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

You are currently listening to an excerpt from Scott Slapin’s The South Hadley Mass from the album The Seasons,
performed by the American Viola Quartet.
Click here to see more than 75 additional videos of Scott Slapin’s compositions and playing at YouTube.


For a program-length bio and program notes, click here.
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Scott Slapin's compositions have been performed by hundreds of musicians in concert halls throughout the Americas and Europe; at international competitions/workshops including the ARD, Primrose, and Tertis; and on eight albums of violacentric chamber music. A prolific composer of music for viola, Scott has written numerous works for (click on links for playlists at YouTube) viola duo, viola choirvarious ensembles with viola, string quartetsolo viola, as well as 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 upper string players: 24 Etudes and 12 Divertimenti.  

Scott is the first person to have recorded the complete cycle of J.S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas on viola, and he is the featured soloist for many premiere recordings by 20th and 21st Century composers including the first album produced by the American Viola Society, Premieres. His solo 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.

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For more than twenty years, Scott and his wife violist Tanya Solomon have been performing as the award-winning Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo. They have given countless recitals, appeared at international viola congresses, premiered and recorded many new works, and made dozens of arrangements. They spent their first few years together playing throughout the US and South America as members of several orchestras.

At eighteen, Scott was one of the youngest graduates of the Manhattan School of Music, where he was the youngest student in the studio of virtuoso violist Emanuel Vardi's (1917-2011). His main composition teacher was Richard Lane (1933-2004). Scott made his debut as the solo violist in the 1992-1993 NYC production of Gerald Busby's Orpheus In Love, a chamber opera about a viola-playing Orpheus, and he premiered Busby's Muse for Solo Viola in Carnegie's Weill Hall. He gave many solo recitals and can be heard playing excerpts of his own compositions as well as solo Bach and Paganini Caprices on various film and tv soundtracks. He has taught/given masterclasses at several academies and colleges in the Northeast and is a former fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California.

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Scott 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, and he was commissioned by the American Viola Society to write the often-performed viola trio Capricious. 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.

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. He maintains a private teaching studio (violin, viola, and composition) in South Hadley and Amherst, Massachusetts as well as worldwide via Skype. His instruments were made by Hiroshi Iizuka.

…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, and John Anz.