was the first person to receive
a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in double bass performance from the
Juilliard School, where he was awarded a full-tuition scholarship. His
teachers there included David Walter, double bass; Gustav Reese,
musicology; and Roger Sessions, composition. He earned his Bachelor's
and two Master's degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.
He has performed at a number of summer festivals here and abroad, and was for five years a member of the Orquesta del Festival Casals in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For 10 years he served as Principal Double Bassist of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. As a recitalist and a chamber musician, he has performed and lectured internationally. Throughout his career he has played the famous "Marangoni Busan," made by Domenico Busan in Venice in 1776 and once owned by Giuseppe Marangoni, who played it as Principal Double Bassist of La Scala di Milano. In 2004, he acquired a second 18th century Italian double bass believed to be by Tononi.
The founder of the Yardarm Trio, he is unusual among double bassists in specializing in chamber music, and he has greatly expanded his instrument's chamber-music repertoire. Composers from several countries have dedicated works to him. He is a 1983-1984 winner of the Fulbright Performing-Artist Award for Seoul, Korea. In 1984 he gave masterclasses in Beijing and Shanghai at the request of the Chinese Musicians' Association.
In 2000, he presented a paper about his chamber-music arrangements at I Seminário Nacional de Pesquisa em Performance Musical, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil. In 2002 he returned to Brazil to judge its first National Double Bass Performance Competition; he performed recitals in Pirenópolis and Goiânia, gave several masterclasses, and presented a paper on arranging at the University of Goiás. He has several scholarly articles published in Per Musi and Hodie, Brazil's leading peer-reviewed journals. Others of his articles have been published internationally as has his original compositions and arrangements. His music for the Yardarm Trio is published by Ludwin Music, Los Angeles. His arrangements of 19th century chamber music are published by Editions Silvertrust, Illinois.
He has taught on the faculties of Baylor University; the Hartt School, University of Hartford; and the Manhattan School of Music. He is now Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at Kean University, Union, New Jersey, where he teaches Music History and Form & Analysis in addition to Double Bass. He is the Founder of the Concert Artist Program at Kean which has brought internationally recognized performers onto the faculty and which presents its own concert series on which he performs regularly.
The Washington Post called his chamber-music performance at the Kennedy Center "inspiring". Classical New Jersey said he is a player of "top caliber...Scelba's tone was vibrant and his technique formidable".