The Puget Sound Piano Trio is the ensemble-in-residence at University of Puget Sound School of Music. The Trio’s celebrated performances on the Jacobsen Concert Series and in other Pacific Northwest venues reach both their campus community and a larger regional and national audience.


Over the group’s 30-year history, renowned performers of prior decades have retired from the School of Music and new generations of virtuoso artists have stepped into their shoes. Today, the trio is composed of Puget Sound faculty members Maria Sampen (violin), Alistair MacRae (cello), and Tanya Stambuk (piano). These three musicians come from distinguished musical backgrounds, bringing a rich variety of professional experiences to their work as an ensemble. They have appeared individually and as a trio with orchestras and at major music festivals throughout the United States and abroad. They have performed in such venues as Benaroya Hall (Seattle), Lincoln Center (New York), Carnegie Hall (New York), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), and at numerous colleges and universities.

The Puget Sound Piano Trio is equally at home performing repertoire from the standard classical canon and hot-off-the-press works of living composers. Their commitment to performing new music extends not only to works from the classical world but to pieces based on jazz, popular, and folk traditions.

In addition to performing on the concert stage, the Trio is deeply committed to educational outreach. As part of this mission, the ensemble gives free workshops, master classes, and concerts at schools in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the United States. The Trio believes that music and art should be a part of every child’s education.




Maria 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 recital 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 recitalist and master class clinician at the University of British Columbia and the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China. In addition to her work as a soloist, Dr. Sampen concertizes frequently with her new music group, Brave New Works, the Puget Sound Piano Trio, and the IRIS Orchestra of Tennessee. Dr. Sampen is a passionate supporter of contemporary music and has commissioned and premiered recent concertos for violin and orchestra by composers David Glenn, Marilyn Shrude and Robert Hutchinson. Sampen has released recordings on AMP Records, Block M Records and Perspectives in New Music/Open Space. 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. Dr. Sampen is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Rice University. 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.



Alistair has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral principal throughout North America and in Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. His playing has been praised for its "rich sound and lyrical phrasing" (Palm Beach Daily News) and his performances have been featured in radio broadcasts across the United States on WQXR, WWFM, WDAV, WCQS, KING FM, and Vermont Public Radio. Mr. MacRae is the Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel Artist in Residence at the University of Puget Sound; is Principal Cello of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra; and also performs with his wife, soprano Allison Pohl, in the voice and cello duo Soprello. In addition, he is a member of the Artist Faculty at the Brevard Music Center. As a chamber musician and recitalist, he has performed in Carnegie Hall's Zankel and Weill Halls; Seattle's Benaroya Hall; at Palm Beach's Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; in New York City chamber music venues such as BargeMusic, Merkin Hall, the 92nd St Y, and Miller Theatre at Columbia University; at numerous colleges and universities; and on concert series throughout the United States. He has appeared on several concert series presented by Carnegie Hall; as a member of groups such as the Richardson Chamber Players, Berkshire Bach Ensemble, and Fountain Ensemble; and at festivals such as the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, Monadnock Music, and Music Festival of the Hamptons. His past projects include recordings of chamber music by Kodaly, Telemann, and Laurie Altman; music for The Discovery Channel; and ensemble albums of music by Mozart and Scott Joplin. His eclectic collaborations have found him on stage with Paul Taylor Dance Company, the Westminster Choir, tap dancer Savion Glover, jazz bassist Ben Wolfe, the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and the rock band The Scorpions.



On the occasion of her debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, was hailed as “a player with a powerful technique, ideas of her own, and considerable promise” by the New York Times. Since then, her concert career has taken her across the United States and throughout Western and Eastern Europe. She has performed with the Orchestre de Toulouse in France, the Virginia Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra in Orchestra Hall, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, Long Island Symphony, the Lake Charles Symphony and Rapides Symphony Orchestra in Louisiana. Locally, she has been heard as soloist with Washington’s Olympia Symphony, Yakima Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Washington Idaho Symphony and Oregon’s Rogue Valley Symphony. Ms. Stambuk has been heard in recital at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in Croatia, the Robert Schumann Summer Festival in Germany, and in the Auditorio Nacional Carlos Alberto in Portugal. Nationally, Ms. Stambuk has performed at the 92nd Street Y and Merkin Hall in New York City, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Phoenix Recital Series in New York, Hudson Opera House in New York, the Music Academy in Philadelphia, the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, Benaroya Hall and Nordstrom Hall in Seattle, the Seasons Performance Series in Washington, Piano Series at the San Diego Art Museum, and at Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Hawaii. She has been heard in festivals including the Methow Chamber Music Festival, Auburn Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series, Lopez Island Performance Community Center Series, Northwest Sinfonietta Chamber Music Series, the Camarata Series, Artists Series at the University of Southern Oregon and the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music Series.
Composer Norman Dello Joio chose her to premier his revised Fantasy Variations for Piano and Orchestra in Florida and North Carolina. She has recorded the piano works of Norman Dello Joio on the Centaur label. Fanfare magazine exclaimed, “Stambuk performs with complete technical assurance and emotional conviction.” She also recorded the complete piano trios of composer Daron Hagen with the Finisterra Trioon the Naxos label. This recording was recognized by NPR as one of the Five Best American Contemporary Classical Releases. Ms. Stambuk is a Steinway Artist.


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