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Scott Slapin (Viola)

Born: May 18, 1974 - Newark, New Jersey, USA

The Amewrican violist and composer, Scott Slapin, was born into a family of musicians. He studied the viola at the Manhattan School of Music and earned his Bachelor of Music degree by the age of 18, making him one of the youngest graduates in the school's history. He studied the viola with Barbara Barstow, Sally Peck, and Emanuel Vardi (1917-2011). Under Vardi's influence, he played and recorded many transcriptions from the violin repertoire including J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas, Paganini's 24 Caprices, and shorter pieces by Kreisler and Ernst. He studied composition with Richard Lane (1933-2004), began writing music at the age of 11, and at 14 made his debut as a composer in the State Theater of his native New Jersey, favorably reviewed in the New Jersey Star Ledger. Lane, also a pianist, and Scott later performed together extensively in recital, premiering several of Lane's viola compositions.

Scott Slapin began his professional career as the on-stage solo violist in the New York City production of Orpheus in Love (1992-1993), a chamber opera about a viola player by Gerald Busby and Craig Lucas. He has premiered other works by Busby including his Muse for Solo Viola in Carnegie's Weill Hall (1994), and he has inspired other outstanding American composers including Richard Lane, David Noon and Frank Proto to write him solo works as well. In the late 1990's, Scott gave the premiere performances of Richard Lane's Third Viola Sonata and Richard Lane's Nocturne for Solo Viola, and he has recently recorded a new unaccompanied work by Cincinnati composer Frank Proto to be released at a date TBA on the Red Mark label. He was the first violist in history to have recorded the complete cycle of J.S. Bach's Unaccompanied Sonatas & Partitas for Violin on the viola (Eroica Classical Recordings), a CD-set which has been widely featured in print and on radio. He re-recorded this cycle in 2006. His solo CDs have received critical acclaim in journals such as The American Record Guide, Strad, Musical Opinion and Fanfare, as well as from legendary string virtuosi ranging from Gary Karr to Ruggiero Ricci.

Scott Slapin's viola playing has received critical acclaim in the American Record Guide, Strad and Fanfare. He has given countless recitals and premiered works for solo viola in such venues as Carnegie's Weill Hall and at international viola congresses. He was commissioned to write the required solo piece for the 2008 International William Primrose Viola Competition. He has also written several chamber works featuring the viola, many of which can be heard on an Eroica Classical Recordings CD “Reflection”, performed by members of the Slapin family.

Scott Slapin's compositions have been performed by violists throughout the USA and abroad., including at the Primrose, ARD and Tertis Competitions and in conservatories and concert halls from New York to Los Angeles. He was on the committee for the inaugural Maurice Gardner Composition Competition, and he co-premiered the winning work Dreams by Rachel Matthews at the 38th International Viola Congress.

His first orchestral position brought him to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was principal violist with the city's symphony and chamber orchestras. He played for a season with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and with his wife, violist Tanya Solomon, he has held contracts with the Chattanooga Symphony, New Orleans Symphony, Louisville Orchestra and São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (Brazil). They met touring with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra (They were the entire viola section), and have toured extensively throughout the USA and South America as members of these orchestras.

Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon often perform together as a duo, and they can be heard playing Leclair's Sonata for Two Violas on an Eroica Classical Recordings compact disc entitled “Sonatas by Lane, Leclair and Handel” (Eroica). As duo recitalists, they won Best Chamber Music Performance of 2008 at New Orleans' Tribute to the Classical Arts, and their debut CD “Sketches from the New World” was hailed as "absolutely brilliant" in Strad. They have premiered many of Scott's compositions, as well as duos by Gerald Busby, Richard Lane, Patrick Neher, Frank Proto and David Rimelis. They were living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. They participated in benefit concerts from California to New York (with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra), and they released the duo CD “Recital On the Road: What We Did On Our Summer Evacuation”. Since 2003 they have been based in New Orleans.

Scott Slapin's compositions are published by Liben in Cincinnati and Ourtext in London, and his recordings are available on the Red Mark and Eroica Classical Recordings labels. A former fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in California, Scott was featured in the Spring 2010 edition of the Journal of the American Viola Society.

Scott Slapin plays a 'viola d'amore style' viola made by Hiroshi Iizuka. He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians (Local 174-496 New Orleans), the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) and the American Viola Society.

Myron Rosenblum, founder and first president of the American Viola Society wrote, "Scott Slapin is a musician of great talent and abilities - a violist of technical accomplishments and superior musicality. He is a violist to watch". Virtuoso doublebassist Gary Karr wrote of Scott's playing and composing, "He has a beautiful sound with a compelling musical intensity, and he plays with a passion that demands one's attention. I especially liked his own pieces which, like his playing, are rich in emotional energy.... a very impressive display of artistry and musicality."

"If any contemporary violist continues to carry the torch of the composer-performer, it is Scott Slapin." - Journal of the American Viola Society
Slapin's magnificent playing says 'Bring it on!'" - Fanfare
"Scott Slapin is great! It's hard to imagine better performances." - Ruggiero Ricci
"Slapin has a rich resonant sound and phrases magisterially." - The American Record Guide
"first rate viola virtuoso." - Canadian Viola Society

Source: Scott Slapin Website; Eroica Recordings Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2011)

Scott Slapin: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Scott Slapin (Official Website)
Scott Slapin (Eroica Recordings)

Scott Slapin (Wikipedia)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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