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.
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.
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.