The Pre-College String Ensemble performance on April 30 was dedicated to Margaret Pardee's memory.
Margaret Pardee, one of Juilliard's longest-serving faculty members and a beloved mentor to generations of violinists, died on January 26 at the age of 95. A charming woman with sparkling blue eyes and a hint of a southern drawl, she had a deep passion for music and for the young people she taught. Growing up in Valdosta, Ga., Pardee dreamed of studying at Juilliard. She started in the Summer School in 1936, studying with Louis Persinger (faculty 1930- 66), and went on to receive her Diploma in 1940 and Graduate Diploma in 1942, doing so well that she was able to continue as part of a special program that allowed her to have free lessons for several years afterward. Pardee studied independently with Ivan Galamian (who didn't join the Juilliard faculty until 1946); here her teachers included Sascha Jacobsen (Diploma 1913, violin; faculty 1927-44), Albert Spalding (faculty 1926-27, 1934-46), and when Spalding served in World War II, again with Persinger.
Pardee pursued a performing career—she made her Town Hall debut in 1952 and was concertmaster of the Great Neck Symphony until it disbanded, in 1985—but teaching was always her first love. Her tenure at Juilliard began in 1942, and she taught in both the College and Pre-College Divisions. where she served as a musical mentor for hundreds of violinists and violists. She was also a surrogate mother to many of them, even housing one or two students at a time over the years in the Westbury, L.I., home that she shared with her husband, engineer and artist Daniel Butterly, who predeceased her. Pardee continued teaching well into her 80s—she retired from Juilliard in 2008—and her legendary dedication to her students never wavered. She served on the faculty of the Meadowmount School of Music and also taught at Marymount College.
The careers of Pardee's former students are a great testament to her skill as a teacher—they can be found in ensembles and orchestras throughout the country, including the Emerson String Quartet, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Sydney Symphony, and the Suwon (South Korea) Philharmonic. She was held in great esteem by her students (and by their parents), many of whom kept in touch long after leaving Juilliard, something in which she took great delight.
Over the years, Margaret Pardee Butterly (who used her married name in her private life) also collected violins and violas, which she would often loan to her students. In 2002, she gave Juilliard her remarkable collection of 34 violins, violas, and bows. Among the instruments she donated were a 1771 Guadagnini violin, a Gagliano violin c. 1845, and a rare 1810 J.B. Ceruti half-size violin. Making this gift gave her great satisfaction, since she knew that these violins and violas would be played by students who needed them. These instruments are now an integral part of Juilliard's collection of rare instruments, and they will continue to be a wonderful resource for string students for generations to come. Her generosity in making this gift is just one example of her lifelong commitment to young musicians. She'll be remembered at Juilliard not only as a legendary pedagogue, but for also for the warmth, caring, and devotion that she bestowed on her fortunate students.