Maria Sampen

Maria Sampen

Professor, Music

Maria Sampen, Professor of Violin at University of Puget Sound, enjoys a vibrant career as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and teacher. Equally at home with repertoire ranging from classical to avant-garde to popular styles, Dr. Sampen has delighted audiences with her eclectic programs, her passionate performance style and her highly expressive playing. She has performed in Europe, Asia, Canada and all over the United States.

Dr. Sampen’s solo and chamber music appearances have brought her to prominent venues including Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall, Symphony Space (NY), Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, Town Hall (Seattle), the Chicago Cultural Center and the Detroit Institute of Art. She has given recitals and masterclasses at universities throughout the country including the University of Michigan, Cornell, Eastman, the Boston Conservatory, the University of Oregon, the University of Minnesota, Bowling Green State University, Vanderbilt, and the University of Washington. She has also been a guest soloist and master class clinician at the University of British Columbia and the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China.

Dr. Sampen is a passionate supporter of contemporary music and has commissioned and premiered concertos for violin and orchestra by composers Marilyn Shrude, David Glenn and Robert Hutchinson. Sampen has released recordings on AMP Records, Block M Records, Perspectives in New Music/Open Space and Origin Records. Additionally, she has commissioned and premiered an impressive body of chamber works, collaborating with composers such as William Bolcom, William Albright, Bright Sheng, Marcos Balter, Andrew Mead, Robert Morris, Nico Muhly and Forrest Pierce.

In addition to her work as a soloist, Dr. Sampen concertizes frequently with her piano trio, the Puget Sound Trio. She was a member of the new music group, Brave New Works from 2000-2020. In 2019, the University of Puget Sound awarded her the Kristine Bartanen Research Award for remarkable accomplishments in research and professional development. She is also a Sigma Alpha Iota Distinguished National Arts Associate. 

Dr. Sampen teaches a talented studio of violinists at the University of Puget Sound. She also coaches chamber music, teaches String Pedagogy and Aural Skills and chairs the string department. She has twice received the University of Puget Sound’s Thomas A. Davis Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. Her students are frequent winners of local concerto competitions and have won top awards at the Music Teacher National Association Competition, the Tacoma Philharmonic Solo Competition, the Washington State Solo and Ensemble Competition, and the American String Teacher Washington State Competition. Dr. Sampen has also served on the faculties of the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Hilton Head Chamber Music Institute in South Carolina and the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute in Washington.

Dr. Sampen graduated with highest honors from the University of Michigan (Bachelor of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts) and Rice University (Masters of Music). Her major teachers include Paul Kantor, Kenneth Goldsmith and Paul Makara. She has also performed and studied at the Mozarteum Sommerakademie, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Musicorda Festival, the Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workshop, and as a fellow at both the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals.

Dr. Sampen loves working with her brilliant and talented students at the University of Puget Sound. The 2023-24 university violin studio includes 25 violinists hailing from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, California, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico. Additionally, she teaches a studio of 10 pre-college and adult students who travel to Tacoma for weekly lessons from all over the greater Tacoma-Seattle area. She believes that every student is capable of growth and positive change. She has been delighted to make her career at a place that also holds these values. She is committed to helping her students reach their maximum potential, not only as artists but as citizens of this world.


Watch Dr. Sampen perform the Grażyna Bacewicz Sonata No. 2 for Solo Violin, Presto on YouTube.


Applied Violin
Aural Skills I and II
String Pedagogy 

BM University of Michigan 1997
MM Rice University 1999
DMA University of Michigan 2002
Chamber Music MUS 168-G Spring 2024
Chamber Music MUS 368-G Spring 2024
Chamber Music MUS 168-G Fall 2024
String Pedagogy MUS 355-A Fall 2024
Chamber Music MUS 368-G Fall 2024

Contact Information

Music 221