"Brahms in Context": Maria Sampen, violin, and Michael Seregow, piano

October 28, 2016

Afternoon musical recital of Romantic era favorites;
Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m.

TACOMA, Wash. – Three great piano and violin works that were created by a trio of musicians whose work blossomed in the Late Romantic period—Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, and César Franck—will be performed at University of Puget Sound.

Maria Sampen, School of Music professor of violin and string department chair, will play violin and Michael Seregow, visiting assistant professor of music, will be at the piano for the Jacobsen Series recital Brahms in Context. The afternoon concert will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20, in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus. Schneebeck is a short walk from the parking lot at N. 14th Street and Union Ave. Ticket information and a map of campus are below.

“All three of the pieces we will perform are beautiful examples of Late Romantic work—singing, lush, and dramatic,” said Sampen. “I chose the title Brahms in Context because of an earlier series I was doing with Tom Rosenkranz at Bowling Green State University. We were performing all of Brahms’ works for violin and piano, paired with pieces by contemporaries of Brahms and composers who were influenced by Brahms’ writing.”

First on the program is Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Opus 22, by Clara Schumann (1819–1896), a close friend of Brahms. She was a virtuoso concert pianist who, along with her husband, Robert Schumann, was instrumental in helping Brahms establish himself as a composer. The three romances, which mix merriment with pathos, were among the last pieces she wrote, before she devoted herself to keeping her husband’s music alive through public concerts, following his early death.

Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in G Major, Opus 78 was written by Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) for his friend, the prominent violinist Joseph Joachim, who was also close to Clara Schumann. The sonata, also known as the Rain Sonata, has a leading theme that appears and reappears as a fragmented rhythmic motif throughout all three movements.

The final work on the program, Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, by César Franck (1822–1890), was also written for and dedicated to an important violinist and friend of the composer: Belgian violinist, Eugene Ysaÿe. Franck, who was also Belgian born but identified mostly as a French composer, presented the sonata as a gift to Ysaÿe when he was married in 1886. The Franck sonata, like Brahms’ sonata, is an important and much loved staple of the violin repertoire.

Maria Sampen, professor and chair of the string department at Puget Sound, is a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and teacher who has performed in Europe, Asia, and across North America. She is in demand as a performer of both standard and experimental works. Sampen is a member of The IRIS Orchestra, Brave New Works, and Puget Sound Piano Trio. During the summer she performs at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, in Washington. She was on the faculties of Brevard Music Festival, in North Carolina, from 2008 to 2012, and of the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute from 2014 to 2015. She has twice received Puget Sound’s Thomas A. Davis Teaching Award, and her students have won top awards in national competitions. Sampen holds bachelor and doctoral degrees in violin performance from University of Michigan, and a Master of Music degree from Rice University.           

Michael Seregow, a Pacific Northwest native, has performed as a soloist and collaborative artist throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has worked with artists including bassoonist William Ludwig and baritone Richard Zeller, as well as members of the Eugene Symphony and Oregon Mozart Players. Seregow has won numerous competitions, including the University of Oregon Concerto Competition, the Oregon Music Teachers Association Young Artist Piano Competition, and the Vernon L. Wiscarson competition for young musicians. He earned a doctoral degree in piano performance from University of Oregon. His students have been prizewinners in local and national competitions.

The Jacobsen Series, named in honor of Leonard Jacobsen, former chair of the piano department at Puget Sound, has been running since 1984. The Jacobsen Series Scholarship Fund awards annual music scholarships to outstanding student performers and scholars. The fund is sustained entirely by season subscribers and ticket sales.

FOR TICKETS: Tickets are available online at tickets.pugetsound.edu, or at Wheelock Information Center, 253.879.3100. Admission is $15 for the general public; $10 for seniors (55+), students, military, and Puget Sound faculty and staff. The concert is free for current Puget Sound students. Group ticket rates are available for parties of 10 or more by calling 253.879.3555 in advance. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

For directions and a map of the campus: pugetsound.edu/directions
For accessibility information please contact accessibility@pugetsound.edu or 253.879.3931, or visit pugetsound.edu/accessibility.

Press photos of Maria Sampen and Michael Seregow can be downloaded from pugetsound.edu/pressphotos
Photos on page: From top right: Johannes Brahms (1853); Maria Sampen (by Ross Mulhausen), Michael Seregow. 

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