Born into a family of musicians in 1974, Scott Slapin studied violin/viola with Barbara Barstow and Emanuel Vardi and composition with Richard Lane. At the age of eighteen he was one of the youngest graduates of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
Scott's violacentric chamber compositions have been widely performed throughout the world and can be heard on nine albums played by the Wistaria String Quartet, the Penn State Viola Ensemble, the American Viola Quartet, and the Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo. He 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.
He has often included J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas in his solo recitals, and he is the first person to have recorded the complete cycle on viola. In commemoration of their 300th year of existence, he recently performed from memory the entire set along with Bach's Cello Suites in one concert. Scott can also be heard playing unaccompanied Bach, Paganini Caprices, and his own compositions on various soundtracks for film and TV.
Scott has given countless recitals, composed for and soloed with orchestras, made dozens of premiere recordings, written etudes and divertimenti for beginning string players, taught at academies and colleges in the Northeast, and premiered solo works in such venues as Carnegie's Weill Hall and at international viola congresses. In 1989 he made his debut as a composer to critical acclaim with an orchestral work in the state theater of his native New Jersey. He was the solo violist for the 1992-1993 New York City production of Orpheus In Love (a chamber opera about a viola-playing Orpheus!) and often performed as a chamber musician in the NYC/NJ area. 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 subsequently played on contract with the main symphony orchestras in Cincinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, and São Paulo (Brazil), sharing a stand with his wife, violist Tanya Solomon, in the last three. They met touring as the viola section of the Philadelphia Virtuosi and now live in western Massachusetts.
Scott and Tanya have been performing together as the award-winning Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo for more than twenty years. As one of the few long-term performing viola duos in the world, they have expanded the viola duo repertoire through numerous premieres, commissions, recordings, and their own pioneering transcriptions. They won Best Chamber Performance of 2008 at the Big Easy Entertainment Awards in New Orleans and can be heard performing Scott's Nocturne in the final scenes of the award-winning docudrama Secret Life, Secret Death.
Scott teaches violin, viola, and composition in South Hadley and Amherst, MA as well as worldwide via Skype. His solo playing has received critical acclaim in such publications as the American Record Guide, Fanfare, Mundo Clásico, Musical Opinion, and Strad, and he has been profiled in leading string journals and radio programs. He has been an artist in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center in California and the American Viola Society. His compositions are tonal, lyrical, and expressive, with influences from much of the Western Classical canon and beyond. To listen to some, and for information about recordings, sheet music, lessons etc., visit www.scottslapin.com.
Scott demonstrating a Paganini Caprice on
the viola during a masterclass at the
Hartt School of Music.
Scott and Tanya giving a class on the
Bach Chaconne at the Lyra Festival and
Workshop at Smith College.
The Slapin-Solomon Duo premiering Scott’s
Four Seasons of New England at the
Gaylord Library in South Hadley, MA.
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 the 2008 Viola Congress in Tempe, AZ. From left to right: Moderator James DeMars and composers Scott Slapin, Bruce E. Miller, and Kenji Bunch.
Scott premiering Rachel Matthews’ Dreams at the 2010 Viola Congress in Cincinnati, OH (with composer).
(photo by Dwight Pounds)
The Wistaria String Quartet recording an album of
Scott at Penn State coaching the viola ensemble, giving a masterclass, and playing a recital.
A recital at the Williston Northampton
School where Scott taught violin and viola and
coached the ensemble.
Slapin on the campus of Mt. Holyoke College where he taught viola and coached chamber music.
Scott recording one of Frank Proto’s Soundscapes
in Cincinnati, OH.
Performing Elliot Corner’s Energico for solo viola
in Amherst, MA.
Scott playing Ruggiero Ricci's Storioni violin.
Drawing of Scott by Alexey Neyman.