Poetry, Passion & Bravura – World Renowned, Barbara Nissman

On Palm Sunday, be lifted and inspired by the emotional eloquence of “one of the last pianists in the grand Romantic tradition of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Rubinstein”, as world renowned pianist BARBARA NISSMAN makes her debut on Sunday, March 24 at 2 PM bringing her masterful, virtuosic bravura to Lincoln Hall in a program of glorious Romantic music, including Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Beethoven.

“Sheer bravura, rhapsodic lyricism, and classical restraint…”  The Times, London
“… a performance of stunning power and conviction.”  The Chicago Sun-Times
“A refined combination of delicacy and passion – her effortless technique with a restrained classicism.” The New York Times
“A perfect balance between her artistic mastery of the keyboard and her soul.”  Het Parool, Amsterdam

ARCA is grateful for the extraordinary generosity over many years of Barbara Bott – ARCA Board’s Secretary/Treasurer – and her husband Robert Jennings, who have sponsored Barbara Nissman’s concert, in honor of Robert returning to ARCA concerts after some months of recovering his health.

Barbara Nissman’s international career was personally launched by Eugene Ormandy who engaged her as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has performed with leading orchestras in Europe and America, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the National Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra, working with some of the major conductors of our time including Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Leonard Slatkin.

Acclaimed for her unparalleled program commentary in recitals, master classes, and her BBC television series, Barbara Nissman will bring to life the music and personalities of the composers – making accessible to her ARCA audience the magic of music. Nissman not only connects the music and its composer, but also she connects the composer to the listener.

In this chaotic time in the world, Barbara Nissman will bring a musical balm to her Lincoln Hall audience, as she believes that “music is the most direct path to the hearts of the people and necessary for the nurturing of the human spirit.” The Three Oranges Foundation was founded to support her work as “a performer, an interpreter, a teacher and as a human being. Her passion for music inspires others, and music is her ministry.”

Join us for her breathtaking, ravishing interpretations of Romantic masterpieces...

That a musical performance literally can be breathtaking was demonstrated at the end of pianist Barbara Nissman’s ravishing performance of the Chopin Db major Nocturne, an audience held its collective breath for what seemed an eternity. No one wanted to shatter the magic.”  The Kansas City Star

Adults $25  Members $20  Students $5  Call to reserve 724-659-3153 and pay by cash or check at the door or buy online here. 


“I have trouble articulating the difference between Nissman and other pianists. She seems willing to go over the cliff, hand in hand with the composer.” classical.net


Barbara Nissman continues the grand bravura tradition of romantic pianism. Her recordings of Prokofiev, Bartók and Ginastera are considered “definitive,” and she has garnered praise for her series of recordings of nineteenth-century composers, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms and also Rachmaninoff.  All of Nissman’s recordings are now available on her new record label, Three Oranges Recordings. (www.threeorangesrecordings.com)


Nissman made history in 1989 by becoming the first pianist to perform the complete piano sonatas of Sergei Prokofiev in a series of three recitals in both New York and London. Her recordings of this repertoire represented the first complete set of Prokofiev Sonatas made available on compact disc. A noted Prokofiev scholar and authority in her own right, Ms. Nissman was invited by the former Soviet Union to travel to Moscow and collaborate with leading Soviet musicians on a detailed study of the 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 US.

In April ’98, Ms. Nissman was invited by the Moscow Conservatory for concerts and master classes on Prokofiev; she also presented master classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. For the 50th anniversary of Prokofiev’s death in 2003, she performed all five Piano Concertos throughout Europe and the United States as well as presenting a series of lecture-recitals devoted to a better understanding of his music. In their cover story on Prokofiev, BBC Music Magazine recommended Nissman’s recordings as the best available for Prokofiev’s piano music.


“A magnificent interpreter of my music, one of the best pianists in the world.” Alberto Ginastera
With pianist Nissman, Slatkin, and the CSO you got the sense of three mighty forces of nature coalescing: I don’t expect ever to hear the piece (Ginastera Piano Concerto) done better.”  The Chicago Tribune

Ms. Nissman has long been associated with the music of Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera and is the dedicatee of the composer’s final work, the Sonata No. 3. In 1976 she was invited by the composer to play his Piano Concerto No. 1 with l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in celebration of his sixtieth birthday. Both Gramophone and the American Record Guide chose her recording of Ginastera’s complete solo piano and piano/chamber works as one of the best releases of 1989.

Recently, Barbara was invited by the BBC to co-host a five-part radio series that featured Ginastera as Composer-of-the-Week on Radio 3. In 2011, she presented the premiere of his Concierto Argentino and the premiere of the original version of the Concerto No. 2. Ms. Nissman is also the editor of the new critical edition of the Second Piano Concerto, published by Boosey & Hawkes.  The first recording of Ginastera’s Three Piano Concertos has just been released.

Master Classes/lectures

Ms. Nissman has successfully taken music from the confines of the concert-hall and has brought it directly to the people, performing in a variety of venues for all kinds of audiences: school children, university students, factory workers, prisoners, hospital patients, on Indian reservations, and even on a barge in the middle of a canal in Amsterdam.

Her ability to talk about her composer “friends” led BBC Television to film a 16-week musical series with Barbara.  These informal programs, focusing on the music of one composer, combine music with casual dialogue, enhancing the listening experience of the listener, no matter their musical background. Her opening program of the series features the music of “Franz Liszt, The Elvis of the Keyboard.” 

Deere & Co., the farm equipment manufacturer, was inspired to create a successful concert-lecture series with Barbara and their factory workers— the first of its kind in America and then hired her as their first artist-in-residence to serve their community and tour their facilities world-wide.

Performer, writer, lecturer, producer, film-maker and frequent guest artist/clinician, Barbara Nissman has toured and given master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, the Far East, New Zealand, and South America.

Barbara Nissman received her doctorate in music from the University of Michigan. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now calls West Virginia home and lives on a farm in Greenbrier County.

In 2008, Barbara was the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award from the State of West Virginia, and in 2016 was honored by the State for her artistic contributions. In 2020 she received the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

In June 2023, Barbara was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame (see video below). West Virginia University will award Barbara an Honorary Doctorate in Music in May 2024.

In a 2023 article at the time of her induction into the Hall of Fame, Barbara shared her courageous personal journey as a woman and artist, including moving to a farm in West Virginia with her husband, a distinguished and acclaimed poet, a few short years before he passed, leaving her widowed and living alone in the mountains at age 46.

“I recalled the words of my late husband who talked about ‘the responsibility of the artist to their God-given talent and the obligation to share it with others.’

So once again, I started over. I relearned how to work at the piano and very gradually the joy started to return. I remember that when I finally had the courage to record Rachmaninoff’s Preludes, I realized that there was nothing more in life for me to fear. Having experienced the horrors of life and death, I was no longer afraid to go deeper into Rachmaninoff’s dark soul. I knew that he would not leave me alone in that dark abyss, and his music would help me reemerge with hope back into the sunshine. It was remarkable to me that now I was finally capable of sharing these deep feelings with others — taking them to that special place so that they could feel and be part of the emotional journey. Music can touch souls. It can be life-changing!” Where Walden Meets West Virginia, October 15, 2023

The Three Oranges Foundation (www.threeorangesfoundation.org)  has recently been established to continue Nissman’s educational projects.

For more information: www.barbaranissman.com

Barbara Nissman Program – March 24, 2024

“Music to Love”

Prokofiev            Sonata No. 1 Op. 1

Rachmaninoff    Three Preludes
Op. 3 No. 2 in C# minor
Op. 32 No. 5 in G major
Op. 32 No. 12 in G-sharp minor

Beethoven           Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 (“Waldstein”)
Allegro con brio
Introduzione: Adagio molto

Rondo: Allegretto moderato- Prestissimo


Chopin                 Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2 in Db

Liszt                    Sonata in B minor

Experience Early Spring in Foxburg

Photograph by John M. Karian

Plan to make it a day of it in beautiful Foxburg on the Allegheny – or spend an overnight and have a refreshing Spring weekend in Foxburg!

Before the concert, arrive early lunch at The Allegheny Grille  – or have dinner after the concert in Lincoln Hall in the beautiful sunset. 

Be sure to make a reservation for the main dining room with tables overlooking the stunning Allegheny River in early Spring.

Or for more casual fare enjoy supper – salads, sandwiches or their special April pizza – at Foxburg Pizza.

Everyone loves chocolate – for dessert after lunch or a treat before the concert stop by at Divani Chocolatier and Barrista to pick up a box of hand-made organic chocolates or their famous chocolate caramels.

And while there, enjoy a gourmet chocolate or a specialty coffee to fortify your spirits before the concert.

Be sure to save time to enjoy a wine tasting in the newly renovated Foxburg Wine Cellars or enjoy a glass of wine on the beautiful, enclosed patio on a warm early April afternoon  – or bring some wine home to celebrate Spring – like their deliciously robust River Queen.

And for those graduations and birthdays coming up, shop for special gifts in the gift shop area of the Foxburg Wine Cellars.

Make it an Early Spring Get-away in Foxburg – and enjoy an overnight on Saturday or Sunday night in the newly renovated and elegantly rustic Foxburg Inn where every room has a view of the river.

Reserve early and get the room with the fireplace!