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Merry Peckham

  • Chair, Chamber Music (College)
  • Chamber Music (Preparatory School)

Cellist Merry Peckham is a dedicated performing artist and a longtime educator who has developed a host of accomplished performers. She joins the New England Conservatory faculty in Fall 2017 as chair of the College chamber music program and as a chamber music coach in both the College and Preparatory School.

As a founding member of the Cavani String Quartet (a position she held for 32 years) Peckham was honored with a 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. With the quartet, she has performed thousands of concerts in the United States and abroad, was awarded the State of Ohio Governor’s Prize, and twice won the Guarneri String Quartet Residency Award. Peckham won the overall string category as well as the cello division of the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition.

A devoted teacher and deeply committed to arts education, Peckham has given masterclasses and lecture-demonstrations at music festivals, universities, and public and private schools in communities all over the world. As part of a cultural exchange between the Perlman Music Program and music training institutions abroad, Peckham has taught and given special classes at the Shanghai Conservatory, the Jerusalem Music Center, and the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. She also appears in a short film by Bruce Weber entitled Virtuosos, produced for Spanish Vogue, was featured in the documentary Perlman in Shanghai by Academy Award–winning director Allan Miller, which aired on PBS in the U.S. and was featured on the Elyria Pictures online film series “Living the Classical Life.” She can be heard on recordings issued by Azica, Pantheon, New World, Albany, Gasparo, DFA, and Carlton Classics record labels. From 2004–2016 she hosted "Offbeat," an insightful, sometimes irreverent Saturday radio program on WCLV 104.9, Cleveland’s classical music station.

Peckham is currently Coordinator and Teacher of String Chamber Music at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Associate Director and Chamber Music Director for the Perlman Music Program, an organization founded by Toby and Itzhak Perlman dedicated to training exceptional young musicians, as well as the Director of the Chamber Music Workshop @ The Perlman Music Program, and since 1988 she has served on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Peckham has trained members of numerous acclaimed chamber ensembles, including the Miro, Ariel, Biava, Aeolus, Ariadne, Cypress, Fry Street, Omer, Parker and Jupiter String Quartets. From 2005–2017 she was the cellist of the Elysian Piano Trio, ensemble-in-residence at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. She is an Artist Advocate for the National String Project Consortium and is former artist-in-residence at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Texas, Austin, and the University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale.

Peckham earned a bachelor of music degree from Indiana University and a master of music from the Eastman School of Music. She pursued additional studies at Yale University and Ohio State University. Her teachers and mentors have included Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Gary Hoffman, Paul Katz, Peter Salaff, and Toby Perlman. Peckham has the good fortune to perform on a cello by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume (a St. Cecilia model, dated 1849.)

B.M. with honors, Indiana University; M.M., Eastman School of Music; additional studies at Yale University and Ohio State University. Her teachers and mentors include Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Paul Katz, Peter Salaff, and Toby Perlman.

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