Born in Tarare, Rhône, where he starts his musical career, Paul Apelian studies at the Conservatoire National de Région de Lyon and then at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, where he wins a first prize in clarinet and then in chamber music. After graduation he joins the chamber music class of Christian Lardé. At the same time he dedicates himself to composition, teaching and orchestras. But he is particularly inclined to the interiority of the chamber music.
In 1979 Paul Apelian joins the Orchestre National de Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon as clarinet solo. Since then he performs regularly as a soloist with this formation, but also with other orchestras from Paris and Europe. Because of his passion for chamber music, he performs frequently with musicians of the Paris Orchestra and of the Opera de Paris and very often in recitals with piano.
He has participated in many recordings for Radio France and also in many festivals, such as the Festival International de Radio-France et de Montpellier. He was among the French soloists invited by the Internation Corean Festival, and also to the North African Festival.