Scott Slapin

Placeholder Picture

If any contemporary violist continues to carry the torch of the composer-performer, it is Scott Slapin.”  -Journal of the American Viola Society

Slapin’s magnificient playing says ‘Bring it on!’” -Fanfare

Scott Slapin is great!” -Ruggiero Ricci

well-designed music…emotionally expressive and varied” -New Jersey Star Ledger

The virtuosity and musicality of Scott Slapin’s performances…surely cannot be improved upon.” -Musical Opinion

Slapin is a real viola virtuoso…-American Record Guide

You are currently listening to Scott Slapin’s Adagio,
performed by Scott Slapin, Tanya Solomon, Greg Diehl, and Kaila Graef.
Click here to see more than 75 additional videos of Scott Slapin’s compositions and playing at YouTube.


For program-length bios and program notes, click here.
Placeholder Picture

Scott Slapin's compositions have been performed by hundreds of musicians in concert halls throughout the Americas and Europe as well as at international competitions/workshops including the ARD, Primrose, and Tertis. Seven albums of his original chamber music have been recorded by the Wistaria String Quartet, the Penn State Viola Ensemble and the Slapin-Solomon Duo with family and friends. His compositions take in (click on links for playlists at YouTube) solo viola works, viola duos, various chamber works, string quartets, various works for all-viola ensembles, an all-viola symphony, an all-viola opera, a concerto for multiple violas and full symphonic orchestra and two books of educational materials for beginning violin and viola players: 24 Etudes and 12 Divertimenti.

Scott is also the featured soloist for many premiere recordings by 20th and 21st Century composers as well as the first person to have recorded the complete cycle of Bach’s Solo Sonatas and Partitas on viola. His playing has received critical acclaim in the American Record Guide, Fanfare, Mundo Clásico, Musical Opinion, and Strad, and he has been profiled in the Journal of the American Viola Society, Strings, several dissertations, and radio programs thoughout the US and abroad. He has performed for more than twenty years as one half of the award-winning Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo with his wife, Tanya Solomon and taught violin and viola, coached ensembles, and given masterclasses at several academies and colleges in the Northeast. He plays a violin and viola by Hiroshi Iizuka.

Placeholder Picture

Scott was born in 1974 into a family of string players. At eighteen, he was one of the youngest graduates in the history of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. His main teachers have included Barbara Barstow, Emanuel Vardi (1917-2011), and Richard Lane (1933-2004).

Scott began his performing career as the solo violist in the 1992-1993 New York City production of Gerald Busby’s Orpheus in Love, a chamber opera about a viola-playing Orpheus. New York Times' music critic Bernard Holland called the musicians “first rate”, and Scott was invited to premiere Busby's Muse for Solo Viola in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. He gave countless recitals, soloed with orchestras, and performed as a chamber musician with many of the excellent string players and pianists in the greater NYC area. In 1998 he became the first person to record the complete cycle of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas on viola, and he is the featured soloist for the first album produced by the American Viola Society, Premieres. As a composer, he was a fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California, and he was commissioned to write the required work for the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition, Recitative, which served for many years as an audition piece for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. He served on the committee for the inaugural Maurice Gardner Composition Competition, co-premiering Rachel Matthews’ winning work Dreams at the 2010 International Viola Congress, and he recently wrote Fanfare Under the Sunsphere for the 2020 American Viola Society Festival. His viola duo Prelude was recorded by Basile Morcrette and Christophe Touchard for the French album 'Viola Around the World'.

During their first decade together, Scott and Tanya played throughout North and South America as members of many ensembles, sharing the stage with such Classical greats as Itzhak Perlman, Leonidas Kavakos, Joshua Bell, Roberto Diaz, Yo-yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and the New York Philharmonic. They toured extensively with the Philadelphia Virtuosi and the São Paulo Symphony and were tenured members of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans, where they were based when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. Scott also held contracts with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops and as principal violist with the Knoxville Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Scott and Tanya recorded film and tv soundtracks for Lionsgate and ABC and can be heard playing excerpts of Scott’s Nocturne and Elegy-Caprice in the final scenes of the award-winning US docudrama Secret Life, Secret Death. Scott can also be heard playing Paganini Caprices on the soundtrack of the controversial Bolivian film Sirwiñakuy as well as an excerpt of Bach’s First Partita during the STV-BBC program The Women Who Went to War- a Great Adventure. Many of Scott's early, out-of-print recordings of virtuoso solo music by Bach, Paganini, and Ernst on viola (originally on the Eroica Classical Recordings label) have been rereleased digitally on the two-volume set “The Fingerboard Less Traveled”.

Placeholder Picture
Placeholder Picture

Since 2012, Scott and Tanya have made their home in South Hadley, Massachusetts. They teach violin and viola privately in South Hadley and Amherst as well as worldwide via Skype. Scott also teaches composition. Some of Scott's compositions inspired by western Massachusetts include The Four Seasons of New England, The South Hadley Mass, and The Sounds of Hampshire County, which can be heard in this video about Hampshire County, Mass. Scott and Tanya have performed at several international viola congresses, and they won Best Chamber Performance of 2008 at New Orleans' Big Easy Entertainment Awards. They have premiered and recorded new viola duos by Gerald Busby, Robert Cobert, Richard Lane, Rachel Matthews, Patrick Neher, Frank Proto, and David Rimelis and arranged and recorded two-viola versions (minus the band instruments!) of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and more for the album Symphonic Masterworks. Other arrangements by the Slapin-Solomon Duo include The Big Gig Book, containing more than thirty-five of the most commonly-requested Classical compositions, and Twenty-Five Tunes for Twenty-Five Days of Christmas, both of which are currently available in versions for two violas, two violins, and violin-viola duo, and are coming soon in versions for violin-cello and viola-cello.

…great talent not only as a violist but as a composer” -Journal of the American Viola Society

Quite impressive… the work was well stated and at times very moving.” -The Home News (NJ)

first rate viola virtuoso…” -Journal of the Canadian Viola Society

instrumentista exceptional” -Mundo Clasico

wonderful playing… sonorous and rich” -The New York Violist

tonal and rhythmic command” -Strad Magazine

Slapin’s…Nocturne is a soulful, sad, and moving piece in the vein of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.” -All Music Guide

For more editorial reviews, click here.
Slapin, Solomon, and Rondeau performing at the 2012 Viola Congress

Scott demonstrating a Paganini Caprice on
the viola during a masterclass at the
Hartt School of Music.

Composers Forum at 2008 Viola Congress

Scott and Tanya giving a class on the
Bach Chaconne at the Lyra Festival and
Workshop at Smith College.

Slapin premiering Rachel Matthews’ Dreams at 2010 Viola Congress.

The Slapin-Solomon Duo premiering Scott’s 
Four Seasons of New England at the
Gaylord Library in South Hadley, MA.

Slapin, Solomon, and Rondeau performing at the 2012 Viola Congress

Scott performing his own piece, Capricious, with Tanya Solomon and Ila Rondeau at the 2012 Viola Congress in Rochester, NY. (photo by Dwight Pounds)

Composers Forum at 2008 Viola Congress

Composers Forum at the 2008 Viola Congress in Tempe, AZ. From left to right: Moderator James DeMars and composers Scott Slapin, Bruce E. Miller, and Kenji Bunch. 

Slapin premiering Rachel Matthews’ Dreams at 2010 Viola Congress.

Scott premiering Rachel Matthews’ Dreams at the 2010 Viola Congress in Cincinnati, OH (with composer).
(photo by Dwight Pounds)

Slapin, Solomon, and Rondeau performing at the 2012 Viola Congress

The Wistaria String Quartet recording an album of
Scott’s music.

Composers Forum at 2008 Viola Congress

Scott at Penn State coaching the viola ensemble, giving a masterclass, and playing a recital. 

Slapin premiering Rachel Matthews’ Dreams at 2010 Viola Congress.

A recital at the Williston Northampton
School where Scott taught violin and viola and
coached the ensemble.

Slapin, Solomon, and Rondeau performing at the 2012 Viola Congress

Slapin on the campus of Mt. Holyoke College where he taught viola and coached chamber music.

Composers Forum at 2008 Viola Congress

Scott recording one of Frank Proto’s Soundscapes
in Cincinnati, OH. 

Slapin premiering Rachel Matthews’ Dreams at 2010 Viola Congress.

Performing Elliot Corner’s Energico for solo viola
in Amherst, MA.

Photos by Tanya Solomon, Dwight Pounds, Diana Isabel Smith, and John Anz.