Julie Ayer was Assistant Principal Second Violin with the Minnesota Orchestra for 36 years, and formerly a member of the Houston Symphony. She studied violin with world renowned Josef Gingold at Indiana University. She organized and participated in a musician exchange with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, was a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, and the Oregon Bach Festival. She is one of the founding members of the Hill House Chamber Players, the resident ensemble of the James J Hill House, a nationally important historical landmark in St. Paul, MN, owned by the Minnesota Historical Society. In May of 2015, she rejoined the Minnesota Orchestra on their ground-breaking tour to Cuba.
More Than Meets the Ear, How Symphony Musicians Made Labor History, is a previously undocumented account of the struggle by symphony musicians for professional dignity and equity. It was inspired by the activism and accomplishments of many visionary leaders of the ’50’s, ’60’s and ’70’s, which led to the founding of ICSOM, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians. The Iowa Writers Workshop was especially valuable in the process of recording this labor history. She has spoken to a variety of groups, including labor lawyers, music students and colleagues.
“One movement that still resonates, book chronicles orchestra musicians’ labor achievements. Ayer writes with an insider’s knowledge, experience and commitment”
– Boston Sunday Globe, Richard Dyer, June 18, 2006