Scott Slapin is best known as the composer of eight albums of violacentric chamber music and the first person to have recorded the complete cycle of J.S. Bach's Solo Sonatas and Partitas on viola.
His 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 recordings by the Wistaria String Quartet, the Penn State Viola Ensemble, Viola Around the World, and the Slapin-Solomon Duo with family and friends. They take in (click on links for playlists at YouTube) solo viola works, viola duos, various chamber works, string quartets, 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 upper string players: 24 Etudes and 12 Divertimenti.
Scott's solo playing has received critical acclaim in the American Record Guide, Fanfare, Mundo Clásico, Musical Opinion, and Strad, among others, 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 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. He maintains a private teaching studio (violin, viola, and composition) in western Massachusetts as well as worldwide via Skype. He plays instruments by Hiroshi Iizuka.
Scott was born into a family of string players in 1974 and began violin and viola lessons with Barbara Barstow. At eighteen, he was one of the youngest graduates in the history of the Manhattan School of Music, where he was the youngest student in the studio of viola virtuoso Emanuel Vardi's (1917-2011). Scott studied composition with Richard Lane (1933-2004) and made his debut as a composer to critical acclaim in 1989 with an orchestral work in the State Theater of his native New Jersey.
He 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. Having performed the Bach Sonatas and Partitas extensively in recital, in 1998 Scott became the first person to record the complete cycle on viola, which he recorded for a second time in 2006.
During their first decade together, Scott and his wife violist Tanya Solomon played throughout North and South America as members of many orchestras, sharing the stage with Classical greats including Itzhak Perlman, Leonidas Kavakos, Joshua Bell, Roberto Diaz, Yo-yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and the New York Philharmonic in such halls as Avery Fisher (New York City), Sala São Paulo (Brazil), and Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires). They also 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 be heard playing Paganini Caprices on viola on the soundtrack of the controversial Bolivian film Sirwiñakuy as well as an excerpt of Bach’s First Partita (also on viola) during the STV-BBC program The Women Who Went to War- a Great Adventure; many of his 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”.