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Barbara Nissman

Barbara Nissman is best known for her performances of the piano music of Sergey Prokofiev and Alberto Ginastera. She has written extensively about Prokofiev's works, conducted master classes and given lectures on them, and in 1989, was the first to perform a complete cycle of the sonatas in a three-recital series in both New York and London. Nissman has also lavished attention on Ginastera, who dedicated his final work, the Third Piano Sonata, to her. But Nissman has also performed works by Liszt, Rachmaninov, Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and many others. She has concertized throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand, and appeared as soloist with the major orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, with many leading European orchestras, and with several major conductors, including Ormandy, Muti, Skrowaczewski, and Slatkin. Nissman was host of a 16-week BBC television series entitled Barbara and Friends, which also appeared on American public television stations. She has made numerous recordings, most of them originally issued on the Pierian label and reissued on Nissman’s own label, Three Oranges Recordings. Nissman was born in Philadelphia, PA, on December 31, 1944. She studied music at the University of Michigan and with György Sándor. Nissman met Ginastera in 1971 when she was performing his First Piano Concerto at UM's contemporary music festival. It was a pivotal year for her: she went on a Eugene Ormandy-sponsored concert tour of Europe, and then debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Thor Johnson in Ann Arbor, MI, with the Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody. She then appeared with Ormandy and toured with the Orchestra the following season. In 1976, at the invitation of Ginastera, Nissman performed his First Piano Concerto with L'orchestre de la Suisse Romande at his 60th birthday celebrations in Geneva. Nissman would soon turn to Prokofiev, a composer whose music she knew from her student years. From the 1980s, in fact, she has been among his most ardent advocates. In 1988 she recorded all the sonatas and other piano works for Newport Classic, which issued the recordings in 1989 to general acclaim. During the 1991-1992 season, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Prokofiev's birth, Nissman again performed cycles of the composer's sonatas throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 1998, she was invited to present recitals and master classes on Prokofiev by both the Moscow and St. Petersburg conservatories, and in 2015, she was the featured performer at the dedication of the Prokofiev Archive at Columbia University with members of the Prokofiev family in attendance. Nissman's book Bartók and The Piano: A Performer's View, with a CD insert, was published by Scarecrow Press in 2002. She has edited the critical edition of Ginastera's Piano Concerto No. 2 and developed DVDs on Prokofiev and on Liszt. Nissman's recordings include several firsts: Ginastera's Concierto Argentino, the original score of his Piano Concerto No. 2, and Bartók's unpublished 1898 Piano Sonata. In 2008 Nissman, who resides in West Virginia, received that state's Governor's Distinguished Service to the Arts Award.
© Rovi Staff /TiVo
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