Jessie Goebel, Principal Viola
Terry and Liza Johnson Wong Chair
Jessie Goebel received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. She has studied with Karen Tuttle, James Dunham Philipp Naegele and Karen Ritscher, among others.
Jessie has played principal and section viola with the Tanglewood Orchestra (1995-97), the New World Symphony (1996-98), the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder (1998-2000) and in the Grand Teton Music Festival orchestra and chamber ensembles (2002). During the summers of 2012-15, Jessie was substitute viola with the Chatauqua Symphony Orchestra. She has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1998.
I grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts, and left home at 17 to study viola performance at the Eastman School of Music, where I earned my Bachelor of Music degree. After graduation, I moved to New York City to attend the Mannes College of Music and then to The Juilliard School for my Master of Music. I joined the New World Symphony in 1996, where I was a fellow for two years before joining the Naples Philharmonic as principal viola in 1998.
What inspired you to become a musician?
When I was in kindergarten, a local violin teacher came to our classroom to show us the violin and played for us. When she finished, she asked if anyone wanted to take one home. I raised my hand and the rest is history! My parents got me a teacher and I played my violin all the time. My mom would take me to see Itzhak Perlman whenever he was at Tanglewood, and I watched him on TV. He was my inspiration! By watching his violin playing, I taught myself how to use vibrato!
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I love my colleagues; they are family.
What’s challenging about playing your instrument?
The viola is known to be oversized, bulky and difficult to be heard. In some musical selections, it can be hard for the viola to cut through the sound and texture of an ensemble. Our viola section does not have this issue!
What have you been listening to recently?
I have my favorite symphony on my jogging playlist: Mahler’s 10th Symphony. People chuckle when I tell them that. I love slower, schmaltzy works; they tug at my heartstrings.
Are there other musicians in your immediate family?
My father had an incredible operatic singing voice—he could have had a career with it but chose to become a history professor instead!
What do you like to do outside of work?
My days are filled with learning music and taking care of my two teenagers and a labradoodle puppy. I enjoy exercise daily which helps maintain sanity, equilibrium, strength and the physical stamina needed to play my viola. I love enjoying Naples and spending time with my husband and children.