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Scott Slapin

Scott Slapin photoScott Slapin was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1974 into a family of musicians. He began writing music at the age of eleven, and his first orchestral premiere, at age fourteen, was a critical success in the New Jersey State Theater. He studied the viola at the Manhattan School of Music and earned his Bachelor of Music degree by the age of eighteen, making him one of the youngest graduates in the school's history.

Scott began his professional career as the on-stage solo violist in the New York City production of Orpheus in Love (1992-93), a chamber opera 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. Scott was the first violist in history to have recorded the complete cycle of J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas on the viola (available through Eroica Classical Recordings), a cd-set which has been widely featured in print and on radio.

Scott and his wife, violist 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 (JDT3134). Scott and Tanya have toured extensively throughout the United States and South America as members of the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), and they are former principal violists of the Knoxville and Chattanooga symphonies.

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."

Visit the cds section of this website to see Scott Slapin's latest cd releases.

An Interview with Scott Slapin

Eroica: How did you begin creating music?

Scott: I began playing at the age of six. My mother made me(!) My parents (and many other relatives) are musicians.

I began to compose on my own around the age of eleven or so. For me it was maybe around the age of fourteen that I didn't need to be forced to practice the viola anymore. Ever since then I haven't been able to stop.

E: What musician or musicians have inspired you the most?

S: In person and on record: Emanuel Vardi and Gary Karr. On record: Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein, David Oistrakh and William Primrose. This is the abridged list, of course.

E: How about other artists or authors?

S: The list would really be too long. . . perhaps I should mention Philip Roth's novels and Don Byron playing Klezmer music.

E: What do you want your music to communicate?

S: This of course depends upon the piece....In general, though, there is always a certain mood/emotion I am trying to impart to the listener. This could be anything ranging from the very profound and spiritual (The Bach Sonatas and Partitas for example) to the dramatic and emotional (Bloch's Prayer), to the absolutely silly and ridiculous (Ernst's Last Rose Variations on viola--or my own The Hassid and The Hayseed which combines Americana and Jewish folk music.)

Regarding the Ernst Variations on the Last Rose which is one of the most difficult pieces ever written for the violin, a couple people have said to me, "You know, that piece isn't really suited to the viola."

I then respond, "That's the whole point!"

Actually, it's not really suited to the violin either, but it's definitely not suited to the viola. What's fun about it is that it is a bunch of circus-like stunts on a simple tune which should shock and astound the audience and make them laugh a bit. (I feel that way about some of the Paganini Caprices on the viola as well.) I think some don't 'get it' because they expect everything only to be serious.

Classical music can (and should) convey the same range of emotions that are present in any other genre of music--and that are present in life (including even having a sense of humor at times).

Feel free to visit my website at: www.scottslapin.com and read all about it!

 

Tanya Solomon

Scott Slapin photoBorn in Geneva, Switzerland, violist TanyaSolomon has performed throughout the Americas and Europe as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician. Tanya has played regularly in the Spoleto Festivals of Italy (‘Festival dei Due Mondi’) and Charleston, South Carolina, and she has been a member of the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas and the Chicago Civic Orchestra under such legendary conductors as Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez. Tanya holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM) and Northwestern University (MM), and she has taught at the University of Tennessee (Chattanooga). Her teachers include Michael Tseitlin, Jeffrey Irvine and Peter Slowik. Tanya and her husband violist Scott Slapin often perform as a duo. They have played together throughout the United States and South America as members of the Philadelphia Virtuosi, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (Brazil), the Louisville Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans. They can be heard on their duo CD 'Sketches from the New World: American Viola Duos in the 21st Century' to be released this fall by Eroica Classical Recordings.

Formerly principal violist of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Tanya is also a photographer.

 

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