2022 Featured Performers


Wyatt Smith, organist

American concert organist Wyatt Smith is a native of Rapid City, South Dakota. He performs with “nuance, polish, and personality” (Michael  Barone,  APM Pipedreams). Wyatt concertizes extensively, keeping an active concert schedule throughout the United States and Europe, including concerts in 28 states along with Germany, France, and England. Additionally, his performances have been heard on episodes of American Public Media’s Pipedreams. His achievements in performance were recognized by The Diapason’s program "20-under-30" as a member of the "Class of 2016," which recognizes young leaders in the fields of organ, harpsichord, carillon, and church music.


Wyatt serves as the Associate Director of Music at Epiphany Parish of Seattle and Director of the Epiphany Music Academy. At the University of Puget Sound, Wyatt is the Affiliate Artist in Organ & Harpsichord where he teaches applied lessons, curates the care of the Fritts organ in Kilworth Chapel, and performs “Organ at Noon” recitals throughout the year.

Wyatt is a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance, under the guidance of Dr. Carole Terry. Wyatt received his Master of Music degree from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Yale School of Music, where he studied organ performance with Dr. Martin Jean. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he studied with Dr. Larry Schou.

1MARIA SAMPEN_edited.jpg

Maria Sampen, violinist

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 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. In 2019, she was awarded the Christine Bartanen Research Award for remarkable accomplishments in research and professional development. She is also a Sigma Alpha Iota Distinguished National Arts Associate.  

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 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, 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 and the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute in Washington.


Dawn Padula, mezzo-soprano

DAWN PADULA, mezzo-soprano, is a versatile performer of opera, oratorio, musical theatre, early music, jazz, and classical concert repertoire. Opera roles include Carmen in Carmen, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Lady Jane in Patience (2018 Gregory Awards People’s Choice Nominee), Lady Blanche in Princess Ida, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, The Third Lady in The Magic Flute, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Isabella in The Italian Girl in Algiers, Erika in Vanessa, and the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas. She recently recorded the roles of Zita in Gianni Schicchi and Olga Olsen in Street Scene with the Social Distance Opera. Recent engagements include the role of Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance (Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society), Dame Quickly in Falstaff (Puget Sound Concert Opera), Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos (Vashon Opera), and Maddalena in Rigoletto (Vashon Opera). Notable classical concert work includes performing as a soloist in a concert version of West Side Story with the Tacoma Symphony, being the mezzo-soprano soloist in Penderecki’s Credo with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jahja Ling, and touring to Varna and Sofia, Bulgaria as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with members of the Adelphian Concert Choir, the Portland Symphonic Choir, the Tuscon Masterworks Chorale, the West Liberty University Singers, the West Liberty College Community Chorus, and the Pazardzhik Symphony. Her musical theatre roles include paying tribute to celebrities in Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits, Jack’s Mother in Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Domina in Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Woman 3 in the Kander and Ebb revue, And the World Goes ’Round. She has also performed as a jazz vocalist in venues such as Pacific Lutheran University’s Jazz Under the Stars Series and the Puget Sound Jacobsen Series. 

In the Pacific Northwest, she has performed as a principal artist with Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Tacoma Opera, Vashon Opera, Kitsap Opera, Puget Sound Concert Opera, Concert Opera of Seattle, the Tacoma Concert Band, the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Symphonic Choir, the Seattle Bach Choir, and Opera Pacifica. She has also performed with Seattle Opera as a member of the Supplementary Chorus, and has given solo recitals for the Second City Chamber Series and the Classical Tuesdays in Old Town Tacoma Concert Series. Her classical solo album, Gracious Moonlight, is available on streaming platforms.


Her research on training the tenor and baritone singing voice from the mezzo-soprano voice teacher perspective has been presented at the International Voice Foundation Symposium in Philadelphia, Penn., at the National Association of Teachers of Singing National Conference in Nashville, Tenn., and at the Art and Science of the Performing Voice Symposium in Seattle, Wash. Dr. Padula is currently Professor of Voice and Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Puget Sound School of Music, where she is the Chair of the Vocal Studies Area, directs the Opera Theater, and teaches Applied Voice, Diction for Singers, Vocal Pedagogy, and Vocal Techniques. In 2020, Dr. Padula was honored to receive Puget Sound’s Tom A. Davis Teaching Award.