top of page

Reviews from New Zealand Tour  2001


Passion, Charisma From a True Risk Taker

For one cliffhanging hour this American pianist burned up the keyboard with impassioned temperament. Barbara Nissman's fingers go straight to her heart. Her safety net is technique of a level that even the toughest Liszt wouldn't stop her in her tracks. Liszt's La Campanella didn't. For all her treacherously fast speed and volatile nuancing, she got there with a bravura performance that brought the audience to its feet. Yet she is neither a show-person nor hysterical. Everything is clearly thought out to get style and sonority right from each composer. She operates just as tellingly in the quietly introspective as in her caressing phrasing of Chopin's tender Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2 and in the second piece -Dance of the Sad Girl (surely the lushest melody Ginastera wrote) from the Tres Danzas Argentinas. In the last of these dances, the toughest piece in the recital, Nissman's ferocious cross accents dispatched untamed gauchos thundering across the pampas. What also excites is Nissman's range of colour shown at its most telling in Chopin's Scherzo No. 3 - a sonorous deep hymn decorated with filigree soft decoration up high and contrasted with heroic double octave fortissimos in the outer sections taken at such speed and power that I wondered whether Nissman's fingers would trip over themselves. Never. Her playing makes a mockery of that illusory cliché of discophiles "the definitive interpretation." Nissman spontaneous pianist that she is, would probably dismiss the term as a killjoy anyway. For Nissman nothing is definitive - which makes her such an excitingly unpredictable pianist. 

The Star, Christchurch, NZ   6/20/01 



'Landmark' Performance from Christchurch Symphony / Liszt No. 2, Totendanz

Pianist Barbara Nissman is a risk-taking live wire whose strongly characterized Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 and Totentanz brought out many subtleties not heard in conventional performances... Her solo encore of Liszt's poetic Consolation No. 3 confirmed what an outstandingly sensitive and refined pianist she is. Imagine her solo recital this week will be a sell-out. 

The Press, Christchurch, NZ   6/13/01 



Barbara Nissman immediately revealed a technique of unusual power... she captured the strength of Liszt as well as his crass bits. If one had any doubts about Nissman's sensitivity, however, these were allayed by her account of Liszt's lovely Consolation No. 3- played in response to the audience's enthusiastic applause. 

The Star, Christchurch, NZ   6/20/01 



Nissman on Piano 

The American pianist Barbara Nissman is one of the most vital visiting musicians to have been here for a long time. Not only does she have a prodigious technique but she also made the music live. Her mastery of style was exciting. 

The Press, Christchurch, NZ   6/20/01



A Benchmark in Physical Pianism- Prodigious Pianist Plays With Power, Passion

Pianist Barbara Nissman held her audience spellbound last night at her Theatre Royal recital of works by Chopin and Liszt... it was playing of searing intensity. 

The Daily News, New Plymouth, NZ   6/20/01 



Passionately Piano

. . . a brilliant performance. Every piece she played to perfection, with feeling and passion. 

Guardian Review, Palmerston North, NZ   6/26/01


bottom of page