Gilles Apap began playing the violin at an early age and took up the fiddle at 26. He has been pursuing his musical dreams ever since. He has released one album of his own, 1996's Gilles Apap and the Transylvanian Mountain. He has also performed on releases by Jim Connolly & the Gove County Philharmonic, Headless Household, Ottmar Liebert, and Luis Munoz. In addition, he has lent his talents to two tribute album projects: 1998's Pickin' on Neil Young and Pickin' on Crosby Stills, Nash, & Young, which was released in 2000.
- Gary Hill (All Music Guide)
Violinist Gilles Apap brings a new energy and sound to the violin's virtuosity in a wide-ranging collection of classical and folk music. Apap is a classical virtuoso who is forging his own repertoire and style of performance; classical violin pieces mingle with folk and traditional music, accented with the flavor of jazz, flamenco and Gypsy music.
Gilles Apap was born in Algeria to French parents in 1963 and studied at the Curtis Institute of Music after beginning his training in France. He first appeared on the international scene in 1985 when he won first prize in the contemporary music section of the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition. Menuhin himself became a mentor to the young violinist,calling Apap "the first violinist of the twenty-first century. He improvises, teaches, and inspires. He has classical music, contemporary music, and the folk music of the whole world at his fingertips." French filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon brought Apap to even greater prominence when he featured the violinist in a two-hour 1995 documentary entitled The Unknown Fiddler of Santa Barbara. Monsaingeon, who has also made feature documentaries about Menuhin, Glenn Gould , and many other musicians, was particularly taken with the violinist's sound, calling it "music at its maximum purity." Apap lives in Santa Barbara, where he teaches, serves as concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra.
Gilles Apap greatly enjoys teaching young musicians. He has taught at both the Menuhin Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland and the Menuhin School in London and he returns regularly to teach at the University of Benares, India in addition to the master classes he gives along his concert tours.
Called "the Violinist of the twenty-first century" by Yehudi Menuhin, Gilles Apap seems to find praise wherever he turns. He is becoming known around the world for his distinct talent of incorporating styles of music as diverse as American bluegrass and Gypsy fiddling with the standards of the classical repertoire, suggesting that Apap is of the opinion that all music is created equal.
Born in Algeria, Gilles Apap was raised in Nice where he studied the violin with Andre Robert, then later at the Conservatoire de Musique de Nice with Gustave Gaglio and at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Lyon with Veda Reynolds. He came to America to attend the Curtis Institute, and chose to settle in California. He has since become the concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra. His talent was recognized by Yehudi Menuhin in 1985, when Apap first brought himself to the attention of the great pedagogue by winning the Contemporary Music prize at the prestigious International Menuhin Competition. He gained the affection of Lord Menuhin, who asked him to perform in Berlin with the Enescu Foundation in 1989.
Gilles Apap's recent engagements include recitals and concerts on both coasts of the United States; in India, Russia, and the WOMADelaide Music Festival in Australia; and in Europe, including solo appearances with the Sinfonie de Bretagne, the Lille Mozart Festival, Germany's Rheinghau Music Festival, and the European Soloists Orchestra in Brussels. In March of 1999, at the invitation of Yehudi Menuhin, Apap joined the Sinfonia Varsovia for concerts in Paris and Montpellier. These performances led to a very successful series of concerts at the French festival Octobre en Normandie in October 2000, and further concert and recording projects with the orchestra. In October 2001, Apap has been invited by the Chatelet Paris to play a series of three concerts with his recently formed ensemble Colors of Invention.
Aside from performing, Apap has taught at both the Menuhin Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland and the Menuhin School in London, as well as the University of Benares, India and the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in Italy.
Apapaziz Productions, a record label which Apap recently formed with friends in the Santa Barbara area, released its first recording in 2000 with Apap and pianist Eric Ferrand-N'Kaoua performing the violin sonatas of Enescu, Ravel and Debussy. Their next release will be Apap performing with the Colors of Invention, a group he formed with Myriam Lafar, accordion; Philippe Noharet, double bass; and Ludovit Kovac, cymbalum, as well as with harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet and harpsichordist Corey Jamason. This CD, entitled "No Piano On That One", is due out in February 2001. All Apapaziz recordings can be ordered over the internet at www.gillesapap.com. Apap also performs on four recordings on the Sony Classical label, three with Gilles Apap and the Transylvanian Mountain Boys and one unreleased recording of the Bartok Sonatas.
Bruno Monsaingeon, noted for his films about Glenn Gould and Sviatoslav Richter, has made two documentaries featuring Apap, including The Unknown Fiddler of Santa Barbara and Gilles Apap Plays the Mozart Third Violin Concerto, recorded with the Sinfonia Varsovia.