American composer and musician Julie Spencer is an internationally renowned virtuoso on the marimba, and has appeared in concerts throughout Europe, North America, and Japan. Spencer created the Tribeca Mallets for Mike Balter Mallets with rods attached to the mallets for a percussive sound on the marimba.
With international corporate, private, and state commissions as well as awards such as a jazz composition fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in the United States, Spencer’s works are being played throughout the world. She has been invited to perform her music in concerts and workshops at the Percussive Arts Society International Conventions in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and in the Percussion Society of Japan conventions in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, and at European jazz festivals. Spencer has had compositions and arrangements performed in the Green Umbrella New Chamber Music Series of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Japan American Theater, and conducted by Lalo Schifrin in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Her first concerto for marimba and orchestra, was premiered in Japan with chamber ensemble, and premiered in Warsaw, Poland with orchestra in 2004. Other commissions include a company pop song for an international magnetic jewelry designer, Energetix, and “Out of the Stillness” from the city of Bingen, music co-composed with Spencer’s husband, ethnomusicologist, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Gernot Blume, based on the medieval visionary writings of Hildegard von Bingen, and released as a CD recording. Since 2007 the entire catalog of Spencer’s orchestral, choral, wind ensemble, chamber, jazz, and solo works is published by Norsk Musikforlag in Oslo, Norway. Commissions and premieres include the Glendale Symphony, the Japan Percussion Society, Oregon Repertory Singers, Hiroshi Tanaka of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, Shiori Tanaka, Marumi Akita, Karuko Ihara, Nancy Zeltsman, Emil Richards, and Beverley Johnston. Spencer and Blume have had jazz and world music ensembles with artists from Venezuela, Mongolia, Iran, Brazil, India, and Germany, and have performed/ recorded with Glen Moore – bassist with “Oregon,” hand percussionist Glen Velez, John Bergamo, Michael Wimberly, Aldo Mazza, flutist and Guggenheim award recipient James Newton, saxophonists Peter Epstein, Carl Clements, percussionists/drummers Dane Richeson, Ruben Alvarez, Craig Williams, Daniel Morris, Joe Bonadio, and Ethiopian/German singer Menna Mulugeta, a finalist in The Voice of Germany.
Spencer has been part of the faculty on numerous Zeltsman ZMF festivals, US Percussion Camps, KoSA, the Mycka IKMMA festival, and adjudicator at various competitions such as the Japan Percussion Society solo mallet competition in Tokyo. In the United States she was adjunct faculty at Cal Arts and at the University of Michigan. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, and recipient, post graduation, of the Performer’s Certificate, Spencer received a master’s degree from the California Institute of the Arts. Spencer now lives in Germany. Her music can be heard on more than 20 CD releases of pop, jazz, contemporary, world music, and chamber percussion. Her teachers include John Beck, John Bergamo, Jeff Nearpass, Alfred Ladzepko, Swapan Choudhury, Kobla Ladzepko, Taranath Rao, Amiya Dasgupta, I Nyoman Wenten, David Roitstein, James Newton, and Paul Novros. Also a prize-winning artist with numerous exhibits, Spencer has works in private collections in Japan, the U.S., Germany, and Norway. Her art is featured by Norsk Musikforlag on the covers of her scores and Blume’s scores and on CD covers of other artists. Spencer plays Mike Balter Mallets, Majestic Marimbas, and is published by Norsk Musikforlag.