Two classics and two new works, Friday, Nov. 8

TACOMA, Wash. – Maria Sampen, a Tacoma violinist known for her vibrant interpretations of standard and experimental works, will open the season for the Faculty Recital Series at University of Puget Sound.

The director of strings at Puget Sound has chosen a program titled “Exploration.” It includes two classical sonatas that showcase the virtuosity of the violin and the debut performance of two adventurous new works. Oksana Ezhokina, chair of piano studies at Pacific Lutheran University, will accompany Sampen on piano.

“Exploration” will be presented on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Everyone is welcome and ticket information is below. The program includes:

Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 9, Opus 47 (“Kreutzer”)
Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata No. 6
Mark Phillips: Violin Power for Solo Violin and Interactive Digital Media (Premiere)
Andrew Mead: Sonata No. 3 for Solo Violin, Movement VI “In Memoriam M.B.”(Premiere)

“The 'Kreutzer' sonata is a tour de force for violin and piano,” Sampen said. “It is a classic, but it is still as inventive and creative today as it was at its premiere 210 years ago. The great violinist, Eugène Ysaÿe, wrote his set of six solo sonatas 90 years ago. Although these works are known as virtuosic showpieces, they also feature many elements of early 20th century musical modernism.

“The two other works are brand new—in fact, this will be the first time they have ever been performed live,” Sampen continued. “Andrew Mead dedicated his solo Sonata No. 3 to me. The final movement was written in memory of Mead’s teacher, Milton Babbitt, who passed away in January 2011.

Mark Phillips’ piece, Violin Power, is an exciting work for violin and interactive media. Instead of the usual piano accompaniment, I’ll be accompanied by my laptop. I am thrilled to bring this mix of new and old to the stage. Each audience member will find comfort in the familiar and excitement in the new.”        

Maria Sampen, associate professor in the School of Music at Puget Sound, is a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral performer, recording artist, and teacher. She has performed as a concerto soloist with orchestras across the United States, and as a chamber musician in Europe, Asia, and throughout North America. She is in demand as a performer of both classical and new music and frequently collaborates with the leading composers of our time. Sampen is a member of the Puget Sound Piano Trio, The IRIS Orchestra, and the ensemble Brave New Works.

A two-time recipient of University of Puget Sound’s Thomas A. Davis Excellence in Teaching Award, Sampen maintains a full studio of students from the university and community. She spends her summers teaching and performing on the faculty of Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina and Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival in Washington.

Oksana Ezhokina is chair of piano studies at Pacific Lutheran University. A winner of piano competitions in Russia and the United States, she frequently appears as a guest recitalist and chamber musician on concert series across the United States and Europe .She is the pianist of the acclaimed Volta Piano Trio (formerly Icicle Creek Piano Trio), whose recent recordings for the Con Brio label received accolades in multiple international music magazines, including The Strad, Gramophone, and American Record Guide.

The Faculty Recital Series is produced by the School of Music at University of Puget Sound.

FOR TICKETS order online at, or call Wheelock Information Center at 253.879.6013 to purchase with a credit card. Admission is $12.50 for the general public; $8.50 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.

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