The Juilliard School Hires New Assistant Dean and Director of Chamber Music

Merry Peckham currently serves as the associate director for the Perlman Music Program and chair of chamber music at the New England Conservatory (NEC).

At Juilliard, she will succeed Bärli Nugent, who has held the role since 2002. Leaving NEC this fall, Peckham will begin her tenure in January 2024.

Juilliard’s chamber music and classroom faculty member Audrey Axinn will serve as interim director of chamber music, while Nugent will continue as executive director of Juilliard’s mentoring program.

Peckham’s previous roles include coordinator of string chamber music at Oberlin Conservatory and faculty member of the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1988.

As a founding member of the Cavani String Quartet, she has played thousands of concerts in the U.S. and abroad for over 30 years. Additionally, from 2005 to 2017, she was the cellist of the Elysian Piano Trio and hosted the Offbeat weekly radio show between 2004 and 2016.

Developing an interest in chamber music while in college, Peckham attended Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, Ohio State University, and Yale University. Her mentors included János Starker, Gary Hoffman, Aldo Parisot, Toby Perlman — plus Paul Katz and Peter Salaff of the Cleveland Quartet.

Among her many awards are top prizes at the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, Musical America’s Young Artists of the Year Award, and the ASCAP-Chamber Music America Award for adventurous programming of contemporary music.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Merry to the college faculty,” said David Serkin Ludwig, dean and director of the music division. “She has an unimpeachable track record as an advocate for chamber music, and we know that her experience and passion will be of great benefit to our students. I look forward to working with her to build on our successes and find new creative opportunities for chamber music at Juilliard.”

Additionally, Peckham’s appointment coincides with Curtis Stewart stepping down from his role as Juilliard’s chamber music manager ahead of his new role as artistic director of the American Composers Orchestra. Stewart will assist part-time this fall while his position is filled.

“We are grateful to Bärli and Curtis for their years of dedicated service and look forward to their continued work at Juilliard as members of the faculty,” added Juilliard’s provost Adam Meyer. “Bärli’s longtime stewardship has shepherded countless students through the program. She has always gone the extra mile to support and encourage the students to be their best.

“Bärli, with the endlessly creative and thoughtful Curtis Stewart, has overseen tremendous growth in the chamber music program at Juilliard and they leave a legacy of collaboration and excellence that will carry the program into the future.”

Back to the news overview