Molly Fletcher is a violinist and a fashion model. Her unique career has led to collaborations with artists that cross boundaries of the classical, hip/hop, rock, and fashion worlds. She’s appeared as a guest artist on BBC 1 radio, with Paul Simon at the Beacon Theatre, on Jimmy Fallon, and at Radio City Music Hall. Her orchestral credits include Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and The Chelsea Symphony, and she has worked with The Knights, and Time for Three. On December 6th, Molly will perform Bruch’s celebrated Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor with TCS.
TCS: Tell us a little something fun about yourself that isn’t in your bio?
MF: I LOVE Tex-Mex! I’ve spent 12 years in NYC trying to find my fix. I love to
cook so if you come to my apartment you’ll probably get some true Texas inspired
TCS: How did you come to choose your instrument?
MF: I come from a musical family, my mom a flutist, my grandmother was a pianist. When my brother began cello lessons, I would go to Suzuki school with him to watch. However I ended up sneaking out and going to find the violin classes. I begged my mom to start playing violin right then but she ended up having me wait until I was five.
TCS: Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
MF: I’ve always admired and dreamed of being a violinist from a young age, especially loving Anne Sophie Mutter. I would set up my dolls and perform in front of audiences/my family growing up regularly. I took ballet and loved listening to many genres of music. Once I got older, I started realizing that there were many outlets to perform outside of the orchestra/soloist structure. My first rock concert was the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Gnarls Barkley and he had a string section. I also saw Lady Gaga perform and her violinist was very inspiring. Later I went to NYU and I realized the vast universe of performance and channeled all my love for performing into the career I’m building today.
TCS: What has been your proudest moment or moments in music so far?
MF: Each year I strive to challenge myself. This last year and a half I wrote, produced, and recorded my first solo EP, “Rêverie”. I’m extremely proud of the work I did on that album. Music is a very challenging career and I’m proud of my versatility and accomplishments across genres. I’m also very proud of this performance with TCS because it is truly earned in a very pure and democratic way. I think the music world needs more of this!
TCS: What have been the biggest challenges of your career so far?
MF: People tend to box you into a stereotype very quickly. Assumptions are made about you as a player based on very little information and I find that extremely challenging. You really have to tune out the noise that doesn’t serve you.
TCS: What has been the funniest onstage moment you’ve seen or have experienced?
MF: Hands down last year in Jakarta with Clean Bandit. We start off the show with a video montage as we walk out to play the first song. For some reason the venue played this VERY long fire safety video complete with narration and music. We walked out to it and the 3,000 person audience thought it was part of the show. We eventually had to leave the stage and start over because we were just standing there learning about all the exits for over 5 minutes. It was hilarious and informative!
TCS: When was your first TCS concert? What brought you to the group?
MF: I can’t remember the exact first concert, but I remember feeling a warm welcome and a sense of community in the group. That is definitely something that keeps me coming back.
TCS: Do you have any favorite TCS memories?
MF: The trip we took to perform at Riker’s Island was incredibly moving. Performing for and interacting with the people there was unforgettable and taught me a lot about the reformative power of music. I admire TCS commitment to outreach and using the vehicle of music to do so. Our prison system is flawed and Riker's is a prime example of this.
TCS: What sets TCS apart from other orchestras?
MF: People truly care and want to be there. That passion is then infused into the performance and makes it sound that much better.
TCS: Who are your favorite musicians, past and/or present?
MF: Oh boy, I have so many. Anne Sophie Mutter, Jimi Hendrix, Brahms, Mozart, Lil Wayne, Etta James, Lady Gaga, to name a few. My friends are also extremely inspiring musicians and I’ve learned so much from them: Grace Chatto, Jordan Lee, Marina Diamandis, and the string playing community I get to work with on a daily basis.
TCS: What do you carry with you in your instrument case?
MF: Rosin, Mute (if I haven’t lost it), Rag. I also love my show badges on the outside of my case.
TCS: What is your ideal day of practice?
MF: I wake up on my own with no alarm, eat breakfast/coffee, some yoga, practice for an hour, lunch, practice for more hours, then shower and have some dinner with my family or friends. I like to take my time on serious practice days— that’s when you can do really good work.
TCS: What do you do to set yourself up for success on the day of an important performance?
MF: Get good sleep the night before, drink water, stretch and do scales. Practice slowly and really try to not psych myself out. I also stay off social media on big show days.
TCS: Why did you choose to perform the Bruch with TCS?
MF: Since the theme of this series is music that uplifts, I really couldn’t think of a better concerto. Everyone loves Bruch. Seriously, every musician I’ve talked to about it says the same thing “oh I love that concerto!” It has something for everyone to enjoy as a listener and is fun to perform and practice as a player. What is more uplifting than that?
TCS: What are some things you learned while preparing? Did anything about the piece surprise you?
MF: So much. I’ve really learned a lot about myself during this preparation period in a way that has felt truly transformative. Being in "concerto practice mode” is different from the preparation I’ve had to do in recent years (like going on a pop music tour). I tell people it’s like training for a marathon. I performed this piece when I was much younger so it was like meeting an old friend. I realized how much I’ve grown musically, how I approach practicing has changed. Challenges I had when first learning aren’t there anymore but new ones are. It’s been an incredible process and I’m sad that it’s almost over!
TCS: Do you have a favorite recording of the Bruch?
MF: Surprise! I love Mutter’s recording. I love how she is not afraid to infuse her own style into everything she plays. I think Bruch would love that.
Join us as TCS welcomes violinist Molly Fletcher on Friday, December 6th, at 8pm, at St. Paul’s Church at 315 W. 22nd Street, performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor!