- Program Director, Classical Minnesota Public Radio, and Manager, C24
Julie Amacher's desire to introduce others to great music is what led her to radio. She began her professional broadcast career at a station in Sun Prairie, Wis. She went from rock 'n' roll to the Rocky Mountains, where she found her niche in public radio at KUNC in Greeley, Colo. Julie spent 13 years at KUNC, where she managed the announcers and their eclectic music format. During that time, she earned four national awards for best announcer. She joined Minnesota Public Radio in 1997 as an on-air host and also produces New Classical Tracks, a weekly podcast critiquing a new release each week. It airs locally at 7:15 a.m. Wednesdays and 5:15 p.m. Fridays.
Favorite classical music quote:
"Never compose anything unless the not composing of it becomes a positive nuisance to you." — Gustav Holst
First music recording you ever owned?
Actually, the first album I can remember really being enamored with was one my sister bought when I was 11 — Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman.
How did you get involved with classical music?
Virgil Thomson put it best: "Try a thing you haven't done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not." That's pretty much how I came to classical music. I just kept trying it. First as a kid sitting on the piano bench listening and singing as my mother played all kinds of music including classical. In high school, I finally started taking voice lessons. That's when I discovered art songs by composers like Franz Schubert. Before coming to Minnesota Public Radio, I worked at a public radio station in Colorado that included classical music in its eclectic mix. Since coming to MPR, I've really immersed myself in it.
If a listener were to go for coffee with you, what's the first thing they'd learn about you?
That I love chai tea and chocolate! Usually when I get to chat with our listeners the first thing they ask is, "How do you come up with all those interesting things to say?" Well, I do a lot of digging. I'm really curious, and I know they are too, so I love digging for fun tidbits about the music and the artists who perform it.
Your favorite piece from the classical music play list archive?
Beethoven's Choral Fantasy (DG 453 798). Claudio Abbado/Berlin Philharmonic. Pianist Yevgeny Kissin. This is a piece that isn't heard very often, but for me, it epitomizes what Beethoven's all about. It starts off quietly, with piano alone, and gradually builds into a luscious precursor to his Ninth Symphony.
New Classical Tracks: Pianist Haochen Zhang offers a fresh take on Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev
This week on New Classical Tracks, Cliburn Competition winner Haochen Zhang shares insights into his new recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the CD!
New Classical Tracks: Prolific 'outsider composer' Rick Sowash finds inspiration in Ohio roots
This week on New Classical Tracks, self-proclaimed 'outsider composer' Rick Sowash shares insights into his latest album, 'Seasonal Breezes: Five Chamber Works,' which features cellist Josh Aerie, the Sylvan Trio and a few other musical friends.
New Classical Tracks: Bach and Beatles go hand-in-hand in Janoska Ensemble's 'Revolution'
This week on New Classical Tracks, Janoska Ensemble members Julius Darvas and Frantisek Janoska share insights into their group's latest album, 'Revolution,' which features a number of genre-bending works, including new arrangements of Beatles favorites.
New Classical Tracks: Pianist Anna Shelest honors women composers in 'Donna Voce'
In her latest album 'Donna Voce,' pianist Anna Shelest showcases virtuosic works by Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn and more.
New Classical Tracks: Italian astronomer Galileo inspires a new collection of Irish music
The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin are celebrating their 20th anniversary with a new album featuring a collection of premieres and new arrangements of Irish and Scottish favorites. Artistic director Desmond Earley shares insights into the new record, 'Perpetual Twilight.'
New Classical Tracks: Anthony and Demarre McGill soar with 'Winged Creatures'
Clarinetist Anthony McGill shares insights into the inspiration behind 'Winged Creatures,' a new recording project brought to life in collaboration with his brother Demarre McGill and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.
New Classical Tracks: Composer Ludovico Einaudi turns daily walk into seven-part musical journey
This week on New Classical Tracks, Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi discusses the experiences that inspired his ambitious new project, 'Seven Days Walking.'
New Classical Tracks: Yolanda Kondonassis premieres new harp concerto by Jennifer Higdon in 'American Rapture'
Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and conductor Ward Stare share insights into their new album 'American Rapture,' which features the world premiere of a new harp concerto by Jennifer Higdon.
New Classical Tracks: Trumpeter Mary Bowden explores the purity and power of sound
This week on New Classical Tracks, trumpeter Mary Bowden shares insights into the special personal meaning of each track on her latest album, 'Reverie.'
New Classical Tracks: Pianist Lara Downes celebrates the power and artistic legacy of women in new album
This week on New Classical Tracks, pianist Lara Downes shares insights into her new album, 'Holes in the Sky,' as well as the Georgia O'Keeffe quote that inspired it.
New Classical Tracks: Itamar Zorman celebrates music of Paul Ben-Haim in 'Evocation'
Violinist Itamar Zorman shares insights into the inspiration behind his new album, 'Evocation,' which features works by Paul Ben-Haim.
New Classical Tracks: Violinist Renaud Capucon soars in album of iconic film music
Violinist Renaud Capucon celebrates the music of the silver screen in 'Cinema,' his new album with Stephane Deneve and the Brussels Philharmonic. The record includes selections from 'Cinema Paradiso,' 'The Godfather,' 'Yentl' and more.
New Classical Tracks: Pianist Jan Lisiecki brings Mendelssohn masterpieces to life
Pianist Jan Lisiecki brings masterpieces by Felix Mendelssohn to life in a new project with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
New Classical Tracks: Violinist Francesca Anderegg captures impressions of Brazilian life
This week on New Classical Tracks, violinist Francesca Anderegg shares insights into recording her new album, 'Images of Brazil,' and her collaboration with Brazilian pianist Erika Ribeiro.
New Classical Tracks: Lang Lang rediscovers pieces from his youth in 'Piano Book'
This week on New Classical Tracks, pianist Lang Lang goes back to his first love -- the pieces that made him want to become a musician in the first place. In his new recording 'Piano Book,' he highlights these classic pieces as the masterworks they truly are.
New Classical Tracks: Matthew Lipman soars with premieres of viola fantasies
This week on New Classical Tracks, Matthew Lipman shares insights into his first solo album, 'Ascent,' featuring premieres of uplifting and transcendent viola fantasies.
New Classical Tracks: Cellist Hee-Young Lim celebrates French composers
This week on New Classical Tracks, cellist Hee-Young Lim shares insights into how her many years spent studying in France and her love of French culture inspired her to record an album featuring all French composers.
Charlie Chaplin's musical side celebrated in album of new arrangements
This week on New Classical Tracks, violinist Philippe Quint and pianist Marta Aznavoorian share the story behind their new album, 'Chaplin's Smile.' The recording, which features guest violinist Joshua Bell on a few tracks, re-imagines Charlie Chaplin's original film music in new arrangements.
New recording brings Rameau's 'Temple of Glory' to life as originally envisioned
This week on New Classical Tracks, Nicholas McGegan, director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, shares insights into the world premiere recording of the original version of Rameau's 'Le Temple de la Gloire.'
Voces8 paints a musical portrait of home in 'Enchanted Isle'
This week on New Classical Tracks, Barnaby Smith, artistic director of Voces8, shares insights into the ensemble's latest album, 'Enchanted Isle.' The recording paints a musical portrait of the UK landscape.