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Cultural Center to host free Liszt recital by Barbara Nissman on May 5


Internationally renown pianist Barbara Nissman will grace the stage of the West Virginia State Theater in the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, when the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History presents her in concert on Saturday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. Nissman will enhance her performance by talking to the audience about her “friend” composer Franz Liszt and relating historical and anecdotal information. The program, entitled Franz Liszt--The Elvis Presley of the Keyboard, is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Nissman launched her international career in 1971 with a highly acclaimed European tour, personally sponsored by conductor Eugene Ormandy. In Europe, she has appeared as a soloist with the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Munich Philharmonic. In the United States, Nissman has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has worked with some of the world’s most famous conductors, including Riccardo Muti and Leonard Slatkin.

In 1989, Nissman made history by becoming the first pianist ever to perform the complete piano sonatas of Sergei Prokofiev in a series of three performances in New York and London. In the wake of these historic performances, the complete sonatas and other major solo piano works of Prokofiev were released in a three-volume recording by Newport Classic and represented the first such set of Prokofiev’s music ever made on compact disc. “Nissman brings to these fascinating sonatas an all-too-rare combination of stunning technique and unmistakable thoughtfulness,” wrote the American Record Guide.

A noted Prokofiev scholar and authority in her own right, Nissman has traveled to Moscow and collaborated with leading Soviet musicians on a detailed study of Prokofiev manuscripts housed in the Central State Archives. In commemoration of the composer’s 100th birthday, she performed the complete cycle of his piano sonatas throughout Europe and the U.S. during the 1991-92 season.

Nissman also has been associated with the music of Alberto Ginastera. In 1976, she was invited by the composer to play his Piano Concerto No. 1 with l’orchestre de Suisse Romande in celebration of his 60th birthday. Her recording of his complete solo and chamber works for the piano, including Sonata No. 3, written expressly for her, is available on the Newport Classic label. Both Gramophone magazine and the American Record Guide chose this recording as one of the best in 1989.

In addition to orchestral appearances in the U.S. and Europe during the 2000-01 season, she is scheduled for concerts, lectures and master classes in China and also will be touring Australia and New Zealand. Last October, she performed at the Cultural Center and for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. When not on the road, Nissman lives on a farm in Lewisburg, W.Va.

For more information about Franz Liszt--The Elvis Presley of the Keyboard or other programs of the Division, call (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Department of Arts, Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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