Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Lucy Mauro

Committee Co-Chair

Peter Amstutz

Committee Member

Peter Amstutz

Committee Member

William Haller

Committee Member

Mikylah Myers

Committee Member

Deborah Janson


This research paper focuses on the life and work of American concert pianist Barbara Nissman (b. 1944). Her extensive work as a performer, writer, lecturer and guest clinician makes Nissman one of the most accomplished artists of our time. This paper is the first comprehensive look at Nissman’s career and her diverse contributions to piano study and performance as a leading expert on the piano music of Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983), Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), Béla Bartók (1881-1945), and Franz Liszt (1811-1886). As an overview of Nissman’s life and career, this paper provides both a thorough presentation of Nissman’s contributions and serves as a resource for presenting her work to a wider audience. The paper includes a biography of Nissman, supported by her own personal and professional accounts; separate chapters on the piano music of Alberto Ginastera, Béla Bartók, Franz Liszt and Sergei Prokofiev with Nissman’s remarks on each composer’s compositional language along with study and performance suggestions; a revealing interview with Nissman discussing her professional career, experience working with prominent musicians, and advice for the next generation of pianists; and a detailed list of Nissman’s recordings and publications.