Julia Hamari is one of the leading oratorio and Lieder performers of her generation, known for her musicality and rich, full tone. She is particularly admired for her Bach performances and has taken the alto part in almost 30 of Rilling's recordings of the complete Bach cantata. She first studied voice with Fatime Martins and Jeno Sipos, continuing her studies at the Budapest Academy of Music. In 1954, she won the Erkel competition and studied for several years at the Stuttgart Hochschule für Musik. Her concert debut was in 1966 as the alto soloist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion in a Vienna performance. That launched her concert and Lieder career, which has taken place largely in Europe, though she made her United States debut in 1967 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She also made her opera debut the same year as Mercedes in Bizet's Carmen and since then has appeared, primarily with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, in various Baroque and Classical operas. In 1989, she returned to Stuttgart as a professor.