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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  June 16, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> pelley: tonight, on this special edition of "60 minutes presents," working dads. >> as a 12-year-old in virginia, ryan speedo green was the author of an impressive rap sheet. >> my first day of class, i walked in and there was this little, 5'1" caucasian, curly blonde-haired lady. and, i sit in my chair. and i throw my desk at her. >> when he couldn't be contained there, he was sent to a juvenile lock-up. now, as a man, tragedy has become the dominant theme in his life-- but, in a way that no one could have imagined. ( singing opera )
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( ticking ) >> to catch joel sartore in action, we flew halfway around the world. what makes a great picture? >> emotion. we're looking for the eyes. we're primates, and we're really, really responsive to eyes. >> but you shoot them like they're models. >> we do. like they're going in for their high school senior portrait. >> he's trying to photograph every animal, bird, fish, reptile and insect in captivity. he calls his project "the photo ark." in the bible, the ark saves all the creatures on earth. is that your goal? >> yeah, exactly. giddy up. every one of them. ( ticking ) ♪ ♪ >> opening night at the new york phil. ♪ ♪ jaap van zweden's official debut. ♪ ♪ would you consider really good composers of popular music for
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the symphony orchestra? >> for special occasions, absolutely. i would love to work with pharrell, lady gaga. >> lady gaga? >> why not? isn't she fantastic? ♪ ♪ ( cheers and applause ) ( ticking ) what started at my dining room table, has grown into a serious operation. that's why i chose the spark cash card from capital one. with unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy why wouldn't i get this card?! i redeemed $115,000 in cash back in just one year which doubled our marketing summer my spark card is more than a credit card. it has actually helped me grow my business. what's in your wallet?
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>> pelley: good evening. i'm scott pelley. welcome to "60 minutes presents." tonight, we celebrate fathers' day with three "working dads," each with an extraordinary profession and an inspiring story. we'll begin with ryan speedo green. as a 12-year-old in virginia, green was the author of an impressive rap sheet. he was so violent, he was banished to a class for delinquents. and when he couldn't be contained there, he was sent to a juvenile lock up. as we first reported last december, those who knew the boy with the unusual name could see that the child was writing a tragedy. now, as a man, tragedy has become the dominant theme in his life-- but, in a way that no one could have imagined. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> pelley: the high priest in the temple of the metropolitan opera in new york is ryan speedo
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green, starring in rossini's "semiramide." green blessed the hall with a voice that reaches from bass to baritone. ♪ ♪ >> pelley: at age 33, he is a member of the vienna state opera, and performs on stages of the world in german, french, english and italian. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> pelley: some call his sound a gift. but that sells short the life of struggle, and the sacrifices of others, that lifted him to the high altar of success. >> ryan speedo green: i lived in a trailer park. and then i lived in another low-income housing, where there was a crack house next to me that produced drugs for the city. >> pelley: life at home with
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your mother and your older brother? >> green: it was tough. you know, i had a lot of issues. and a lot of anger problems. it was a lot of explosions of anger, frustration, that was going on at the time. >> pelley: explosions of anger were hard for us to picture in the genial man we met at the met. but 20 years before, green and his brother were being raised by an abusive mother, and he returned that abuse. too violent for fourth grade, he was banished to that class for delinquents. >> green: my first day of class, i walked in, and there was this little, 5'1" caucasian, curly blonde-haired lady. and, i sit in my chair. and i throw my desk at her. and i tell her, i will not be taught by a white woman. and instead of kicking me out of the class, like most teachers would do-- and you'd be justified in doing so-- she, instead took away my chair and said i could learn from the floor. and when i'm ready to not throw my, not throw my desk at someone, i could have my desk and my chair back.
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>> pelley: that was teacher elizabeth hughes. that's green standing next to her. why would mrs. hughes figure you for somebody who had a future? >> green: i don't think it was specific to me. i believe she thought this way about every student that she worked with. instead of sending me home and throwing down the hammer, the anvil, on judgment, instead, she asked me, "is everything okay at home? what's wrong with you? why are you so angry?" >> pelley: school became a haven, but the fights at home continued. and one day, speedo green pulled a knife and threatened his mother and brother. >> green: and when the police came to my home, because they were called, they didn't feel that it was safe for me to be around my family. and then they took me to juvenile detention. walked down three flights of stairs in shackles and handcuffs into the back of a police car, and drove about three and a half, four hours to where the juvenile detention facility was. and i just remember, you know, feeling alone. >> pelley: he was locked up for two months. the only sound that penetrated the frightening walls... was
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mrs. hughes from fourth grade. >> green: and i remember getting a phone call. and she told me that, "don't let this moment define you. this doesn't define you. you can be better. you can do better." >> pelley: she called you in juvenile detention? >> green: yes. she found out that i was there and called. and that was one of my biggest outbursts, because i felt so ashamed and so angry at myself for letting her down that i had one of my biggest outbursts at the juvenile detention facility, where they ended up putting me in solitary confinement. >> pelley: his outbursts put him in solitary again and again. he was 12 years old. and when the door to the isolation cell closed for the first time? >> green: i remember just banging on the door, and screaming, looking for anybody and for anything that can connect you to the outside world. you could hear everything, it's. you know, and imagine a child, energy of a child, the anger of a child, screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming, till it gets so unbearable, you just fall on
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your knees and start crying. >> pelley: and you thought what? >> green: being in this cell was the lowest point of my entire life.anactually, when i got outf here, that was my motivation, to never end up in a place like this. >> pelley: no one was listening to the voice locked in solitary, except for the few who would save his life-- mrs. hughes, who was too camera-shy for an interview, and, in detention, priscilla piñeiro-jenkins. >> priscilla piñeiro-jenkins: this kid was small, angry, full of, just hate. this eloquent man that's sitting here next to me was not who i first met. every other word was foul. every other word was negative. there was nothing positive coming out of him. >> pelley: piñeiro-jenkins was a case worker in the detention center. >> green: i called her, like,fu. like, an hawaiian bitch or something like this... >> piñeiro-jenkins: uh-huh. >> green: and i remember that she, despite all of my anger, despite all of my outbursts, she was still nice to me. i still remember that there was a person who was nice to me. a person who showed me kindness.
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and that's an amazing feeling, to see that in darkness. >> pelley: this kid, who called you a hawaiian bitch, why didn't you just say, "hey, i don't care what happens to you"? >> piñeiro-jenkins: he's a child. he's not-- it's not at me. and you just can't say no to someone and shut them out when you know they're desperate to figure out, what is love? who will love me? who will care for me? will you stand by me even if i'm cussing you out? well, yes. >> pelley: he just had to know that somebody gave a damn? >> piñeiro-jenkins: exactly. and was listening. ♪ ♪ >> pelley: that is how the world came to listen. his life was saved by a few compassionate adults-- mrs. hughes, pricilla piñeiro- jenkins, and a psychiatrist provided by the state of virginia. coming out of detention, green got a fresh start. his family moved to a new town,
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with a new school and new friends. >> green: and i started realizing that those kids were involved with after-school activities. from latin club, that i joined, to chorus, that i joined, to football, that i joined. and so i had no time to argue with my mom, because i was thinking about studying for a latin quiz bowl, or i was in my room, playing with my keyboard, trying to memorize music for my chorus concert the next day. >> pelley: chorus had been suggested by green's football coach, who thought it would be easy. it wasn't. but his singing improved so much that he was accepted into virginia's prestigious governor's school of the arts. then, at the age of 15, a field trip brought him here, to new york city and the metropolitan opera. ( ♪ "carmen" ) >> green: it was the opera, "carmen," with denyce graves, who was the title role. ( ♪ "carmen" )
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>> green: at that point in my life, i thought opera was, like, you know, for white people. and the lead character, the title role, was a person who looked like me, was a person of color. it completely just shattered all my-- all my preconceptions of what i thought opera was. >> pelley: denyce graves seduced a soldier on stage, and speedo in the audience. ( ♪ "carmen" ) >> green: i fell in love with opera that day. and i left the metropolitan opera and told robert brown, who was my voice teacher, that i knew what i want to do with my life. i want to sing at the metropolitan opera. and he, instead of, you know, you know, saying, "no, you can't do that" or like, "maybe you should aim a little lower," or like, you know, maybe... instead of saying all these ifs and ands and buts, he told me a list of many things that i had to do, including graduating high school, going to college for music, singing in foreign languages.
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i mean, dozens of things that i had to do before i even could be able to audition for the met. >> pelley: he checked off the entire list, including bachelors and master's degrees in music. at the age of 24, he entered a metropolitan opera competition for young singers, and he beat more than a thousand other contestants. first time i saw you perform, you know what i wanted to know? >> green: what did you want to know? >> pelley: where the heck does "speedo" come from? >> green: ( laughs ) well, my father was an amateur body builder, and he wanted to name me after himself. but my mother was like, "no, he can't be named cecil." so he named me speedo, after his favorite bathing suit, which also happens to be his middle name. and that's how i got the name speedo.elley:t ro has b black meant in all of this? >> green: it's been good and bad. you know, in the beginning of my career, it's the thing that pushed me forward a lot, to break people's stereotypes.
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i wanted for people to think of me as an opera singer, not a black opera singer. ( ♪ singing in german ) >> green: and then i'll come out of this performance of completely german music and there'll be an older caucasian person who will come up to me and be like, "i would love to hear you sing 'old man river.'" >> paul robeson: ♪ i get weary. ♪ and sick of trying. >> pelley: "old man river" is the showstopper from "showboat," made famous by paul robeson. >> robeson: ♪ and scared of dying. ♪ >> green: every time i sing, there's going to be someone in the audience who's going to see me as joe in "showboat," instead of seeing me as ryan speedo green, the bass-baritone classical music opera singer. the irony of it is, this guy joe is singing this piece about the hardships of post-slavery, and, and about the hardships that caucasian people are causing him. yet, the people who love the song the most are caucasian
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people. ♪ ♪ >> pelley: green invited us backstage at the met for his warm-up routine-- a typical set of exercises to loosen his chords and his lips for precise diction. ♪ ♪ >> pelley: there are no microphones in opera, so his voice has to fire over a 60-piece orchestra and ricochet off the back of the hall. the dimensions of his voice tend to place him in particular roles. ( ♪ "semiramide" ) >> green: i'm the voice of the father. i'm the voice of the person you hear before you want to go to bed. you know, i'm the voice of, you know, sometimes of gods. of demons. of the guy who kills the tenor.
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you know? ( laughs ) ( ♪ "la bohemme" ) >> pelley: green's audience often includes elizabeth hughes, and his mother, with whom he's reconciled. he travels with his new wife and their new son. because he's only 33 years old, green's bass-baritone voice will continue to mature, until this baby is about ten years old. the voice we hear today is in its infancy. if you could speak to that kid sitting alone in solitary, what would you tell him? >> green: i would tell him, there are trees and sun beyond these walls. that, don't let this moment define you. i would, in the words of elizabeth hughes, don't let this moment define you. this is not the end. this is only a moment in time. and someday, it'll get better. someday, things will get
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brighter. ♪ ♪ >> pelley: speedo green performs in a world of demons and gods, telling stories in which a single hero can change lives. the plots, of course, are fanciful-- except to a man whose own life resonates on a stage of impossible dreams. ♪ ♪ ( applause ) ( ticking )
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acclaimed "national geographic" photographer, is a man on a mission. he's trying to photograph every species-- every animal, bird, fish, reptile and insect-- in captivity. as bill whitaker first reported last fall, joel sartore sides with scientists who estimate that half the species alive today could be extinct by the end of this century, so he travels to zoos all around the world to take pictures of what we're losing, and to ignite conservation efforts to prevent extinctions. he calls his project "the photo ark." >> whitaker: on this ark, the animals go in one by one. >> joel sartore: he's beautiful, isn't he? >> whitaker: to catch joel sartore in action, we flew halfway around the w philippines, home to hundreds of unique species. flew 20 hours to get here. and you came all this way to take a picture of a palawan stink badger? >> joel sartore: absolutely!
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absolutely. boy, is he stinky. he's smaller than a skunk, but smells worse. he's part badger, part skunk and he fired a reeking rocket-- ohhh! --after he entered the photo cage. >> joel sartore: how can something that cute be that stinky? >> whitaker: it smelled so terrible that the next animal to leave the red carpet and head into the photo cage, a rare palawan binturong, took one whiff, smelled stink badger stink, and backed out. sartore said he should have photographed the stink badger last, but the little stinker is a pungent prize. >> joel sartore: there's nobody else coming along to photograph a stink badger. i'm the only one. and that's the case for 90% of the species i photograph, maybe 95%. these are things that nobody will ever know existed, if it weren't for the photo ark. if they could see how beautiful this thing is, they would care.
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>> whitaker: joel cares so much, he spends half the year traveling the world. we saw him work 12-hour days in stifling, humid, 100-degree heat. >> joel sartore: okay, let's switch to white. >> whitaker: it was tough for us just watching him build pop-up studios, switching between backdrops of black and white. why did you decide to use either black or white backgrounds? >> joel sartore: there are no distractions in these pictures. it's just the animal and you. and that animal's often looking you in the eye. >> whitaker: that's when it all works. here's what happened years ago, when joel tried to photograph a chimp. he spent more than an hour taping up the white background. >> joel sartore: so now, doesn't this look nice. >> whitaker: more than an hour, for this. ( animals screeching ) animals can be frustrating, and dangerous, like this fierce luzon warty pig, found only on a few philippine islands.
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handlers had herded him into a makeshift photo pen. joel got as close as he dared, lying in a trough usually used for pig waste. the tusks are sharp. the hooves are sharp. >> joel sartore: yeah. i, i-- you know what? i'm concentrating. i got a lot to do. >> whitaker: beyond the tusks and hooves, this pig packs a mean temper. you've heard the expression "when pigs fly?" watch. >> joel sartore: like a cow jumping over the moon, except it was a pig. let's see what we got. i've never had that happen, ever. he's sharp, you can see him. we're done. that's good. we got our picture. we don't ever need to photograph this species again. >> whitaker: but then, there was trixie, perhaps the world's sweetest orangutan. we met her not far from the mean-spirited pig at the avilon zoo outside manila. >> joel sartore: and we're just going to let her see the flash.
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so far, so good. >> whitaker: the key question: would trixie move in front of the white background? >> joel sartore: do you think she would want to stand over there? and get her picture? >> whitaker: she's amazing. >> joel sartore: awesome, look at that. >> ellen sartore: aw, sweet girl. >> whitaker: cover girl. >> joel sartore: if she lays down to look at you, you get down with her. you just lay down on the ground at eye level. she was completely calm. >> whitaker: later, sartore showed us his favorite trixie shots, at "national geographic" headquarters in washington. so what do you think she's thinking? >> joel sartore: i think she was just thinking, you know, "is there a banana in this somewhere for me? ( laughs ) a mango?" let's go in there and get her on black. very nice, very nice. i like the white one better, i think. it's more direct. it's more like she's involved. she's a partner in the process. >> whitaker: i put my hand out. i wasn't quite sure she was going to take it, but she did. >> joel sartore: yeah, it's soft.
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>> whitaker: and it was soft. yeah, that was an amazing experience. what makes a great picture? >> joel sartore: emotion. that's what you look for in any, in any great photograph. >> whitaker: what's emotion in an animal? >> joel sartore: a moment. we're looking for the eyes. humans are, we're primates, and we're really, really responsive to eyes. we're all about eye contact. >> whitaker: but you shoot them like they're models. >> joel sartore: we do. like they're going in for their high school senior portrait. >> whitaker: sartore shoots birds in tents so they won't fly away. this white crowned hornbill posed like a preening pro. completely different from joel's first attempt to shoot this species, back in the states. >> ready? >> joel saor !o tdy, hename's j. so what she didn't tell me is, that bird is such a badass, he attacks her when she goes in to feed him. this is one of those things where i'm back here. so when i said, "can you put that bird in my tent?" she went, "sure i can." this is like a $6,000 camera. doesn't he know that?
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ow, god, ( bleep )! that's my blood right there. >> whitaker: that's why he wanted to shoot a calm hornbill in the philippines. >> joel sartore: very nice bird. >> whitaker: but here, the red rat snake kept attacking. >> joel sartore: god, they're real lunge-y, aren't they? >> whitaker: fortunately, he's not venomous-- >> mark laganga: jesus! >> whitaker: --since he bit our cameraman, mark laganga. >> joel sartore: i enjoy seeing a "60 minutes" cameraman get bit, instead of me. >> whitaker: but the next snake was extremely venomous. >> joel sartore: is that the spitter? >> whitaker: the palawan spitting cobra can blind you if it spits in your eye-- and it can spit ten feet. that's why joel wore goggles. but, watch how close he gets to this cobra. i always thought when they had their hood out like that, that meant danger. >> joel sartore: well, he's reacting to us. we're like skyscrapers to this guy. so, he's going to stand up and
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look as big as he can. they have a space prepped already. >> whitaker: in zoos, sartore can shoot more than 20 species in one day. in the wild, it could take several days to get one good shot. now, with natural habitats vanishing, some species can only be found in zoos. >> joel sartore: a lot of them only exist in zoos. they have these captive breeding programs for some of the rarest animals in the world. so, when people say, "well, they're down on zoos," well, they haven't seen a good zoo, and they don't know the conservation effect of good zoos. >> whitaker: sartore spent his first 16 years at "national geographic" taking pictures in the field. he scored numerous magazine covers, and endured various hardships. >> joel sartore: yeah, that's me. that's on alaska's north slope. i wanted to show the insect load up there. and also, i hadn't made a good picture in three days, and so the editors here will say, "joel, we can't publish your excuses." >> whitaker: the mosquitoes though, my god. that's incredible. >> joel sartore: yeah.
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my feet itched for a long time. >> whitaker: he came up with the photo ark idea after his wife developed breast cancer. >> joel sartore: that's my son cole, and my wife kathy. she went on chemo for nine months, and i was grounded. i was home for a year. and so, i was really worried she was not going to make it. but we all made it through. she's fine today. it's been 13 years, which is great. >> whitaker: wonderful. >> joel sartore: it really does make you appreciate how limited our time is. >> whitaker: so the cancer changed all of your lives. >> joel sartore: yeah. and started the photo ark. it was a desperate, last-ditch effort to use my life for something that's worthwhile, something that could save nature. >> whitaker: in the bible, the ark saves all the creatures on earth.t ur goa >> joel sartore: exactly. giddy up. you bet. >> whitaker: what makes you think you can save them with a photo?l rtore:reach more people now than ever, because we can post to "national geographic," instagram and facebook, and reach over10n peot
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again and again and again. >> whitaker: his latest pictures are published periodically, and they've appeared on the empire state building, and the vatican. >> joel sartore: yeah, the side of st. peter's basilica. the pope was sitting there watching it, which was awesome. >> whitaker: we flew with joel to the phillipine island of negros. here, vast forests were cut for timber, robbing wildlife of vital habitat. >> joel sartore: now there's hardly any lowland forest left, less than 5% here. >> whitaker: negros has its own type of critically endangered warty pig. this mother was saved from a hunter's snare. in the zoo, she's helping to save her species. >> joel sartore: she's got her babies. and you see that bridle marking on her snout? that's really definitive. >> whitaker: oh yeah, oh yeah, that's beautiful. >> joel sartore: i think these are going be on the ground. >> whitaker: joel, who spends so much time away from home, brought his daughter ellen on this trip. so, what do you think of what he's doing? >> ellen sartore: i think it's
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extraordinary, what you're doing. >> joel sartore: really? >> ellen sartore: i do. >> joel sartore: aw. you're going to make me cry. >> ellen sartore: don't cry! >> joel sartore: i've never heard you say that. you do? >> ellen sartore: yeah. >> whitaker: but he is gone all the time? >> ellen sartore: he hasn't been to the last seven of my birthdays, just because my birthday is in migration season. so, he's-- >> whitaker: migration season? ( laughs ) >> joel sartore: it's true. >> whitaker: so that's a birthday buster. >> joel sartore: yeah. >> whitaker: the next day, sartore showed us a beetle he had spotted. >> joel sartore: i think he'd be worth putting in the photo ark. >> whitaker: a species he hadn't shot before. so there's nothing too small for you, huh? >> joel sartore: nothing too small-- if you can see it with your eyes, we'll photograph it. >> whitaker: how big is this guy? >> joel sartore: oh, that guy is the size of a grain of rice. >> whitaker: tiny. >> joel sartore: yeah, tiny. >> whitaker: so every animal fills up your frame? >> joel sartore: that's right. >> whitaker: small or large. >> joel sartore: he's as big as a polar bear. >> whitaker: why do you do that? >> joel sartore: because it gives them all equal say, equal voice. the big charismatic mammals get all the ink. they get all the press, the gorillas and the rhinos and the tigers. nobody's thinking about these little guys. i am.
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>> whitaker: sartore shot another little guy, believed to be the very last member of a now-extinct species. >> joel sartore: that's the last rabbs fringe limbed frog. >> whitaker: what's that like, knowing that this animal will not exist anymore, shortly after you take the picture? >> joel sartore: well, does it make me sad? sure. but does it inspire me to go out and keep working like i do? absolutely. we put this together in my office. ♪ ♪ this just shows you what rodents can look like and what parrots look like. biodiversity, in a glance. just primates. >> whitaker: wow. >> joel sartore: and we've done a lot more since then. we can go out farther and farther and farther. hundreds of species. thousands of species. just amphibians. there's so much diversity, but you'd never know it. you'd never know it. >> whitaker: so you've been doing this how long now? >> joel sartore: 12 years. >> whitaker: how many species have you photographed?
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>> joel sartore: 8,255. but who's counting? >> whitaker: you're about halfway through. and you're how old now? >> joel sartore: 55, almost 56. tick-tick-tick-tick-tick, just as loud as that "60 minutes" stopwatch, baby. >> whitaker: time's running out. >> joel sartore: it is. but, you know, at least my life'll be spent doing something that's hopefully mattered to the world. ( ticking ) almost time for me to go.
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this is nissan intelligent mobility. ♪ have fast internet a littland now the besthat you mobile network too? yeah and get them together and save hundreds on your wireless bill. wow, that's great. oh, and this looks great. are these words for sale? no. go, go, go, go. now you can get fast, reliable internet and save hundreds on your wireless bill. that's simple, easy, awesome. taxi! should i have stopped her? get started with a limited time offer on xfinity internet for $19.99 a month for 12 months, plus ask how to get two-hundred-fifty back when you switch to xfinity mobile. ( ticking ) >> pelley: this past fall marked the 177th season of a renowned american institution: the new york philharmonic. it was the first symphony orchestra in north america, and
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is considered one of the finest in the world. its conductors have included legends: arturo toscanini, gustav mahler, and the most famous-ever american maestro, leonard bernstein. so, when its most recent conductor, alan gilbert, announced he would be departing, the world of classical music was abuzz. who would be chosen to fill the most coveted orchestra post in the country? the answer, a surprise pick: a dutchman with a hard-to- pronounce name, jaap van zweden. lesley stahl first reported the story in october, as new york audiences got a chance to meet the new maestro. (♪ stravinsky's "the rite of spring" playing ♪) jaap van zweden's official debut. ♪ ♪ in the beginning of this search for a new conductor, you weren't
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even on the list. >> jaap van zweden: no. >> stahl: did you want to be on the list? >> jaap van zweden: of course. >> stahl: so, what happened? >> jaap van zweden: well, i came and i-- i conducted them. and then suddenly, they put me on the list. >> stahl: oh! >> jaap van zweden: that's probably what happened. ( laughs ) ♪ ♪ >> stahl: in a world of maestros known for healthy egos and big personalities, 58-year-old jaap van zweden is no exception. with his intense focus, and some successful visits as a guest conductor, he managed to rise to the top of the list. >> i'd like to open the envelope and introduce the next music director of the new york philharmonic, jaap van zweden. ( cheers and applause ) >> stahl: but what he walked into was far from perfect harmony: huge budget deficits, organizational turmoil, and an aging hall in need of renovation. order for a man whow up far from new york city, in amsterdam, and who never dreamt
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of conducting. how many rooms up there? >> jaap van zweden: two... two rooms. >> stahl: for how many people? >> jaap van zweden: four. i would not say poor, but we had no money. >> stahl: that sounds poor. >> jaap van zweden: my mother had a little hair shop, very little. and my father was a piano teacher. >> stahl: so the music was in your house growing up. >> jaap van zweden: absolutely. and at the weekends, he played, to make some extra money, with gypsy violinists. and they would come to our little house, and rehearse there. and i told my father, "that's what i want to do." >> stahl: you told him? >> jaap van zweden: yes. >> stahl: he didn't tell you? >> jaap van zweden: no. no, i wanted to do that. i wanted to play the violin. >> stahl: and what jaap wants, he goes after, and tends to get. by eight, he was performing, and a few years later, won a national competition with a full scholarship to juilliard in new york city. he came on his own at 16, but he didn't stay long.
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♪ ♪ the dutch royal concertgebouw orchestra invited him back home to assume the prestigious post of first violinist. he was just 19 years old. he'd been back a year when he discovered something else he wanted. >> jaap van zweden: i went to this dance place in amsterdam, and i went inside. >> stahl: he says he was mesmerized by a striking young woman on the dance floor. >> jaap van zweden: a friend of me who was working there. i said, "do you know that girl? do you see that girl there?" and he said, "yes, i know who she is." i said, "well, i'm going to get married with her. i will marry her, 100%." >> stahl: she really is across the room? >> jaap van zweden: she's across the room. i never said hello, anything. >> stahl: well, did you get to meet her that night? >> jaap van zweden: yes. and she was not interested at all. >> stahl: at all? >> jaap van zweden: no. >> stahl: that girl, named aaltje, remembers a persistent young man whld about being a musician, and offered to leave tickets for her
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and a friend to see a concert. >> aaltje van zweden: this beautiful hall. so we were looking, and my friend and me were, like, "wow, this is gorgeous." and then, the concert started. and no jaap. so we-- i said to my friend, "see, it's all a joke. i think he's working in the cloakroom." >> stahl: fortunately for jaap, she stayed past the intermission, when he walked out onto the stage as the featured soloist. ♪ ♪ >> aaltje van zweden: and i was like, "wow. this is unbelievable." >> jaap van zweden: actually, i played so well this concerto at that-- at that day-- i really played for her. and i thought, that will do it. but then i had to wait months and months. so it was not easy for me. >> aaltje van zweden: i didn't know that! edlaughter ) in their early 2. jaap remained first violinist in amsterdam for almost two decades
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as they started a family, and he played under world-renowned conductors like leonard bernstein... "lenny" to jaap. it was bernstein, during a rehearsal at a newly-renovated concert hall in berlin, who inadvertently changed the course of jaap's life. >> jaap van zweden: he said to me, you know, "this hall is refurbished, and i would like to sit in the hall." >> stahl: so he could hear the acoustics? >> jaap van zweden: yes. "would you mind just-- take over the rehearsal and conduct for me the first symphony of mahler?" and i said, "but lenny, i-- i never conduct-- i cannot do it. i-- i never did that." he said, "doesn't matter, just do it." >> stahl: so he did, and bernstein told him he was lousy. >> jaap van zweden: and he was right. >> stahl: was he right? >> jaap van zweden: yeah, of course. but he said, "look, i saw something there. take this very seriously. see how it is for u >> stahl: conductors typically start young, but at age 38, jaap took a wild leap. he gave up the violin entirely to try to become a conductor.
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here you are, first violinist in one of the best orchestras in the world. >> jaap van zweden: yeah. >> stahl: and somehow you put your violin down. and now you go down to the bottom. >> jaap van zweden: to the bottom. >> stahl: as a conductor. >> jaap van zweden: yes. the conducting actually grabbed me by the throat. and, i could not resist. ♪ ♪ >> stahl: he started conducting wherever he could, and within a decade, had become chief conductor of the dallas symphony, where his work started attracting national attention. >> deborah borda: the progress of the dallas symphony from when jaap took over is almost unthinkable, it's so great. >> stahl: deborah borda, then- president of the los angeles philharmonic, was impressed. >> borda: it was a regional orchestra, and now i'd say it's one of the really fine america sympho. >> stahl: and he did that. >> borda: he did that single- handedly.
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♪ ♪ >> stahl: so what's the secret? how does a conductor make an orchestra great? jaap says the real work is in the long, detail-rich hours of rehearsal. >> jaap van zweden: this is the moment that there should be a body language, i think, from the strings, like... ♪ ( sings ). can we just do that? ♪ ♪ >> stahl: that's where his background as first violinist, borda says, sets him apart. >> borda: he knows the orchestra from the inside out. he communicates with each section, because they need very specific directions. >> jaap van zweden: please, horns and trumpets. ♪ ( sings ) that serves much better the music. third horn. >> borda: this is what makes an orchestra fall in love with him. >> jaap van zweden: that's way too loud, and rushed. >> stahl: but it isn't always love.
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jaap admits he's demanding. >> jaap van zweden: that is not together. >> stahl: and in dallas, some musicians complained to the newspaper. tactics of fear, over-demanding. you're-- you're too critical. >> jaap van zweden: i still remember that there was somebody who said, "yes, but i am afraid of you." i said, "no, you're not afraid of me. you are afraid of yourself. you did not prepare well, and then blame it on me." but, okay, you know, i-- i understand that we are all humans, and the best thing is to be as warm as possible. >> stahl: but you are warm. i've been with you for three days. >> jaap van zweden: yeah, but you did not play in my orchestra yet. >> stahl: no. ( laughs ) you won't be warm if i don't prepare. >> jaap van zweden: exactly. >> stahl: jaap's career has revolved around making music, but music has touched his personal life as well. his and aaltje's third child, benjamin, was diagnosed with autism so severe they were told he should be institutionalized.
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>> aaltje van zweden: when he was five, they told us he will never be able to live independently. he will never be able to have a relation with you or with his sister and brothers. >> stahl: never connect? >> aaltje van zweden: never connect. >> stahl: benjamin couldn't talk, but he loved hearing his parents sing to him. when one day they accidentally forgot a word to one of his favorite songs, he got upset. you didn't even know if he was understanding, up to that point. >> aaltje van zweden: no, we didn't have a clue. >> jaap van zweden: but the interesting thing is that we repeated the song and then, we left out again the same word. and then we actually put our hands in front of our mouth. and then he tried to remove the hand like this-- >> stahl: oh my gosh. >> jaap van zweden: to have the and then we told him, "we will finish the song. but you have to tell--" >> aaltje van zweden: try. >> jaap van zweden: try-- >> aaltje van zweden: the word. >> jaap van zweden: --the word. and finally, after months, he said his first word. >> stahl: oh my-- >> jaap van zweden: and so, but then, we had the feeling, "now
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we got you." because now we can leave out two words. this is benjamin. >> benjamin van zweden: hello. >> stahl: hello. >> benjamin van zweden: nice to meet you! >> stahl: today, at 29, benjamin not only talks, he's even learned some english. >> benjamin van zweden: sit down, please. >> stahl: and he has close relationships with his whole family, including jaap's father, who recently turned 90. >> benjamin van zweden: octopus, octopus. >> stahl: the van zwedens have created a foundation that offers music therapy to autistic children throughout the netherlands, and provides a home for young adults with autism, where benjamin now lives, as his parents spend more time in new york. now you come here and see this. >> jaap van zweden: i know. >> stahl: as opening night approached, jaap seemed excited by the challenge. and, he has a new partner. >> borda: why don't we do something what nobody expects? >> stahl: deborah borda, who jaap personally recruited to leave l.a. to become the new york phil's president and c.e.o.
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all the orchestras are suffering in terms of audience, age of the audience. >> borda: remember, orchestras are creatures of the 18th century. and here we are, well into the 21st century, how do we take these orchestras and make them relevant to our time? ♪ ♪ >> stahl: well, marketing, for starters. the new york philharmonic ran sleek, hip tv ads to introduce its new maestro. and, he has innovative plans to draw audiences in. new works by young composers; late-night concerts where people can listen to music over a glass of wine; and $5 performances for new york city workers. would you consider really good composers of-- of popular music for the symphony orchestra? >> jaap van zweden: for special occasions, absolutely. >> stahl: and he tossed out a few names that surprised us. >> jaap van zweden: i would love
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to work with pharrell. lady gaga. >> stahl: lady gaga. >> jaap van zweden: why not? isn't she fantastic? >> stahl: look out, new york philharmonic! jaap has been spotted attending raves-- well, when his youngest son alexander is the d.j.-- but we're not sure he'll be bringing that music to the concert hall any time soon. >> jaap van zweden: i don't know. do you call that music? >> aaltje van zweden: it's called techno. >> jaap van zweden: techno. >> aaltje van zweden: yeah. >> jaap van zweden: yes. you know, you have these incredible beats. bang, bang, bang, bang. and i try to understand, what is this? maybe i'm a little bit too old for that. ♪ ♪ >> stahl: so for opening night, stravinsky. an intense close to a rousing t for test ingkeewba ♪ >> jaap van zweden: if you think
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about all the phenomenal conductors who were before me, i just can be humble, because all those people were chosen, and they proved that they were the right choice. and now it's my time to prove that i was the right choice. ♪ ♪ ( cheers and applause ) ( ticking ) >> for a look at how "60 minutes" reports its stories, as well as interviews of correspondents and producers, go to sponsored by eucrisa. or the calf of a cutie. presiption eucrisa... at and below the surface of the skin. it blocks overactive pde4 enzymes... ...which is believed to reduce inflammation. and it's steroid free. do not use if you are allergic to eucrisa or its ingredients.
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( ticking ) >> pelley: i'm scott pelley. thanks for joining us. we will be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes". ( ticking )
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