Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon, Viola Duo

Scott Slapin and Tanya SolomonViolist Scott Slapin jokes ruefully about his experience with Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. “You work hard, give concerts, write music, make recordings, and what gets the most attention from the press is that your house is under water!”  Slapin and his wife, Tanya Solomon, who played together in the viola section of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, lost most of their belongings when the New Orleans house they rented was submerged in the flood.  Along with many of their colleagues, they were featured in numerous news items about the Philharmonic’s suddenly itinerant musicians. 

But the very accomplished pair deserves equal attention for their recent recording on Eroica Classical, Sketches From the New World: American Viola Duos in the 21st Century—released only days before Katrina struck.  The album introduces newly commissioned works from the American composers Gerald Busby, Patrick Neher, Frank Proto, Richard Lane (1933-2004), who was Slapin’s own composition teacher, and to whom the disc is dedicated, and Slapin himself.  The newness of the repertoire is not the only exciting aspect of Sketches From the New World; a November review in the string journal The Strad called the duo’s playing “absolutely brilliant.”

Slapin and Solomon spent six months after the hurricane touring, performing in recitals and benefit concerts.  They also took some time to record their tour repertoire for a new Eroica Classical album, to be entitled Recital On the Road: What We Did On Our Summer Evacuation (scheduled for release in summer 2006).  After returning to New Orleans in February, by way of the western suburb Metairie, they played in the re-inaugural performances of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Orleans Opera.  Slapin and Solomon have been appointed as artists in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California, for June 2006

— Kathy Meizel, 4/18/06