Gaby Kapps

Composer, pianist, singer




Music is not an abstract entity for me. Nor is it a lofty concept hovering in some obscure place over my head. Music is, quite simply, an integral part of who I am. Because of this symbiotic condition, I find it rather difficult to cast my 'approach' to music in words, since there is no distance between us. Music is an additional protein in the nuclei of my bodily cells, a piece of my constitution. It has been, and still is to this day, the greatest of my passions. By her, through her and with her I can be my true self. My compositions are an extension of my emotions, my intellectual unrest, my poetic throes, my roiling passions, my very self. I compose...because I must. I began composing rather late in life. Why? Because I never believed in my capabilities. I had made an attempt at composing when I was younger, but it was met with cool reception on behalf of one of my mentors, who had gone literally out of his way to discourage me from composing, so I decided I had better give up an activity for which I was not suited. After a very long time lapse, and through a rock and blues band, I began to write songs. They were met with such consensus that I suddenly realized that this is what I wanted to do, more than anything else. I began composing, and cannot live without doing so now. My experience as teacher, choir conductor and mentor has taught me much. Not least of all patience and humility. I am grateful to all my past students. Through them I have learnt to be a better person. I firmly believe that man carries the imprint of creation inside him. Whether you believe in metaphysical creation, or the Big Bang, it matters little. We carry that seed. And when we are not in the process of creating or working, we are not in a natural state.

Gaby Kapps was born in Melbourne, Australia, on the 23/4/1970 of italian parents who had migrated to Australia after the war. Her mother, Maria, had a beautiful lyrical voice, while her father, Rocco, wrote poems of melancholy for his lost mother land. Gaby began her musical studies at the age of 11, at the MacDonald School of music and immediately evinced her interpretative strain and musical sensitivity. He instrument was, and still is, the piano. She won a number of piano prizes while still in Australia, and participated in numerous piano and music festivals, where her performances were noticeable for their expressive character. She returned to her parents’ mother land, Italy, at the age of 18. In Catania, Sicily, she attended the CONSERVATORIUM MUSICALE VINCENZO BELLINI, where she obtained her Piano Diploma under the musical teachings and supervision of Maestro Pietro Cavalieri, theory, harmony and analysis with Maestro Riccardo Insolia, morphology with Maestro Spampinato. She also attended chamber music classes at the Conservatiorium. She attended a number of MasterClasses at the L’Ecole International de Musique, Lausanne Switzerland and Tres/Taio in Trentino Alto Adige, with the Maestro Fausto Zadra and Maestro Giovanetti, distinguishing herself and giving recitals during the duration of the piano seminars. She immediately began working as a piano teacher, while she was also also Chapel Music Director at the NAS Sigonella Naval Air base, where her love for choral ensembles began and developed. She later transferred to Greece, after her marriage with a Greek national she had met in Sicily, who was studying Engineering at the Catania University. There she dedicated her time to teaching, concert giving and choral conducting. She also studied band orchestration and musical composition there, at the Apollonion Odeio of Athens , obtaining a diploma in the skill. She began composing late in her life, because, as she often affirms, ‘She did not believe in her capabilities for a very long time’. Through the songwriting experience she realised her talent and greatest passion, that of musical composition. Gaby is also a jazz and blues singer. Gaby Kapps won the February ‘Akademia Music Awards’ Los Angeles, for her string quartet ‘Obsessive Fantasy for String Quartet’ in three movements. She is the proud and happy mother of two talented daughters, Angelica Maria and Antea Cristiana. A role to which she dedicated much time, without regretting one day



What does music mean to you personally?

My heart has always beat along with music, ever since I was a small child. My mother had a very beautiful soprano voice and often sang italian opera in the house while doing her housework. My father was a musically sensitive man who often listened to his vinyl records, while reading or taking a nap. His taste was various. From the classics to the great old jazz ballad singers, like Nat King Cole. I grew up with music surrounding me. I would stop in my steps when I heard some sort of melody or musical sound, and I would listen to it dreamily.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I think fantasy has a lot to do with it. It is the spurt towards creativity that animates a composer or artist. Emotion, inclination, sensitivity, a sense of rhythm and acoustic architecture, plus culture and education is the recipe that makes each composer or artist what he/she is. Talent constitutes a good 70% of the picture, but it is not enough.

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

A journalist, author, professor or writer perhaps. I love history, philosophy, I like to analyse current events and facts, I read a lot. And literature is my other passion. I have always loved teaching and mentoring too.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

I wouldn’t say it’s getting old. It is getting ‘different’, both in good ways and bad. Perhaps the aggressively visual world is interfering with classical music, and the purely utilitarian also. The international crisis is not helping the situation, since the classical world is under subsidized and needs more financial support, which is being denied daily. We are beset with problems. But there are many, many youths in the world of classical music. Who flag a completely different ‘style’ or approach to it.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Oh yes, and my precedent reply mentions this strongly. Great transformation. First of all, a concert now stands on less ideal legs. It must be commercially viable. It must be visually enticing. And we are wrestling with the sceptre-holding virtual world, where everything is obtainable with a click of an app or the pressing of a keyboard.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind.

Ah! Perhaps Cameron Carpenter first, then Yuja Wang and Khatia Butianshvili. Even Eric Whitacre with his Virtual Choir, an international choral experiment using the web which I find to be a brilliant initiative with an even more brilliant result.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? What’s the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Classical music is already incorporating what it would never have in the past. Electronic music, collaborations with other music genres, unions of ethnic and classical, and the video dimension, with more and more classical musicians appearing in music videos, a thing which was exclusive territory of pop and rock music.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generations into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

Well, as I said, visuals seem to be of great importance nowadays. Perhaps less sterile academicism would help? Classical music should not look down on her audience, nor make it so very difficult for listeners to appreciate its inherent beauty.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

Well, I find all my compositions to be diverse facets of myself, so I like (sometimes, in a fit of self-doubt, I may even hate them) them in general. But my favourites are My Obsessive Fantasy for String Quartet in three movements, and my Nocturne Nr. 2 in B flat Minor called ‘A Dialogue in the Night’ for piano solo. They represent me quite well.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

I am not a purist in music. I love all these forms of art and I tend to accost my music-making to images and ideas. The arts enhance EACH OTHER, with stunning results. I have embarked on a task of writing some piano preludes inspired by Poets or Poetry. Hoping I can get some contemporary poets to participate in my venture. Poetic Preludes. I think it sounds promising. The first exists already. I called it ‘Remembrance Prelude’. There are two which a lady well-known to you will be playing soon, inspired by the ancient Greek Poet Sappho.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Every new discovery must start from a simple premise I think. First they must begin by discovering the music inside them. Through their voice. The very first instrument of music that humanity has been endowed with. For me, singing is an indispensable starting point to approach instrumental music. Singing in a good choir refines the ear and musical taste. After which you can start to learn an instrument which inspires you, but I would strongly insist that youth music schools be welcoming and mentors be sensitive and charismatic people that guide young learners along with passion and creativity. The family’s choice and taste in music helps also.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk about classical music getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

Alas, it is so. Idealism is vanishing and utilitarianism is predominating. And this is a contradiction in terms you see, because art is quite the contrary of anything utilitarian. Music especially is an evanescent thing that appeals directly to our emotional spectrum; it does not produce, it not corporeal. It is recorded of course and then rendered commercial, but it continues to be something immaterial that needs a means-either human or artificial-to come alive and audible. Music was the main means of worship in the past (it still is in a way) so its scope was that of imploring a deity who would be moved by our beautiful petition through song and music. Now we must ‘sell’ ourselves. Doesn’t it sound…sad? We must recur to marketing or milk an aspect of ourselves that will attract attention. We women fall easily into the rhetoric of sex appeal in this case. Our physical aspect is a factor that is easily speculated upon.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience? That they can relate and appreciate my music, and want to listen to it again. And again. That they can understand and comprehend it. And feel ultimately attracted to it.

Music is, after all, communication. Not of concepts, but of emotions. Of sheer living and sentience. Of moments of beauty. It accompanies us in all times of our life.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects? Projects? Well, each and every one of my new compositional ventures is a project and an experiment. I like to work with light and shades, and search for musical nuances. I like to paraphrase my passion through my notes. I need my heart to beat strongly when I compose, and my mind to wander.