A native of Paterson, New Jersey, composer and pianist Richard Lane graduated from the Eastman School of Music where he studied piano with Jose Echaniz and Armand Basile and composition with Louis Mennini, Wayne Barlow and Bernard Rogers. He was the recipient of the Eastman School Recording and Publication Award and a Ford Foundation grant which brought him into the school systems of Rochester, New York and Lexington, Kentucky as composer in residence.
Mr. Lane's compositions include chamber works, choral works, piano concertos, piano solos, works for voice and piano as well as solo works for almost every instrument. His music has been published by Carl Fisher, Boosey and Hawkes, Coburn Press, Mills Music and Editions Bim and has been performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Australia, Mexico and in the former Soviet Union by artists including principal New York Philharmonic musicians Stanley Drucker and Philip Smith; flutist Donald Peck of the Chicago Symphony as well as countless others.
Richard Lane died on September 12, 2004 in Newark, New Jersey after a brief illness.
Richard Lane, The Viola and I
- Scott Slapin
Richard Lane wrote numerous solo and chamber works for the viola. In 1991 he was commissioned to write the competition piece for the William Primrose Competition (at the International Viola Congress in Ithaca, New York), and he has written three sonatas for viola and piano, the first for Myron Rosenblum, the second for Ari Rudiakoff and the third for me. He also wrote more than twenty chamber works featuring the viola, several of which are currently available from Editions Bim in Switzerland.
However it was as a composition student, not as a violist, that I first met him. I was around twelve. He taught me a lot about writing (and performing), and he patiently put up with my weekly banging on his Mason-Hamlin piano, regularly putting it out of tune. My piano technique and my typing technique are one in the same and not very advanced. We became good friends, and we gave many viola/piano recitals together in New Jersey and on Cape Cod. I have fond memories of playing his Trio for viola, cello and piano and his Nocturne for Viola and Piano (which he wrote for me in 1995) with him at the piano.
We visited him on Cape Cod less than a week before he fell ill. My wife Tanya and I played him a set of four viola duos that he had just written. He was working on a fifth movement which as far as I know was not completed. These duos were among the last pieces he wrote, and he had not yet come up with a title-- it just says 'Some Duos for Scott and Tanya' at the top. We included these duos on our debut CD Sketches from the New World.
We also played him a piece that I had just written (Nocturne for Two Violas). As a good composition teacher should, Richard Lane would always point out the weaker areas in my pieces and give me some good ideas on how to improve them (and then put up with my protests until I usually realized he was right.) This was the only piece I'd ever shown him that he liked immediately and left 'as is'. He even asked to hear it twice, which is a nice final memory to have. The Nocturne is dedicated to him. Tanya and I premiered it in New Orleans, and it was later premiered in its string quartet version by the US Army Strings ("Pershing's Own") at the Lyceum in Alexandria, Va. It can be heard, along with my Elegy-Caprice, in the final scenes of the docudrama Secret Life, Secret Death.
Richard Lane was a great friend, my only composition teacher and a very fine composer. It was through knowing him and playing his music, that I first realized how much a composer's music reflects his personality and temperament. So, for those who haven't had the opportunity to know Richard Lane, I hope you will take the time to meet him through his many compositions, which will live on in the repertoires and recordings of musicians around the world.
Hiroshi Iizuka was born in Maebashi, Japan on July 21, 1945. He apprenticed in Tokyo under Soroku Murata, Geigenbaumeister, from 1971 to 1973.
From 1973 to 1977, Iizuka apprenticed under and worked for Josef Kantuscher, Geigenbaumeister, in Mittenwald, Germany. He acquired a Journeyman’s diploma from the German Chamber of Handwork in 1974, with a prize for the violin made for the examination.
Iizuka established his own shop in Pennsylvania in the United States in 1977. Since then, he has worked predominantly in the building of new instruments. Besides the traditional style of violin-family instruments, he developed his own model of a “viola d’amore” style viola in 1979, and the “rubenesque” model in 1992. Over the past 30 years, Iizuka has made more than 380 instruments that are being played worldwide, over half of which are violas. He has made 7 celli to date.
Violist Tanya Solomon was born in Geneva, Switzerland. She holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Northwestern University, and her teachers have included Michael Tseitlin, Robert Eshbach, Jeffrey Irvine and Peter Slowik. Tanya was a finalist in the International William Primrose Viola Competition, and she has performed extensively in ensembles and music festivals throughout the United States and Europe.
She recorded the Bach Cello Suites as part of the first complete recording of J. S. Bach's Unaccompanied Sonatas, Partitas and Suites (BWV 1001-1013) released in the Fall of 2009 on the Eroica Classical Recordings label.
Tanya and Scott were featured performers at the 36th International Viola Congress, and they were artists in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center in California. They won Best Chamber Music Performance for 2008 at New Orleans' Tribute to the Classical Arts and can be heard on their duo CD 'Sketches from the New World: American Viola Duos in the 21st Century', hailed as "absolutely brilliant" in Strad Magazine.
They have played throughout the United States and South America with the orchestras in New Orleans, Louisville and Sao Paulo, Brazil; they met touring with the Philadelphia Virtuosi and married in 2002. Tanya is a former principal violist of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, where she also taught at the University of Tennessee. She plays a viola made by Marten Cornelissen of Northampton, MA. For more information, visit www.tanyasolomon.com
Cellist Margi Ramsey (1940-2008), Scott's mother, was born in Detroit, Michigan. She earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Michigan and a Master's Degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
Margi was a member of the American Symphony (under Leopold Stokowski), the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York City, the New Jersey Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the North Carolina Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic in Canada. She performed extensively as a chamber musician throughout the New York/New Jersey area, and she was a founding member of the Hunterdon Chamber Players based in Flemington, NJ where she played for more than fifteen years.
She played on cellos by Joseph and Antonio Gagliano and Alex Bacelar and had bows by Kolstein and Pajeot. Her teachers included Oliver Edel, Paul Olefsky and Bernard Greenhouse.
Margi taught cello privately from 1965 until her death in 2008. She was on faculty at Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey, and she taught music in the public school systems of Bridgewater-Raritan, Califon and Elizabeth, NJ. She was also a professional piano tuner. Margi died in her home on August 18, 2008 following a long battle with cancer. She is greatly missed by her family and by many in the music world.
Scott's father Bill Slapin was born in Newark, New Jersey. He studied the doublebass with Frederick Zimmermann and later with David Walter at the Manhattan School of Music. He is a former member of the Kansas City Philharmonic, and he has freelanced extensively in hotels in New York City and the Catskill Mountains.
Bill was President and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College for more than fifteen years, and he has been on the boards of The New York City Musician's Club and The Academy of Music Northwest in Seattle Washington.
He has been awarded proclamations on two occasions from the New York State Assembly, and he has also received recognition from both the Mayor of the City of New York and the White House for his efforts on behalf of music. He lives in Florida.
Scott's uncle, Harold Slapin, grew up in Springfield, New Jersey and graduated from the Juilliard School in 1973. His mentor was the late composer/arranger/educator Edwin Finckel, with whom he maintained a close relationship for over thirty years.
Hal has performed with many jazz recording artists, including Lee Konitz, the late Pepper Adams and Al Cohn. He freelanced extensively in New York during the mid 1970's playing in chamber music ensembles and Broadway shows in addition to performing in New York and New Jersey jazz clubs. At Juilliard he was a member of the jazz ensemble under the direction of the late Hall Overton.
He lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey with his wife Jann, a former elementary school art teacher. They have two grown children.