Julia was born in Dublin but raised in Aberdeen. She began playing piano at the age of four, studying later with Denis Matthews and David Parkhouse at the North East of Scotland Music School.
She won a scholarship to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Scottish Conservatoire) in Glasgow where she studied piano and harpsichord. Whilst at the academy she won every available prize for piano solo, accompaniment and chamber music. She now holds the post of staff accompanist at the Conservatoire.
She is indeed one of the busiest accompanists in the UK, appearing regularly in recitals and playing for masterclasses given by such artists as Sarah Walker, Benjamin Luxon, Heather Harper and Robert Tear. She broadcasts regularly with several Scottish orchestras and has toured overseas.