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 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.
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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. To date, 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. Scott is also the featured soloist for many premiere recordings by 20th and 21st Century composers and 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 nearly twenty years as one half of the award-winning Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo with his wife, Tanya Solomon.

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Scott has written more than fifty original violacentric compositions including (click on links for playlists at YouTube) solo works, duos, various chamber works, string quartets, various works for all-viola ensembles, an all-viola symphony, an all-viola opera, and a concerto for multiple violas and full symphonic orchestra. He has also written educational materials for beginning violin and viola players including 24 Etudes and 12 Divertimenti and made many violacentric arrangements. Excepts of Scott’s Elegy-Caprice and Nocturne can be heard in the final scenes of the award-winning US docudrama Secret Life, Secret Death, and his Prelude is included on the French album ‘Viola Around the World’. 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 served on the committee for the inaugural Maurice Gardner Composition Competition, co-premiering Rachel Matthew’s winning work Dreams at the 2010 International Viola Congress.

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Scott was born into a family of string players in New Jersey in 1974. He began violin lessons at the age of six with Barbara Barstow. He studied composition with Richard Lane (1933-2004) and made his debut as a composer in the New Jersey State Theater to favorable reviews with an orchestral piece he wrote at the age of thirteen. From the age of twelve to eighteen, he was the youngest student in the studio of virtuoso violist Emanuel Vardi’s (1917-2011).

At eighteen, he was one of the youngest graduates of the Manhattan School of Music, and he was performing daily 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 solo recitals, soloed with orchestras, and performed as a chamber musician with many of the excellent string players and pianists in the greater NYC area. He played in symphony orchestras from Cincinnati to São Paulo and was a fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California. He and Tanya met touring as the viola section of the Philadelphia Virtuosi in 1999. As members of many ensembles, they together shared the stage with such notable Classical musicians as Itzhak Perlman, Leonidas Kavakos, Joshua Bell, Roberto Diaz, Yo-yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and the New York Philharmonic. They have also recorded film and tv soundtracks for Lionsgate and ABC; Scott can be heard playing Paganini Caprices on the soundtrack of the controversial Bolivian film Sirwiñakuy as well as an excerpt from Bach's First Partita on the soundtrack of 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”. He is the featured soloist for the first album produced by the American Viola Society, Premieres, which presents the first recordings of important 20th Century solo viola works by Blanche Blood, John Duke, Arthur Foote, Maurice Gardner, Ivan Langstroth, Frederick Slee, and Gustav Strube, and he is also the soloist for other premiere recordings of viola music by Robert Cobert, Richard Lane, Boris Pigovat, and Frank Proto. Scott plays instruments by Hiroshi Iizuka with bows by John Clutterbuck and Samuel Kolstein.

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Scott and Tanya live in South Hadley, MA and teach violin and viola privately in South Hadley and Amherst as well as worldwide via Skype. Some of Scott's compositions inspired by western Massachusetts include The Sounds of Hampshire County, The South Hadley Mass, and The Four Seasons of New England. He has taught violin and viola, coached ensembles, and given masterclasses at academies and colleges throughout the Northeast. Scott and Tanya have performed at several international viola congresses, and they won Best Chamber Performance of 2008 at the Big Easy Entertainment Awards in New Orleans. 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 available in versions for two violas, two violins, and violin-viola duo.

…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

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.