The Flatiron Music Series: Meet Cellist Mary Horst

A few months ago we hosted a SoFar Sounds concert in our lounge, which are secret pop up concerts that showcase local music, and we loved it! It was amazing to see our lounge space transformed into mini-music venue.

So Far Sounds at Flatiron

A local band rocking out in the Microsoft Innovation Lounge.

We also love the idea of showing off emerging artists, because the passion for creating something new and taking a risk is woven through music, startups and art. Stay tuned (see what we did there...) for more announcements about the music series, and contact us if you think you would be a good fit to play for the series! Today we talked to Mary Horst, a self-described "tiny cellist wrangler" who is playing the cello at the holiday edition of our music series.

Tell us about yourself and your music.

I come from a really musical family and have been taking music lessons for about as long as I can remember. I used to be a kind of lazy piano student, but when I started playing cello, I realized that I could play in a group with my friends instead of sitting alone in a room! I really love playing in small ensembles, like string quartets, because it's just the best collaborative experience.

What’s your favorite piece to play and why?

The piece I play most often is without a doubt Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, because I teach a ton of little kiddos. It may be my favorite... Seriously though, I'd say the Mendelssohn Octet. He wrote it when he was sixteen, which is about the age my friends and I discovered it. I keep coming back to it with different groups of friends over the years. It's such a fun piece to play through when you're hanging out drinking some wine (and have eight string player friends around). Which is what classical musicians do for fun, in case you were wondering.

Flatiron is a building full of startups and entrepreneurs - creators as well - can you tell us about your creative process? How does it bleed over into the rest of your life?

The part of my job when I'm really able to be most freely creative is in my teaching. I run a studio of twenty five students, and also teach eight classes a week of cello and orchestra. In my teaching and in my own practice, it's all about bridging the gap between what you want the sound to be and what your hands can do. I try to listen to a lot of different performers to help clarify what my goal is. Sometimes the solution is hours in the practice room, but sometimes it's just a matter of thinking about things in a different way. I really enjoy the kind of detailed work that it takes to create a polished performance.

Have you always played music professionally/how did you decide to make the jump?

Pretty sure my first "professional" music job was singing for a kids TV show at age five... and I've been playing for weddings on cello since high school. When I first graduated from college, it took a while to get established in the music community, and for people to know my name and start calling me. I sent a LOT of emails. I had a whole hodgepodge of jobs for a bit, including one in customer service that I didn't really like while I was doing it, but now I'm so grateful for that experience because it helps with almost everything I do professionally.

Where can people see you play?

This month you can mostly see me wrangling tiny cellists and playing Jingle Bells, but I do have one of my favorite performances coming up- a Winter Solstice celebration at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church (, which is this great relaxing evening of poetry and meditation. And I get to play Beatles songs on the cello!