A selection of NYC-ARTS Greatest Hits: a tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum located in Newport, Rhode Island; a profile of pianist Henry Kramer, winner of a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant Award; and a visit to the Nevelson Chapel at St. Peter’s Church, a sculptural environment created by Louise Nevelson, one of New York City’s most celebrated artists.

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♪♪

Coming up on 'NYC-Arts,' we'd like to share with you some of our favorite segments.

The Newport Casino represents one of the finest examples of Shingle-style architecture in America.

We are a National Historic Landmark and the first sports hall of fame to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Receiving this Avery Fisher Career Grant makes me feel like I can really believe in myself.

And it truly motivates me to be the best I can.

♪♪

Once you're inside, you're surrounded by Nevelson.

She was the grandmother of environmental art in America, and she really believed the importance of surrounding people with art.

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by...

This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council.

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 tri-state 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.

♪♪

My name is Doug Stark, and I'm the museum director at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, which is located on historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island.

The story of the Newport Casino began in the summer of 1879 with James Gordon Bennett Jr., who was the publisher of the He was also a summer resident in Newport, so he purchased the land across the street, and he hired the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, and construction started in January of 1880, and six months later in the summer of 1880, the Newport Casino opened.

The Newport Casino represents one of the finest examples of Shingle-style architecture in America.

We are a National Historic Landmark, and recently we became the first sports hall of fame to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

In 1881, the United States National Lawn Tennis Association was looking for a place to host its first championship.

The Newport Casino was selected, and with that, the first U.S. Nationals was contested here in 1881, which was won by Dick Sears.

That tournament today is the U.S. Open.

Newport has three distinct things -- architecture, leisure, and sporting events, and the Tennis Hall of Fame and the Newport Casino sit at the confluence of all three, so as visitors come through our grounds, they're transported back to Gilded Age Newport.

Today, our site is 6 acres.

We have 13 grass courts, three indoor hard courts, one clay court, one court tennis building, which is a predecessor of the game of tennis.

It's the game from which tennis evolved.

It was played in medieval monasteries.

Tennis Week in Newport is still a very big event.

It's usually the second week of July.

We have our tournament, and then at the end of the week, we have our Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Each year, we induct a new class of Hall of Famers.

We have 235 Hall of Famers representing 20 countries around the world.

Today, our museum occupies the second floor of the Newport Casino.

As visitors walk through the museum, they can get a sense both of the history of the Newport Casino as well as the history of tennis.

We have a re-created card room.

Our museum collection totals more than 25,000 objects, and we have trophies, tennis balls, rackets, racket presses, outfits, stamps, medals.

It's really the central repository for the study of the history of tennis.

♪♪ Tennis was patented in 1874 by Queen Victoria, and that patent is currently on display in the Credentials Gallery.

We also have a painting from 1538.

We believe it's the earliest known painting of tennis.

Visitors also like the evolution of fashion and clothing.

We have some early outfits that women would've worn in the Victorian Era, and we also have Venus Williams' outfit from her participation in the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, and we also have Roger Federer's outfit from when he participated and won in the 2009 Wimbledon Championship.

Also on display is memorabilia from the historic match, The Battle of the Sexes, contested between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in September of 1973, and a lot of visitors still remember seeing that match on TV, which was quite a spectacle, but obviously it had significant ramifications for equal rights and equal pay in sports in this country.

From the start, the Newport Casino was both for men and women, and it's one for the earliest that included women.

One of the things that we do when we tell this story of tennis is, we tell the evolution and the growth and the development of the game through our Hall of Famers, so with 235 Hall of Famers from around the world, it's an opportunity to give a personal element to the story of tennis, and it's important because people can relate.

A lot of our visitors come in, and they can remember, 'Oh, I used to play with Jimmy Connors' T-2000 racket,' or, 'I had a Jack Kramer racket,' or they might remember going to a tournament and seeing a Hall of Famer play, and so that's a really unique experience.

The next time that you're in Newport, we hope that you'd visit the Hall of Fame.

It's a unique opportunity to see and learn about the history of tennis but also to play on our historic grass courts, and we welcome everyone to Newport and the Tennis Hall of Fame.

♪♪

'NYC-Arts' isn't only available on Thursdays.

It's also on the web.

Please visit our website at nyc-arts.org, where you can watch clips and learn more about institutions and events featured on this show.

♪♪

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

I'm Paula Zahn at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

The ceremony for this year's Avery Fisher Career Grant awards took place in March at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR.

These individual grants of $25,000 give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists who have great potential for solo careers.

This year, there were four recipients -- violinist Angelo Xiang Yu... ♪♪ ...piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton... ♪♪ ...the Jack Quartet... ♪♪ ...and pianist Henry Kramer.

Originally from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Henry Kramer is an insightful soloist who began playing at the age of 11.

Since then, he graduated from Juilliard and earned a doctorate in musical arts from Yale.

A passionate educator, Kramer currently teaches at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.

♪♪

Receiving this Avery Fisher Career Grant is one of those things that you dream of.

One of the difficult things of being a classical musician is you obviously need an enormous amount of internal strength and believe that you deserve to be heard.

But you also need people to recognize and confirm that.

Beyond the financial support, which is obviously incredible, just the title and the recognition makes me feel like I can really believe in myself.

And it truly motivates me to be the best I can.

♪♪ ♪♪ I wanted to present something that is true to what I usually play.

I play a lot of French music.

I play a lot of Chopin.

I wanted to do something that showed a little bit of variety.

Naturally, the Chopin 'Preludes' came to mind.

A friend of mine suggested the C sharp minor, which is a bit risky to start with.

It's not an easy piece.

It's fluttering figuration and then followed by this unsettled Mazurka-like melody.

♪♪ ♪♪ The piece by Rameau that I played, 'Le Rappel des Oiseaux,' the title translates to 'The bird's conversation,' or 'The bird's chatter.'

He evokes this in the piano with these constant trills, and the hands are very close together and staggered.

So you can imagine when listening to this piece two birds in conversation with one another.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ The Rameau, specifically, is very challenging because, technically, the trills are very fluid, very fast, and they happen so rapidly.

♪♪ And I think, also, just to capture the right sound, there's a tenderness, I think, in the sound and a bit of sadness in the E minor, and it shouldn't sound too pointed.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Rameau and Debussy are a great pairing.

Obviously, Debussy has so much in his music -- piano music, specifically -- that looks back to the French clavecinists of the early Baroque and also to Chopin.

So I felt these pieces all kind of spoke to one another.

♪♪ Debussy's 'L'isle joyeuse,' which translates to 'The joyous island,' apparently was inspired by a painting by Watteau, who was, I think, an 18th-century French painter.

It's called 'Embarkation for the Island of Cythera,' which was a mythical island of joyousness and revelry.

♪♪ But Debussy's is all about the anticipation of arrival.

The whole piece is going toward something, and obviously, there's the evocation of water and floating, in the second theme specifically.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Another thing is, around the time in, I think, 1904, he had eloped and married.

So he was very happy, stayed very joyous, stayed himself.

I think it's such a fantastic piece.

It's the arrival of the central theme at the end after all of this anticipation is so satisfying.

It just gets more and more excited until it finally explodes at the end with this last note on the keyboard.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪

Next on our program, we'll visit the Nevelson Chapel at St. Peter's Church, a sculptural environment created by Louise Nevelson, one of New York City's most celebrated artists.

With a career spanning nearly five decades, Nevelson became especially well known for her technique of collecting discarded furniture and other random objects from the streets of New York and then reassembling them into often large-scale art installations.

Levenson's artwork for the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at St. Peter's Church is the artist's only remaining environment always open to the general public.

It is a gem hidden in plain sight within the Citigroup Center in Midtown Manhattan.

The entire complex, including the church, was designed by Hugh Stubbins and Easley Hamner with interiors by Lella and Massimo Vignelli After 40 years, Nevelson's master work is undergoing a critical restoration and rediscovery as an oasis of peace.

♪♪

Nevelson considered this environment her oasis of silence.

It's a place that people come day in and day out to find, in the middle of this incredibly busy city, some element of peace and silence.

Once you're inside, you're surrounded by Nevelson.

And she was the grandmother of environmental art in America.

She really believed the importance of surrounding people with art.

Nevelson was one of the few women artists in the 1970s who realized public art with great success.

The Nevelson Chapel is the only intact environment that she ever made.

Louise Nevelson was born in Ukraine in 1899.

Her family immigrated when Louise Nevelson was a little girl.

Nevelson's father was a woodcutter in the old country, and once they came to Maine, he had a junkyard.

Of course, that inspired much of Nevelson's work.

She would use toilet seats and bed stands and chair rails and everything that she would find on the streets of New York City to make a collage, these reliefs.

And that was her signature, and that's how she's best known.

She had her first breakthrough project, her first public breakthrough project, in 1959 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Louise Nevelson was 60 years old.

It took her that long to achieve public recognition.

Well, St. Peter's was a neo-Gothic Lutheran church that had been here a long time, and the congregation had dwindled down to 65 or 70, so it was not doing very well.

In the 1970s, St. Peter's and Citibank came together to start planning and then ultimately build what was called Citigroup Center.

And at the heart of that complex is Nevelson Chapel.

The pastor at that time was Ralph Peterson.

At the point where they decided that they wanted a decorated chapel, an interfaith chapel, Easley Hamner was approached by Pace Gallery, and Pace Gallery said, 'Look, there's 1% for the arts, which means there's quite a lot of money available for the arts.'

And Hamner knew Nevelson's work and reputation and wanted her to do it.

And Petersen knew her work, also, and really liked it.

♪♪ The works in the chapel are not the kind of found object, whether it was furniture or something she found on the street.

They were shapes made to order for her.

Nevelson was Jewish by birth.

This isn't a specifically Christian-feeling space.

It's a very spiritual space.

I want to read you some quotes from her because they -- they say something about how she saw her spirituality.

'Abstraction allows me to transcend Christian imagery to the essential point where all religions meet.

Each element forms a whole in itself, a deliberate expression of joy, of human warmth.

For me, for my work, this chapel is a state of purity and truth.'

I think the fact that they are doing a restoration would be something Nevelson would 100% approve of.

She always wanted her work to look as fresh as possible.

There are two major elements of the restoration for Nevelson Chapel.

The first is to deal with problems with the environment.

So we're introducing a dedicated HVAC system that will ensure that this environment is properly regulated for long-term care of the wood and the paint.

The second element of the restoration is cleaning almost 35 years of restoration overpaint.

But in the end, all of these sculptures will be Nevelson's original paint.

Nevelson's significant contribution to modernism was that she forged a unique visual language.

It was part surrealism, part constructivism, part collage, had resonance of minimalism, but it was really all Nevelson.

The chapel is not as well known as it should be.

Hopefully with the restoration going on, many more people will know about it.

We want to ensure that 40, 50, 60 years from now, people will find this in not a pristine condition.

It's a living environment.

But what people will see is that we have honored it and we're passing on to them as best we can what has been handed down to us.

♪♪ ♪♪

I hope you've enjoyed our program.

I'm Phillipe 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.

♪♪

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.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by... This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

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.