Joan Molloy grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, and began playing the piano at age 5. From there she waited, perhaps a bit impatiently, to begin playing the violin at age 8. She hasn’t stopped since. Through the years, music has continued to be her way of life, profession and passion. Molloy is the founder and director of HeartStrings Studio in River Falls, Wis. She also has an extensive background of impressive experience, from the Duluth Symphony Orchestra to Chippewa Valley Symphony, among others. Her newest role is as concertmaster for East Metro Symphony Orchestra (EMSO), a position she accepted in June.
As concertmaster for other ensembles, Molloy says she saw herself as the “liaison between the conductor and the musicians.” Though she says she never felt herself “called” to be a musician, every time she tried to do something else, music pulled her back in. “I think there is something special about a musician’s relationship to music,” she says, and it seems that relationship has continually led her down the right paths. This new step into the role of concertmaster for EMSO is just the next.
For Molloy, “being a classical musician is different from being a composer or writer,” she says, asking herself questions as she goes about preparing to learn or perform a piece. “How can I contribute to this music? How can I recreate this music so that it can touch or inspire my listeners?”
Much of her satisfaction or pride in the musical career path she’s on comes from teaching students. “The longer I teach, the more I find that it isn’t so much about the instrument, but what other skills we learn when we learn to play an instrument,” she says. The source of her passion? The idea of imparting knowledge and lessons on students, and seeing she’s made an impact on them.