Romantic repertoire specialist Barbara Nissman will give a benefit piano recital and masterclass Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22 at R. Kassman Piano Recital Hall in Berkeley. Proceeds will benefit the Robert James Fascino Foundation for AIDS in cooperation with concertedeffort.org. The benefit recital will be given Saturday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. with reception to follow. The masterclass for young Bay Area pianists will be given Sunday, March 22, at 2 p.m. and is free of charge; participants have been selected in advance.

Well known for her definitive recordings of the complete piano music (solo & chamber) of Alberto Ginastera, and the complete piano sonatas of Sergei Prokofiev, recently reissued on Pierian Records, Barbara Nissman’s roots remain within the nineteenth century. Hailed by a New York critic as "one of the last pianists in the grand Romantic tradition of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Rubinstein" her connection to romantic pianism reaffirms her approach to the twentieth-century pianism of Prokofiev and Ginastera.

Barbara Nissman's international career was personally launched by Eugene Ormandy who had previously engaged her as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has performed with the leading orchestras of Europe and America including the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Munich Philharmonic; in the US she has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the National Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra among others. She has worked with some of the major conductors of our time including Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Leonard Slatkin.

In 1989 she made history by becoming the first pianist to perform the complete piano sonatas of Sergei Prokofiev in a series of three recitals both in New York and in 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.
Also well known for her writings and interpretations of the music of Alberto Ginastera, Barbara Nissman is the dedicatee of Ginastera’s final work, the Third Piano Sonata. 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 Ginastera recording as one of the best releases in 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.

Barbara Nissman recently appeared on stage with Don Henley of the Eagles and Billy Joel in a gala fundraiser for the Walden Woods project, held at Lincoln Center. She was also one of the participants with Leonard Slatkin at the Kennedy Center’s 25th Anniversary Gala Concert which was broadcast on PBS Television. She has also been involved with the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation benefit concert series, “A Concerted Effort” since 2002. To date these concerts have raised well over one million dollars for AIDS service organizations worldwide.

The Robert James Frascino Aids Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit tax-exempt charitable organization whose sole mission is to provide crucial services for men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS and to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic through advocacy and education.

In 1996 Dr. Robert Frascino and Dr. Steven Natterstad, HIV/AIDS specialist physicians and concert pianists, planted the initial seed for The Foundation when they arranged for an intimate musical soiree in their home to raise funds for a needy local AIDS service organization. Due to the overwhelming success of that initial benefit concert, Frascino and Natterstad founded The Concerted Effort HIV/AIDS benefit concert series through which they, along with San Francisco Conservatory of Music Professor Dr. William Wellborn, have performed numerous classical and popular piano concerts throughout the state of California. To date, these efforts have raised well over $1,000,000 for crucial HIV/AIDS services worldwide, ranging from hospice care in Los Angeles to AIDS education in the primary schools on the Mendocino Coast to providing AIDS medications to HIV positive pregnant women in Africa, thereby greatly reducing the chance they will pass the virus on to their unborn children.
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Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

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