I just learned of Margaret Pardee’s recent passing [an obituary appeared in the March Journal]. I was a Juilliard Prep student of Miss Pardee nearly 60 years ago and I cherish the memories I have of her. I was far from her best student—I didn’t like to practice, my fingers somehow never placed themselves where my ear told them they should go on the fingerboard, and I never quite got the hang of making the bow bounce on the string in a controlled manner—but she didn’t give up on me, perhaps because she thought my innate intelligence and “feel” for the music would somehow, someday make up for all that.
I remember my parents driving me to her home in Queens (and meeting her husband, Daniel Butterly) for lessons during Juilliard’s vacation periods. I remember a student recital held in the gracious Westchester home of Marc Ginsberg (Pre-College ’62; BS ’66, MS ’67, DMA ’71, violin), who was her best student at the time, and I remember her urging my mother to let me go up to Blue Hill, Me., during the summer. (She never did let me go.) I remember that, on Saturdays between classes, I borrowed books from the Juilliard library (Plutarch’s Lives was the most memorable).
Many, many years later, when I was well-ensconced in my career as a scientist and science administrator, I wrote to thank Miss Pardee for her confidence in me—and perhaps to tacitly apologize to her for my decision to go in a very different career direction (albeit one that was far better suited for me personally). She wrote back, a lovely letter.
—Eve Barak (Pre-College ’63)