Julie Gunn is a pianist, educator, and music director. She has performed on many of the world’s most prestigious recital series, including the Aspen Festival, Auckland’s Aotea Centre, Boston’s Celebrity Series, Brussel’s La Monnaie, Cal Performances, the Carnegie Hall Pure Voice Series, the Cincinnati Chamber Music Society, the Cliburn Foundation, the Dallas Opera, Melbourne’s Hamer Hall,  the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Great Performers, Manhattan’s Café Carlyle, the McCallum Theater for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Opera Summerstage, Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Center, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Ravinia Festival, St. Paul’s Schubert Club, San Francisco Performances, the Sydney Opera House, Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, University of Chicago Presents, Washington’s Vocal Arts Society, the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, Washington National Opera, the 92nd Street Y, and the United States Supreme Court. She has been heard with William Burden, Richard Croft, Michelle De Young, Elizabeth Futral, Isabel Leonard, Stefan Milenkovich, Kelli O’Hara, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Yvonne Gonzales Redman, Alek Shrader, the Pacifica and Jupiter Quartets, and her husband and artistic partner Nathan Gunn.

This season she looks forward to the premiere of Drytown: A living room vaudeville, a production of Shot in the Dark Productions, and serving as the music director of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret at the Krannert Center.


Co-Director of the Lyric Theatre program at the University of Illinois, she produces three mainstage operas or musical theatre works a year at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.  A faculty member at the School of Music, she enjoys teaching singers, pianists, chamber musicians and songwriters, and conducting new works and musical theatre.  She has given master classes at universities and young artists’ programs all over the United States, including the Aspen Festival, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Florida State University, the Houston Grand Opera Studio, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Opera Theatre St. Louis, the Ryan Young Artists’ Program, the Santa Fe Opera, Ravinia’s Steans Institute, and Vanderbilt University. She enjoyed tenures as artist-in-residence at Cincinnati Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, and Ontario’s Highlands Opera Studio.  She is the founder of the Illinois School of Music Academy, a program for talented pre-college chamber musicians and composers.

Music Director

Dr. Gunn enjoys working at the intersection of different disciplines and collaborates with artists in the fields of theatre, dance, and design whenever possible. She has served as a coach or conductor at Chicago Opera Theater, Highlands Opera Studio, the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Program, Opera North, Opera Theater St. Louis, Southern Methodist University, Theaterworks!, and Wolf Trap Opera. She is committed to new works and in recent seasons has been part of several world premieres, as a co-producer, a pianist, or as a conductor: concert works by Augusta Read Thomas, Jennifer Higdon, and Harold Meltzer; staged works like Polly Peachum (Scheer/Van Horn), Letters from Quebec to Providence in the Rain (Gill,) Black Square (Demutsky), PRISM (Reid), The Surrogate (Macklay), Sensorium Ex (Prestini), Take Flight! (Maultby and Shire) and Bhutto (Fairouz), often in collaboration with Beth Morrison Projects or American Opera Projects. Last year, Nathan and Julie Gunn launched their new production company, Shot in the Dark Productions Inc, which made its debut at the Krannert Center in Nathan and Julie Gunn and friends: An Evening on Broadway.

A member of ASCAP, she is the author of many arrangements of songs for chamber groups and orchestras. Her arrangements have been heard at Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, the DeBartolo Center, Ithaca College, Interlochen, the Kennedy Center, the Krannert Center, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, and in Sun Valley, Idaho.