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Gilles Apap

Described by Yehudi Menuhin as ‘’a true 21st century violinist‘’, Gilles is known for his multifaceted virtuosity, unique approach to music and ability to bring joy to any concert hall. He presents original performances of the standard classical repertoire combined with genres such as jazz and folk from around the world, and the result is a unique approach that fuses different musical styles.

Born in Algeria to a French family, Gilles started playing at an early age and pursued his studies in France. Later, he moved to America and continued his musical education at the Curtis Institute, eventually settling in California. From the beginning of his career, he wanted to break away from the constraints of the international music industry, seeking his own way beyond the conventions and expectations associated with a commercial career.

As a soloist, Gilles has performed with some of the leading orchestras, including: Leipzig Gewandhaus, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, ElbPhilharmonie Hamburg, Boston Philharmonic, Berliner Symphoniker, Russian National Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic. He often performs both conducting and playing in a long list of violin concerts.

With his quartet ‘The Colors of Invention’ (violin, accordion, double bass and cymbalom), Gilles presents chamber music fusing classical pieces by Vivaldi, Ravel and Bartok with traditional folk melodies. The ethno jazz band ‘Meduoteran’ (violin, accordion and saxophone) is one of his most recent projects, which sees him performing at numerous jazz and folk festivals throughout Europe. ‘The Transylvanian Mountain Boys’ is another highly successful crossover band he formed. Together they perform all over the world and have released three CDs for Sony Classical. He was also the artistic director of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra until the 2017/2018 season.

Gilles has also collaborated with Celtic violinist Kevin Burke, Indian violinist Dr. L. Subramanian, Roma violinist Roby Lakatos, jazz violinist Didier Lockwood and contemporary flamenco dancer Belen Maya.

In addition to concerts, Gilles is heavily involved in training activities with a teaching philosophy strongly connected to cultural diversity and freedom of interpretation through improvisation, as Ariana Todes, former director of The Strad, reflected in an interview in August highlighting these eclectic aspects of his career.

After participating in the Menuhin International Competition in 1985, Gilles established a lasting partnership with Yehudi Menuhin. Together they worked on the legendary cadenza of Mozart's Third Violin Concerto, which was filmed and directed by Bruno Monsaingeon.  Famous for his documentaries on Gould, Richter and Oistrakh, Monsaingeon directed two other films on Gilles Apap and his approach to music, and stated that the violinist's art ‘represents music at its purest.’

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