Julie Amacher

Julie Amacher

Host, Classical Music, New Classical Tracks
Minnesota Public Radio
jamacher@mpr.org


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.


Julie Amacher Feature Archive

karl jenkins motets polyphony stephen layton
Composer Karl Jenkins marks his 70th birthday and his 50th year as a musician with a collection of new pieces and new arrangements of his most popular works. Plus, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of the CD. (10/15/2014)
joshua bell bach
At home, Joshua Bell plays the violin music of Bach practically every day. But he hasn't recorded a full Bach album, until now. (10/08/2014)
benjamin grosvenor dances
From a Bach keyboard partita to a sultry Albeniz tango - the pieces on this disc have dance rhythms running through them. It's a brand-new release from young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. (10/01/2014)
In her new disc, superstar mezzo Joyce DiDonato journeys to Naples -- long one of the thriving centers of opera -- and discovers some unknown gems. (09/24/2014)
Alisa Weilerstein's new CD is the culmination of a dream that began in early childhood. Her recording of Dvorak's cello concerto is featured on this week's New Classical Tracks. (09/17/2014)
Violinist Nicola Benedetti has an Italian name, but she grew up in Scotland. Her new disc celebrates those Scottish roots, with a classical fantasy on Scottish melodies, a tribute to Robert Burns, and a selection of traditional folk tunes. (09/10/2014)
Barry Douglas, whose album is featured in this week's New Classical Tracks, had a chance to talk to Julie Amacher about the role of education in his life and work. (09/04/2014)
Irish pianist Barry Douglas is a self-described latecomer to the music of Franz Schubert. That said, Douglas has just released the first in a series of recordings celebrating Schubert's solo piano works. For this first volume, Barry wanted to focus on Schubert at the height of his creative powers. (09/03/2014)
Guitarist Milos Karadaglic has just released his fourth and what he refers to as his most ambitious recording yet. This recording is a personal homage to musicians and composers who changed the course of history for the guitar. (08/27/2014)
"Eventide," by the British choir Voces8, offers music for the end of the day -- hushed, meditative, ethereal. It's on this week's New Classical Tracks. (08/13/2014)
With balletic movement and adventurous sonic exploration, the two pianists of ZOFO are a twenty-finger orchestra. (08/06/2014)
Leon Fleisher turned 86 last week. He's a pianist, a conductor, a chamber player, and to his many students at the Peabody Conservatory, he's Obi-Wan Kenobi, a master teacher. Now Fleisher is out with his first album in nearly a decade. (07/30/2014)
Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist Lambert Orkis have released 'The Silver Album', a two-CD set featuring major sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms, a few timeless encore pieces and a couple world-premiere recordings. The album celebrates their 25-year collaboration. (07/23/2014)
They say timing is everything. Acoustic trio Time for Three couldn't agree more. Just as their self-titled debut album was in the works, the trio made a splash for being denied seats on a plane - because they were carrying instruments. (07/16/2014)
The centerpiece of this new disc is a melodrama (music combined with the spoken word), drawing on works by Dvorak and the poet who inspired him -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. (07/09/2014)