Maria Sampen, Director of Strings, Associate Professor of Violin

Maria Sampen enjoys a vibrant musical career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral performer, recording artist and teacher. She is in demand as a performer of both standard repertoire and new and experimental works. Her performing engagements have taken her to Europe, Asia, Canada, and across the United States and on several radio broadcasts throughout the country, including live appearances on KING FM in Seattle, and public radio stations in Michigan, Nevada, Indiana, and Illinois.  During the academic year, she performs frequently with her new music group, Brave New Works , the IRIS Orchestra, and the Puget Sound Piano Trio. Along with her husband, Tim Christie, she spends summers performing at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival in Eastern Washington and the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina.

Professor Sampen teaches violin and coaches a variety of chamber ensembles. Twice she has received the university’s Thomas A. Davis Teaching Award for teaching excellence as well as the university’s John Lantz Senior Fellowship for Research and Advanced Study in teaching.  Her students have won top awards in competitions by the American String Teachers Association, Music Teachers National Association, Tacoma Youth Symphony Orchestra, Marrowstone Music Festival, University of Puget Sound, and many others.  Her students also have attended summer music festivals around the world and have gone on to leading graduate programs throughout the country. 

Professor Sampen holds bachelor and doctoral degrees in violin performance from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music degree from Rice University. She has also attended the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg, Austria.  Her major teachers include Paul Kantor, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Paul Makara. She has received grants from American Composers Alliance and Aaron Copland Fund.  As a recording artist, she is featured on Brave New Works’ recording of quintets by Bolcom and Albright as well as on a new recording of chamber works by Marilyn Shrude.   She have been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Festival, and her string quartet held residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and the Musicorda Festival in Massachusetts.