Scott Slapin


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Scott Slapin (b. 1974) performs as one half of the Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo with his wife, Tanya Solomon, and teaches violin and viola privately in South Hadley and Amherst, Massachusetts as well as worldwide via Skype. If you are interested in contacting Scott either about lessons or commissioning a work, please contact him here. In 2016 Scott and Tanya founded Pioneer Valley Strings, which offers coaching to both adult and teenage chamber ensembles in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, where they make their home.


Scott’s music has been performed by hundreds of musicians in such halls and conservatories as Carnegie’s Weill Hall, the Royal College of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory, the Manhattan and Eastman Schools of Music as well as at international competitions including the ARD, Primrose, and Tertis. He has written the albums A Day In the Life of a Freelance String Quartet performed by the Wistaria String Quartet, Hail Cremonus performed by the Penn State Viola Ensemble (coming soon), as well as Reflection; All Viola, All the Time; Violacentrism, the Opera; Violacentric Sonatas; and A Fifth of Slapin, recorded by the Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo with family and friends. Scott can be heard performing his Elegy-Caprice and Nocturne (along with Tanya) in the final scenes of the award-winning docudrama Secret Life, Secret Death.

Scott made his debut as a composer in the State Theater of his native New Jersey with a twelve-minute orchestral piece written at the age of thirteen; the work was reviewed favorably in the New Jersey Star Ledger and other local papers and performed by several other orchestras in the state.  Scott has been commissioned to write violacentric works of all sizes ranging from the required unaccompanied work  Recitative for the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition (now for several years one of two audition pieces for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble) to a concerto for viola section and full orchestra entitiled Cremonus’ Revenge for soloists from the Boise Philharmonic with the Serenata Orchestra. He served on the committee for the inaugural International Maurice Gardner Composition Competition, co-premiering Rachel Matthew’s winning work at the 2010 International Viola Congress, and he is a former fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California.  Scott's compositions are published by Violacentric Publications, Ourtext in London, Liben in Cincinnati, and the American Viola Society. For a complete list of Scott's available works, please visit the recordings/sheet music page.


Scott's playing has received critical acclaim in such publications as the American Record Guide, Fanfare, Mundo Clasico, Musical Opinion, and Strad Magazine, among others, and he has been profiled in the Journal of the American Viola Society, Strings Magazine, several dissertations, and radio programs throughout the U.S. and abroad. Scott is the first person to have recorded the complete set of J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas on viola, and he is the featured soloist for the first album produced by the American Viola Society, Premieres, which includes previously unrecorded violacentric works by 20th Century American composers. He can be heard playing Paganini Caprices on the soundtrack of the controversial Bolivian film, Sirwinaquy, and many of his early recordings of solo Bach, Paganini, and Ernst, have recently been re-released on the two volume set “The Fingerboard Less Traveled.”  Scott and Tanya have premiered and recorded viola duos by Gerald Busby, Robert Cobert, Richard Lane, Rachel Matthews, Patrick Neher, Frank Proto, and David Rimelis for the Eroica, Red Mark, AVS, and ISG labels. They have recently released a volume of major orchestral repertoire arranged for two violas (1812 Overture, Ride of the Valkyries, Beethoven's Fifth and more), and they are currently recording some of the highlights for a future release.

Scott made his perfoming debut 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. During this time, Scott gave countless solo recitals, appeared as soloist with area orchestras, and played chamber music with musicians from the New York Philharmonic, Seymour Barab, Nina Beilina, Kenneth Cooper, and his long-time accompanist Betty Rosenblum, among others. He held contracts with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras in Ohio and as principal violist with the Knoxville Symphony and Chamber Orchestras in Tennessee. He and Tanya met touring as the viola section of the Philadelphia Virtuosi and spent the next decade performing together in symphony orchestras throughout the United States, sharing the stage and/or recording with such diverse artists as Yo-yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, James Galway, Lynn Harrell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Dave Brubeck, Marvin Hamlisch, Smokey Robinson, Ben E. King, Dr. John, Randy Newman, and Itzhak Perlman with the New York Philharmonic. They toured South America together with the São Paulo Symphony and became tenured members of the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans, where they were living when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. (Click here for pictures of their former house.) As duo recitalists, Scott and Tanya won Best Chamber Performance of 2008 at New Orleans' Big Easy Entertainment Awards, and they have been guest artists at several international viola congresses.  Scott's violin and viola were made by Hiroshi Iizuka, and his bows are by John Clutterbuck and Samuel Kolstein.


At age eighteen, Scott was one of the youngest graduates in the history of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Before earning his Bachelor of Music degree, he attended the school's preparatory division as well as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied with Sally Peck. His main viola/violin teachers were Barbara Barstow and Emanuel Vardi (1917-2011); Scott's 24 Etudes for beginning violinists or violists are dedicated to Mrs. Barstow, and he was commissioned by the American Viola Society to write the viola trio Capricious in memory of Mr. Vardi. Scott has also been coached by (and/or played in masterclasses for) Bernard Greenhouse, Gary Karr, Jerzy Kosmala, Walter Trampler, and Michael Tree. Scott's often-performed Nocturne is dedicated to the memory of his composition teacher, mentor, accompanist, and friend Richard Lane (1933-2004). Scott comes from a family of musicians, and his Five Pieces for a Memorial Concert, including the widely-performed solo movement Elegy-Caprice, were written for his mother and first teacher, cellist Margi Ramsey (1940-2008).

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Slapin masterclass at Hartt School of Music

Scott demonstrating a Paganini caprice during a
masterclass at the Hartt School of Music.

Slapin masterclass at Penn State.

Scott working with the Penn State Viola Ensemble 
in preparation for a recording of his compositions.

Slapin teaching a private lesson

Scott teaching a private lesson.