- 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: 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. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win her CD!
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.
'Mighty boutique orchestra' celebrates diverse women composers in 'Project W'
The Chicago Sinfonietta is celebrating its 30th anniversary season with a new album featuring world-premiere recordings of newly commissioned works by Jennifer Higdon, Clarice Assad, Jessie Montgomery, and Reena Esmail. Conductor Mei-Ann Chen shares insights into the new record, 'Project W: Works By Diverse Women Composers.'
Ending on a high note: Stephen Cleobury's final U.S. tour with the Choir of King's College
This week on New Classical Tracks, conductor Stephen Cleobury shares thoughts and reflections on his career as he prepares to wrap up his 37-year tenure leading the renowned Choir of King's College, Cambridge.
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: Jeremy Denk explores music through the ages in new album
This week on New Classical Tracks, pianist Jeremy Denk travels through 700 years of music history in his new album, 'c.1300-c.2000.'
New Classical Tracks: Rachel Barton Pine celebrates the music of black composers
This week on New Classical Tracks, Rachel Barton Pine talks about her connection to the blues and shares some extraordinary music by black composers featured on her latest album, 'Blues Dialogues.'
New Classical Tracks: Florence Price gets her due in new Naxos recording
This week on New Classical Tracks, conductor John Jeter shares insights into the Fort Smith Symphony's new recording, which celebrates composer Florence Price.
New Classical Tracks: Clara Osowski explores jazz and poetry in collaborative debut album
This week on New Classical Tracks, Clara Osowski explores jazz and poetry in her genre-bending debut album, 'Haunted Blue,' which features a range of songs written for her by jazz pianist Jeremy Walker.
New Classical Tracks: Osmo Vanska shares insights into Mahler's Resurrection Symphony
This week on New Classical Tracks, conductor Osmo Vanska shares insights into the Minnesota Orchestra's new recording of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony.
New Classical Tracks: Morten Lauridsen explores light, poetry, and nature in new album
This week on New Classical Tracks, composer Morten Lauridsen shares insights into his latest album, 'Light Eternal,' which features two world premieres alongside a number of his most popular works.
New Classical Tracks: Kim Kashkashian delves into Bach's Six Suites
Though Bach's Six Suites are most commonly heard as works for solo cello, they have been played on a range of instruments over the years. This week on New Classical Tracks, Kim Kashkashian brings them to life on viola.
New Classical Tracks: The OK Factor plays music from the heart in new lullaby album
This week on New Classical Tracks, Olivia Diercks and Karla Colahan of the violin-cello duo the OK Factor share insights into their new release, 'Love, the OK Factor: Lullabies and Love Songs.'
New Classical Tracks: Cally Banham and Cortango get to the heart of the holiday season
This week on New Classical Tracks, English horn player Cally Banham and her band Cortango are joined by members of the St. Louis Symphony on 'Cor Christmas,' featuring festive arrangements of holiday favorites -- with a few surprises on the way.
New Classical Tracks: Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo's Fire celebrate 'Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain'
This week on New Classical Tracks, Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo's Fire celebrate 'Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain' with traditional Celtic folk carols and later adaptions from the heart of Appalachia.