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Cultural Center to host free Russian-inspired concert by pianist Barbara Nissman on May 11


Internationally renowned 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 Division of Culture and History presents her in concert on Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. Nissman will enhance her performance by taking the audience back to the 19th century and Tsarist Russia and the true beginnings of Russian music. The program, entitled The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

The concert will incorporate the music of seven Russian composers: Sergie Prokofiev, Peter Ilyich Tschaikovsky, Alexander Scriabin, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Mili Balikirev. In addition, Nissman will relate historical and anecdotal information about these composers and others in her program.

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, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the West Virginia Symphony. 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 concerts 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. The sonata recordings have been reissued by Pierian Records, a label devoted to historic releases.

Nissman will be recording all five Prokofiev concertos in Ukraine this August and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death in 2003 with concerts and lectures in Amsterdam and throughout Spain, Holland, England, Russia, New Zealand and the United States.

Nissman has written two books--Bartok and the Piano: A Performer’s View is to be published by Scarecrow Press in September 2002 and Prokofiev and the Piano: A Performer’s View is slated for publication in 2003.

Nissman has performed twice at the Cultural Center, including an October 2000 concert entitled Chopin: The Popular Poet of the Piano, and a May 2001 performance, Franz Liszt--The Elvis Presley of the Keyboard. When not on the road, she lives on a farm in Lewisburg.

For more information about The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!, or other Cultural Center programs, call (304) 558-0162.

The West Virginia Division of 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 Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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