He was a horn and tuba player and teacher nicknamed “Fletch” who studied Natural Sciences at Pembroke College, Cambridge. It was during his university years that he changed his interest from the horn to the tuba.
In 1964 he went to London and went to work for the BBC Symphony Orchestra as Principal Tuba. He remained with them for two years and left to become a member of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble , who he remained with until 1986. He was active in teaching the craft of tuba playing to many musicians and it was one of his own students, Patrick Harrild, who took over his position as Principal Tuba in the London Symphony Orchestra.
Throughout his career he would appear on many recordings including most of the releases by the PBJE and with the LSO he could be heard on albums such as Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 led by Andre Previn and the LSO and also Vaughan William’s Concerto in F Minor for Bass Tuba and Orchestra, which is often thought to be his best known performance.
Sadly in March 1987 he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage when he was just 46 which would eventually prove fatal later that year. He left his wife, the mezzo-soprano Margaret Cable, who he had married in 1967, and a daughter, and the John Fletcher Trust Fund was set up to assist young brass players with bursaries to attend courses at various venues. Such was the mark that he had made in the musical community; his co-workers and students produced a tribute album for him in 1988 entitled The Best of Fletch, which included his arrangements of the great composers and works written for him. It was followed by Tuba Tribute to Fletch, which was recorded by many of the leading tuba players and the publication of the book John Fletcher Tuba Extraordinary.
Here he is performing “Flight of the Bumble Bee”…..