Julia Doukakis, the youngest of four children, grew up surrounded by music on the New South Wales Central Coast. After taking up the violin aged six, she was drawn to the mellow tone of the viola and made the transition when she was 13. She graduated with honours from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2015, where she studied with Sydney Symphony Orchestra Principal Viola Roger Benedict.
Since graduating, Julia has worked professionally with several Australian orchestras, including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Julia was a Fellow with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and worked with the orchestra full time, including performances under world-renowned conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Lothar Koenigs, John Wilson, Oleg Caetani and David Robertson.
During all four years of her study, Julia was a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra and participated in many programmes, including collaborations with the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, as well as an international tour in 2013. This tour was Julia’s first experience in Europe, where she performed in venues such as the Konzerthous in Berlin and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, working with conductor Christoph Eschenbach and violinist Joshua Bell. Julia was also a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Sinfonia in 2015.
Julia is incredibly grateful to the financial assistance lent by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust through their Music Scholarship Program 2001, which has made it possible for her to move to London from Australia to take part in Southbank Sinfonia 2017.
What do you love about classical music?
My favourite part about classical music is the intensity of emotion that can be created when a group of individuals come together in performance. Whether it is a full symphony orchestra or a string quartet, it’s such a joy to be a part of.
What is your favourite piece of music, and why do you love it?
My answer to this question changes depending on what mood I’m in. However a piece that holds a special significance for me is Prokofiev’s Suite No.2 from Romeo and Juliet. I played this piece at my first National Music Camp when I was 16 and that experience sticks out in my memory as when I really fell in love with orchestral performance.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
The first musical instrument I fell in love with was the trombone, when I was just three years old. Unfortunately I had to wait until I was 10 and big enough to start playing, by which time I had already developed a love for string instruments and had a head-start on violin. However, I continued to play the trombone until I finished high school.