• Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Parents – Alan MacDougall Shearer, Virginia Gordon Shearer
  • Siblings: Stephanie Shearer, Alan MacDougall Shearer, Jr.
  • Education: Minneapolis public schools
    (Kenwood Elementary, Jefferson Junior High School, West High School)
    Stanford University, bachelor’s degree in political science

Musical Experience:

  • Classical piano lessons intermittently to age fifteen.
  • Cazadero Jazz Camp, week-long session yearly from 1981 to 1996.
  • Helped create Rhythmic Concepts, Inc (RC,I.)–a nonprofit sponsor–to save Cazadero Jazz Camp, when it lost sponsorship of Camps, Inc., 1983.
  • Served on Board of Directors of RC,I., 1983 to 1997, creating Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Oakland Jazz Choir, as Jazz Camp became Jazz Camp West and RCI became Living Jazz.
  • Attended jazz theory class at Laney Community College, Oakland.
  • Sang with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, 1986 to 1998.

Musical Theater Works

  • The Boy from New York City–script, score, lyrics co-written by Robert Hansen and Julie Gordon Shearer, Berkeley Premier at Bay Area Youth Theatre, August 1984.
  • Subsequent productions of The Boy from New York City followed in cities in and outside California: San Francisco, Los Angeles, South San Francisco, Mill Valley (CA), Coral Springs (FL), Palm Springs, CA; Anchorage, and, in 2011, Bethesda (MD).
  • Mama Don’t Allow, the Musical—script, score, and lyrics by Julie Gordon Shearer, was given a workshop presentation by Aurora Theatre  Company, Berkeley, 2003.

Recordings of Original Music

  • “Light as Song,” sung by the T Sisters, featured in WATERWALK, The Movie, Roger Rapoport, producer,  2013. Shown at Berkeley’s Rialto Elmwood Theater, June 7-12 during national tour in 2013.
  • When Now Is Then, Collection of 13 songs on two discs. Beyond Measures. MuscleTone Studios, Derek Bianchi, Engineer released October 2011.
  • Selected Songs: Mama Don’t Allow, the Musical by Julie Gordon Sheare, Beyond Measures. San Pablo Recorders, Jon Evans, Engineer, 2004.
  • “Home Brew” in Anna’s Home Brew, Anna de Leon.. Bay Records, Mike Cogan Engineer. 1999.
  • “From Where I Stand” in Daydreams, Ellen Hoffman,  Bay Records, Mike Cogan, Engineer. 1998.

Vocal Recordings

  • We’ve Come a Mighty Long Way. Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. 2003.
  • Pieces of Africa. Kronos Quartet. (with Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir). 1992.
  • Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind. Linda Ronstadt with Aaron Neville (with Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir) Elektra, 1989.


  • Berkeley Mayoral Proclamation named July 19, 2011 as Julie Gordon Shearer and Russ Ellis Day for their excellence in and service to the musical arts in Berkeley.
  • Original song “From Where I Stand,” performed at Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., by Solas B. Lalgee, 1997.
  • Selected as one of twelve composer-lyricist-playwrights admitted to the San Francisco School for Dramatic Arts Musical Theatre Program, 1985-1986.
  • Berkeley City Parks and Recreation designated Bateman Tot Park as “Dedicated to the efforts of Julie Gordon Shearer,” following nine-year citizen campaign to convince Alta Bates Hospital trustees to make good on their promise to restore open space to balance their $17 million building expansion in 1975.  Dedicated 1984.

Musical Influences

As the middle child in a musical family, she encountered–and enjoyed–a wide range of music– from madrigals to Mozart to Jellyroll Morton, from Tchaikovsky to Tom Lehrer, from Bach to Bartok to Brubeck to Belefonte and Baez. But she fell irretrievably in love with musical theater when she saw Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma and South Pacific. She told her mother that she desperately wished she could live in musical theater with an orchestra at her back for every adventure and thoughtful interlude in life. Sensing the power of songs as mini dramas, she fell under the spell of storytellers such as Billy Joel and, especially, Randy Newman.