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

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Scott Slapin is a composer, violist, violinist, and private teacher based in South Hadley, Massachusetts. With his wife, violist Tanya Solomon, he has been concertizing as the award-winning Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo for more than twenty years. Scott's violacentric recital compositions have been performed by hundreds of musicians in concert halls throughout the world and at major competitions/workshops including the ARD, Primrose, and Tertis.

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 in New York City. He gave countless recitals, made dozens of premiere recordings, wrote for and soloed with orchestras, taught at academies and colleges, and was a fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California. He is the first person to have recorded the complete cycle of J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas on viola, movements of which he has often included in his unaccompanied recital series 'Greatest Hits from the Twenties' alongside excerpts from the Bach Cello Suites (1720), Paganini Caprices (1820), and Hindemith Solo Sonatas (1920s). Scott can also be heard playing solo Bach, Paganini, and his own compositions on various soundtracks for film and TV.

Scott served as committee member, judge, and performer for the inaugural Maurice Gardner Composition Competition and has been commissioned by the Primrose International Viola Competition and the American Viola Society, where he has also been artist in residence. He was the solo violist for the New York City production of Orpheus In Love, a chamber opera about a viola-playing Orpheus, and his first full-time orchestral position brought him to Knoxville, Tenn., where he was principal violist with the city's symphony and chamber orchestras. He gained further orchestral experience playing in the main symphony orchestras in Cincinnati and São Paulo, among others, and met Tanya touring with the Philadelphia Virtuosi. Scott and Tanya were based in New Orleans, where they were tenured members of the city's orchestra, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

Scott has written more than sixty violacentric chamber works, which 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. He has also written violacentric symphonies, concertos, and educational materials for beginning string players. Scott and Tanya have made many popular string-duo arrangements and received critical acclaim for their duo recordings in Strad, the New York Violist, the All Music Guide, and the Journals of the American and Canadian Viola Societies. Scott's solo playing has garnered praise in such publications as the American Record Guide, Fanfare, Mundo Clásico, Musical Opinion, and Strad. For more info., please visit and

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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

Violist Ronald Houston has invited Scott to give
masterclasses in Dallas, TX as well as online from Scott's teaching studio (pictured here).

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