Drake was educated at the Purcell School and the Royal College of Music; he made his professional debut at the Purcell Room in 1981 and developed a special affinity for the music of Robert Schumann. Drake is now a professor at the Royal Academy of Music and a visiting professor at the Royal Northern College of Music; he lives in London with his wife and two children and, between performing, recording and teaching, is actively involved in the Jean Meikle Music Trust, a charity set up in commemoration of his mother. Drake is an uncle of theatre and opera director Sophie Hunter.
Drake was director of the Perth International Chamber Music Festival in Australia from 2000–2003 and was musical director of Deborah Warner’s staging of Janáček’s Diary of One Who Vanished, touring to Munich, London, Dublin, Amsterdam and New York; he was artistic director of Leeds Lieder 2009 and directs the Machynlleth Festival in Wales from 2009 - 2011. He has devised song programmes for the Wigmore Hall, London, the BBC, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and the historic Middle Temple Hall in London with such recitalists as Thomas Allen, Olaf Bär, Ian Bostridge, Alice Coote, Angelika Kirchschlager, Sergei Leiferkus, Felicity Lott, Katarina Karnéus, Christopher Maltman, Mark Padmore, Amanda Roocroft, Ann Mackay and Willard White; he also has a longstanding partnership with oboist Nicholas Daniel.
- Tchaikovsky: Romances with Christianne Stotijn (Onyx, 2009)
- Ravel: Songs with Gerald Finley (Hyperion, 2009)
- Lorraine Hunt Lieberson live at Wigmore Hall (2008)
- Gerald Finley live at Wigmore Hall (2008)
- Schumann: Dichterliebe and other Heine settings (Hyperion, 2008)
- Grieg: Songs with Katarina Karnéus (Hyperion, 2008)
- Ives: Songs (vol.11), Romanzo di Central Park with Gerald Finley (Hyperion, 2008)
- Barber: Songs with Gerald Finley (Hyperion, 2007)
- Christopher Maltman live at Wigmore Hall (2007)
- Pasión! with Joyce DiDonato (Eloquentia, 2007)
- Gustav Mahler: Urlicht (lieder) with Christianne Stotijn (Onyx, 2006)
- Songs of Venice with Joyce DiDonato (Wigmore Hall, 2006)
- Voyage à Paris with Lynne Dawson (Berlin Classics, 2005)
- Schubert: 25 Lieder with Ian Bostridge (EMI Classics, 2005)
- French Song with Ian Bostridge (EMI Classics, 2005)
- Alice Coote - songs (EMI Classics, 2003)
- Shostakovich: Sonatas with Annette Batorldi (Naxos, 2003)
- Britten : Canticles & Folksongs with Ian Bostridge (Virgin Classics, 2002)
- The English Songbook with Ian Bostridge (EMI Classics, 2002)
- Sibelius: Songs with Katarina Karnéus (Hyperion, 2002)
- Ivor Gurney: Seaven Meadows with Paul Agnew (Hyperion, 2001)
- Schubert: Lieder volume II with Ian Bostridge (EMI Classics, 2001)
- Henze: Songs with Ian Bostridge (EMI Classics, 2001)
- Schumann: Lieder with Sophie Daneman (EMI Classics, 2001)
- Schumann: Liederkreis & Dichterliebe etc. with Ian Bostridge (EMI Classics, 1998)
- "Weekend Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 52, 5 April 2014
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2010-01-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Drake, Julius (10 February 2006). "Smitten with Schumann". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
- Christiansen, Rupert (4 January 2010). "Julius Drake 50th Birthday Concert at Wigmore Hall , review". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
- "Phaedra Connects the (Go)dots". Irish Examiner.
- "IMG Artists - Celebrate Performance". Imgartists.com. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
- Video on YouTube
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-01-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)