Julia Gessinger – Principal Violinist, Concertmaster
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Julia M. Gessinger. I was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. I am a violinist with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in addition to OCCO.
What’s your role with OCCO/this music/performance?
I am the concertmaster of the Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra. One of the concertmaster’s many roles is to tune the orchestra.
What attracted you to music, especially orchestral music?
When I was 14 I had the opportunity to participate in a music festival. When we prepared and performed Tschaikowski's 5th Symphony and I felt the vibration of the sound of the cello section coming towards me, I knew playing in orchestra was what I most wanted to do as a profession!
What were your musical influences growing up?
My grandfather Julius Gessinger was a composer. He had my father and all his siblings learn a string instrument so it was clear that I would as well. I began my violin studies at age 7 with the concertmaster of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Friedrich Rüstig.
Any other influences we might want to know about?
My father, Dr. Hartmut Gessinger, who taught high school physics, math and music until he retired, to this day plays bass for classical music and cornet for Dixieland jazz. He would take me to as many concerts as he could when I was growing up, which explains my love for both classical and jazz.
How long have you lived locally?
I have lived in Florida since 1992 when hurricane Andrew hit Miami. I won my violin position with the Orlando Philharmonic in 1996 and have lived in the Orlando area ever since.
What do you like about being here?
Orlando is a very nice place to live and work. It's centrally located between both oceans and I enjoy the influence of so many diverse cultures. Orlando has a lot of local talent and an arts scene that is sure to continue to explode as the city grows.
Are there any activities, restaurants, or other local establishments that you’re fond of?
I value the proximity to Wekiva and Blue Springs and I always enjoy the Winter Park boat tour. I am glad Orlando has so many theatre companies and I am proud that we will soon have a state of the art acoustic hall inside the Dr. Phillips Center. There are lots of amazing places to eat, some of my favorite restaurants are: Santiago Bodega, Winter Park Fish Company, Hillstone, 310 Park South, Bolé, and Tibby's.
What are you doing when you’re not playing with OCCO? Any hobbies/interests?
My husband and I enjoy producing and creating independent films. I also am passionate about teaching violin and viola. My biggest passion however is dancing salsa!
Besides orchestral music, what other music do you listen to?
I enjoy many styles of music as long as it's good and not too repetitive. My favorite style however is Jazz, anything from Dixieland to Bebop, Funk and Latin Jazz.
What’s something about you that someone might not know when they first meet you?
I am very handy and do most home repairs myself.