Leo Appel was born in Oxford, England. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at Cambridge University in 2021. There, he won first prize in the Concerto Competition, afterwards collaborating with conductor Jac van Steen on a performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. In the same year, he was awarded the Julius Isserlis prize by the Royal Philharmonic Society. Leo enjoys working as a soloist and from a young age has had engagements with orchestras throughout the UK and Europe, most recently with Kammerorchester Basel in June this year. A keen chamber musician, he is much in demand and frequently performs in a violin-piano duo and a piano trio, also making appearances with the Danish chamber collective, Esbjerg Ensemble.
Leo has a passion for historically informed performance and participates in regular workshops and masterclasses with renowned historical performance experts such as Robert Levin, Andreas Staier, and Jörg-Andreas Bötticher. This year, he won one of two Academist positions in Kammerorchester Basel.
As someone who loves to bring big ideas to life, Leo directed a performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion from the violin in Trinity College, Cambridge. In 2019–2020, he conceived and directed two sold-out concert series of Judeo-Spanish and Judeo-Arabic music. Leo’s enthusiasm for contemporary music extends beyond the standard Western Classical repertoire. He has formed close working relationships with many composers, and recently collaborated on a series of performances of new chamber music on Jewish themes in Kings Place, London.
Leo is currently studying for a Master's degree specialising in Solo Performance at the Musik Akademie Basel with Barbara Doll and Amandine Beyer (baroque violin). Before that, he studied with David Takeno. Leo has participated in masterclasses with the likes of Maxim Vengerov, Leonidas Kavakos, Steven Isserlis, Tabea Zimmermann, and Philippe Graffin. He plays a violin by Joseph Gagliano.