Scott Slapin

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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

Register for Scott's online class (Aug 2, 2020) "Greatest Hits from the Twenties" here

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Classical violist-composer Scott Slapin is a featured soloist and chamber musician on dozens of recordings and the first person to have recorded the complete cycle of J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas on viola. He can be heard playing solo Bach, Paganini Caprices and his own compositions on various soundtracks for film and TV, and with his wife, violist Tanya Solomon, he has been concertizing as the award-winning Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo for more than twenty years. Their duo recordings have garnered praise in Strad, the New York Violist, the All Music Guide, and the Journals of the American and Canadian Viola Societies, and Scott's solo playing has received critical acclaim in the American Record Guide, Fanfare, Mundo Clásico, Strad, and Musical Opinion, among others.

Scott's more than sixty violacentric recital compositions have been performed by hundreds of musicians in concert halls throughout the world and can be heard on nine albums recorded by the Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo, the Wistaria String Quartet, the Penn State Viola Ensemble, and the American Viola Quartet. Scott has been commissioned by the Primrose International Viola Competition and the American Viola Society (AVS); he was a 2020 AVS artist in residence, and he is the soloist for the first album produced by the AVS, "Premieres". Scott served as committee member, judge, and performer for the inaugural Maurice Gardner Composition Competition and is a former fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California.

Scott was born into a family of string players in 1974. At eighteen, he was one of the youngest graduates of the Manhattan School of Music and performing daily as the solo violist for the New York City (1992-1993 Circle Repertory Theater) production of Gerald Busby's Orpheus In Love, a chamber opera about a viola-playing Orpheus. He premiered Busby's Muse for Solo Viola in Carnegie's Weill Hall, gave countless recitals, and wrote for and soloed with orchestras. He gained orchestral experience playing in the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops, the Knoxville Symphony and Chamber Orchestras (where he was principal viola), the Louisville Orchestra, the New Orleans-based Louisiana Philharmonic, and Brazil's São Paulo Symphony, sharing a stand in the last three with Tanya. Having met on a tour of the West with the Philadelphia Virtuosi in 1999, Scott and Tanya soon began performing as a viola duo, recording for Eroica Classical Recordings, ISG, and the American Viola Society, and developing the repertoire for two violas through commissions, arrangements, and Scott's own original compositions.

As displaced residents of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Scott and Tanya participated in benefit concerts nationwide including duo recitals, a performance of Bach's Sixth Brandenburg, and a gala with the New York Philharmonic. During the COVID pandemic of 2020, Scott revived his recital series "Greatest Hits from the Twenties" and transformed it into an online educational presentation, through which he presents the 500-year history of the viola and demonstrates excerpts from Bach's Sonatas, Partitas, and Suites (1720); Paganini's Caprices (1820); Hindemith's Solo Viola Sonatas (mostly 1920s); and some of his own more recent solo compositions (2020).

In addition to experience teaching at academies and colleges, Scott and Tanya have taught viola/violin privately for decades, reaching students on five continents via Skype. Scott also teaches composition. For information on taking private lessons with Scott or Tanya, please click here. Please also visit the Slapin-Solomon Duo's YouTube channel. Scott and Tanya live in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

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…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, 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 presenting his educational series 'Greatest Hits from the Twenties' for Ron Houston's teaching studio in Texas.

Slapin premiering Rachel Matthews’ Dreams at 2010 Viola Congress.

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

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Scott recording one of Frank Proto's Soundscapes
in Cincinnati, OH.
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Scott playing Ruggiero Ricci's Storioni violin.
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Drawing of Scott by Alexey Neyman.
Click links for playlists of Scott's compositions at YouTube: 

Music for Solo Viola 
Viola Duo 
Viola Choir 
Viola in Mixed Ensembles 
String Quartet 
Violacentrism, The Opera

Scott's blog posts from his artist residency at the American Viola Society:

Celebrating 300 Years of Bach

The Difference Between a Composer Who Writes Viola Music and a 'Violist-Composer'

Cremonus and the Violacentric Religion

Ditching the Shoulder Rest

The Composer's (Holy?) Intentions

Violacentrism > Viola Separatism

Parochialism in Music

Viola Lessons... Online?

The Popularity of the Viola

Other articles by Scott Slapin:

Our Time in New Orleans Before and After Hurricane Katrina 

Our Decade-Long Adventure in the Orchestra World 

Notes From the Fingerboard Less Traveled 

Greatest Hits from the Twenties

Click here to read some of Scott's blog posts over at (scroll down for blog posts). 

Read about Scott's composition teacher Richard Lane, his violin/viola teachers Barbara Barstow and Emanuel Vardi, and the luthier who made Scott's viola and violin Hiroshi Iizuka.

To read more editorial reviews of Scott's CDs, click here. 
Photos by Tanya Solomon