The Art of Strings

UPS violin sorceress Maria Sampen will take the lead in an East-meets-West musical performance Jan. 9. Photo courtesy of Classical Tuesdays in Old Town

Ring in the New Year 2018 with Classical Tuesdays at Slavonian Hall in Old Town Tacoma. Following a recent visit to China, Maria Sampen and Tim Christie, joined by harpist Catherine Case, will perform music of Chen-Yi and Bright Sheng, as well as Saint-Saens and other composers. The concert takes place at Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th St., Old Town Tacoma on Tuesday Jan. 9, 7 p.m.

Sampen, professor of violin at the University of Puget Sound, enjoys a vibrant musical career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral performer, recording artist and teacher. In demand as a performer of both standard repertoire and new experimental works, her engagements include concertos, concerts and masterclasses in Europe, Asia, Canada and all over the United States.

Sampen’s recent performance schedule includes solo recitals and masterclasses at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China. Her 2015 schedule also included performances of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and the premiere of David Glenn’s “Romantic Rhapsody on Themes of Mozart” with the Walla Walla Symphony, performances with the Turtle Island Quartet in Seattle and as a featured chamber musician at the Icicle Creek Summer Chamber Music Institute and the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival.

Sampen teaches a talented studio of violinists at the University of Puget Sound where she coaches chamber music, directs the New Music Ensemble and chairs the string department. She has also served on the faculty at the Brevard Music Festival and the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute. Sampen’s students have won major awards with the MTNA Competition, the Tacoma Philharmonic Solo Competition, the American String Teacher Washington State Competition, and the Rockin’ Fiddle Challenge.

Sampen performed and studied at the Mozarteum Sommerakademie, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workingshop, the Aspen Festival, Tanglewood and the Musicorda Festival. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Rice University and was also a fellow at Aspen and the Tanglewood Music Festival. Her major teachers include Paul Kantor, Kenneth Goldsmith and Paul Makara. In addition to her work as a soloist, Sampen concertizes frequently with her new music group, Brave New Works, as well as the IRIS Orchestra of Tennessee, and the Puget Sound Piano Trio.

Christie, affiliate artist faculty at the University of Puget Sound, is the artistic director and founder of the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival. He is a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and is active as a chamber musician, recording artist and teacher. In addition to his engagements in the Northwest, Christie performs as a chamber musician throughout the United States. He is the solo violist of the contemporary ensemble Brave New Works, violinist with the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis and is on the violin faculty at the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina, where he serves as principal second violin of the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. Before moving to Tacoma, Christie was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach.

A native of Washington, D.C., Christie began his musical studies at the age of 9. He spent nine summers as a violin student at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. He then went on to study with Andrew Jennings and Paul Kantor at the University of Michigan, where he earned undergraduate degrees in both English literature and violin performance, and a MMus in violin performance. Following his studies at Michigan, Christie earned a fellowship with the New World Symphony.

Classical Tuesday in Old Town performances are free, but donations are appreciated. All ages are welcome. A ramp is available from the parking area in the alley.

For more information, visit

Subscribe to our newsletter

To stay updated with all the latest news, and offers.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.