was First Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds.