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

Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit
Judith Clurman and Essential Voices USA have released a new album that is a stunning collection of music that celebrates Jewish holidays and the cycle of life. "I made this recording because I love this repertoire," Clurman says. Hear about this recording, and enter for a chance to win a copy of the CD. (12/17/2014)
Seraphic Fire Candlelight Carols
Miami-based Seraphic Fire's new album, 'Candlelight Carols', captures the beauty of the group's live holiday performances. It also includes works by Minnesota composers Jake Runestad and Abbie Betinis. What's more, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of the CD. (12/10/2014)
James Galway, The Man with the Golden Flute
Flutist James Galway has made 71 CDs for RCA, ranging from Mozart to movie music -- now brought together in one jumbo box set. (12/03/2014)
As a lot of people are traveling for Thanksgiving, Julie Amacher shares the music of a guitarist she discovered while waiting in the airport in Portland, Ore. It's fitting that guitarist Ryan Walsh was playing in an airport; his music incorporates styles he learned during his extensive travels. (11/26/2014)
Five of Sharon Isbin's classic recordings have been packaged into a new box set that highlights her career as a pioneering classical guitarist. (11/19/2014)
The new album from the choral ensemble Cantus, 'A Harvest Home', reflects the many experiences and moods of the Thanksgiving holiday. Plus, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of the disc. (11/12/2014)
Genre-bending ensemble Brooklyn Rider release an album inspired by a 100-year-old, cross-disciplinary project. (11/05/2014)
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. (10/29/2014)
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. (10/15/2014)
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)
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)