Scott Slapin

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Scott Slapin (born 1974[1]) is an American composer [2][3] and violist[4][5] based in South Hadley, Massachusetts.


Slapin has written more than fifty viola-centric chamber works[6][7] and was commissioned to write the required piece for the 2008 Primrose International Viola Competition.[3] He served on the committee for the first Maurice Gardner Composition Competition and co-premiered the winning work, Rachel Matthews' Dreams, at the 38th International Viola Congress.[8] At the age of eighteen he was performing daily as the solo violist in the New York City production of Gerald Busby's Orpheus In Love, a chamber opera about Orpheus recast as a viola player.[9] He was subsequently invited to premiere Busby's Muse for Solo Viola in Carnegie's Weill Hall, and he gave countless solo recitals and performed with ensembles throughout the United States and South America. Slapin has written extensively for the Penn State Viola Ensemble and the Wistaria String Quartet, and he is a former fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California.[10]Slapin performs and records with his wife, Tanya Solomon, also a violist.[11] They won 'Best Chamber Performance of 2008' at the Tribute to the Classical Arts in New Orleans,[12] and they have premiered and recorded duos by Gerald Busby, Robert Cobert, Richard Lane, Rachel Matthews, Patrick Neher, Frank Proto and David Rimelis, among others. Slapin plays a viola built by Hiroshi Iizuka.[13]


To date, there have been seven recordings of Slapin's chamber music made by the Wistaria String Quartet, the Penn State Viola Ensemble, and the Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo. Slapin was the first person to record the complete cycle of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas (originally for violin) on viola,[14] a set which he rerecorded in 2006.[13] He has premiered and recorded many 20th and 21st Century recital works featuring the viola, and he is the featured soloist on the first album produced by the American Viola Society.[15] His 2008 recording, Paganini's 24 Caprices, marked the first time Paganini's 24 Caprices had been recorded on the viola since Emanuel Vardi in 1965.[4] After more than a decade of performing together as members of several orchestras, Slapin and Solomon transcribed for viola duo some of the symphonic repertoire's best-known works and in 2017 made an unprecedented two-viola recording of four of them: Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Rossini's Overture to the Barber of Seville, as well as an unabridged version of all four movements of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.


Slapin graduated at the age of eighteen from the Manhattan School of Music,[16] where he studied with Emanuel Vardi.[3] In memory of Vardi, he wrote 'Capricious', a viola trio which references several of Paganini's Caprices.[3] Slapin's Nocturne is dedicated to his composition teacher and mentor Richard Lane[17], and can be heard, along with Slapin's Elegy-Caprice, in the final scenes of the American docudrama Secret Life, Secret Death[18]


  1. ^ Potter, Tully (January 2000). "Two Viola Recitals (review)". Strad. 111 (1317): 72.
  2. ^ Somers, Paul (July 22, 1989). "Youth is well-served in Brunswick Symphony". New Jersey Star Ledger.
  3. ^ a b c d Solare, Carlos Maria (Spring 2013). "All Viola, All the Time: Music for Multiple Violas by Scott Slapin". Journal of the American Viola Society. 29 (1): 80.
  4. ^ a b Williams, Rory (December 2008). "Violist Scott Slapin Explores Paganini's Caprices". Strings magazine. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  5. ^ Moore, D (November–December 2004). "PROTO: Soundscapes (review)". American Record Guide: 162–3.
  6. ^ Ross, Sarah (Autumn 2012). "All Viola, All the Time Music For Multiple Violas by Scott Slapin". Journal of the Canadian Viola Society (70).
  7. ^ Solare, Carlos Maria (Spring 2010). "Reflection- Violacentric Music of Scott Slapin". Journal of the American Viola Society. 26 (1).
  8. ^ Olson, Christina; Cook, Ellen (Spring 2011). "The Maurice Gardner Viola Composition Competition". Journal of the American Viola Society. 27 (1): 7.
  9. ^ Holland, Bernard (December 16, 1992). "Orpheus in Love; Orpheus as Mediator Between 2 Worlds, But Just Which 2?". New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  10. ^ "Montalvo Arts Center". Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Solare, Carlos Maria (November 2005). "Sketches From the New World". Strad Magazine. Vol. 116 no. 1387. p. 115.
  12. ^ Coviello, Will (February 21, 2009). "The Tribute to the Classical Arts honors classical music, opera and dance Performances from 2008". Gambit: The Best of New Orleans. Gambit Communications. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Magil (July–Aug 2007). "Bach Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas". American Record Guide (4). p. 70. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ Knechtel, Baird (August 2004). "Review of Frank Proto's Soundscapes". Journal of the Canadian Viola Society.
  15. ^ Bynog, David (Spring 2014). "The American Viola Society Proudly Announces Its First Recording". Journal of the American Viola Society. 30 (1): 27.
  16. ^ Bynog, David (Spring 2010). "Scott Slapin: Charting His Own Course". Journal of the American Viola Society. 26 (1).
  17. ^ Kardan, Sel (Fall 2005). "Sketches From the New World: American Viola Duos in the 21st Century". Journal of the American Viola Society. 21 (2): 66.
  18. ^ "Secret Life Secret Death".

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