Faculty and Staff
POLLY VAN DER LINDE - Director of The Sonata Programs and Sumer Sonatina International Piano Camp, Piano, Monster Rehearsals. M.M., 1989 Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University; B.F.A. Piano Performance, 1982 SUNY at Purchase. Attended Juilliard School of Music, Pre-College Division. Soloist with the Vermont Symphony, Sage City Symphony and Purchase College Orchestras. Studied with Edgar Roberts, Robert Goldsand, Daniel Epstein and, in London, Benjamin Kaplan. Recipient of many honors at Rutgers including Naumberg and Bergen Foundation Awards and Michael Fardink Memorial Scholarship for Accompanying. Participant in numerous international and national piano competitions. Founder and former director and piano faculty member of the Rutgers Community Music Program in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Travels the U.S. giving master classes and teaching lessons. Piano Faculty at Bennington College. Masterclasses at Steinway Hall in NYC.
DALE COBB - Operations Manager. B.S.E.E. Michigan Tech University. Former experiences include lead engineer at Lockheed Martin, teacher of computers and physics, and network administrator. Certified in Thai Massage. Dale enjoys yoga, Tae Kwon Do, and hiking. Husband of Polly van der Linde and father to Taylor and Austin Cobb.
ROSAMOND VAN DER LINDE - Founder of Summer Sonatina International Piano Camp, The Sonatas and The Sonatina School of Music, Created the Sonatina International Institute of Music on the Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius in the Netherlands Antilles called Statia Plantation Piano Vacation. B.A. (Music), 1958, Bennington College . Studied piano with Lionel Nowak (student of Edwin Fischer) and Julian DeGray (student of Tobias Matthay). Studied composition and theory with Theodore Strongin and Louis Calabro. Established piano programs at Southern Vermont College and the Community College of Vermont. President of the VMTA 1967-73. Named a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences for outstanding contributions to the cultural resources of the state. Teaches classes and gives private lessons in New York City and at Steinway Hall; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Boston. Travels the world giving master classes, lectures and demonstrations and lessons in piano and composition. She has written a memoir about the van der Linde family and the creation of the Sonatina and Sonata programs. Please see www.APianoInEveryRoom.com.
MELANIE ANDREWS - Breakfast chef. She is a year-round employee for Summer Sonatina and the Sonata programs. A Bennington native, she has been a Summer Sonatina fan since 1988. She is a Certified Medical Assistant and has worked in NY, VT and CT. She is also Red Cross Certified in CPR and First Aid. She has been a Gymnastic Coach for the Cheshire Athletic Training School in CT. Her hobbies include snowboarding, running, sculpting, yoga, motor cross racing, kayaking and most importantly, being a Mom to her 15-year old daughter, Taylor, a Summer Sonatina participant. Melanie’s favorite saying is “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Since 2007.
JEFF BENTLEY- Piano Technician. Attended 2 year piano technology program at North Bennett Street School in Boston, MA, and also factory training at the Steinway Factory in 1997. He tunes for many major concert series, such as Tannery Pond Concerts, South Mountain Concerts at Pittsfield, MA and Close Encounters with Music. Jeff has been working at the Sonatas and Summer Sonatina since 2000.
JODI BROWN - is a Wellness Chef and Educator who helps people transition to healthier food lifestyles. In addition to her part-time work at Sonatina, she presents her information and provides demonstrations in the corporate world, does one-on-one consulting, hosts retreats and teaches classes. Her forte is helping people organize their food and their lifestyles to accommodate change. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T.Colin Campbell Foundation at Cornell and has over 25 years of experience in the food service and production industies. To learn more about her or to contact her directly, please go to www.UltimateKitchenCommando.com. Since 2013.
ABIGAIL CHARBENEAU - Piano. BA in Music from Skidmore College, and Master in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from University of Illinois. Has studied with Pola Baytelman, William Heiles, Arkady Aronov, Adaleina Krivosheina, Kenneth Drake, and Reid Alexander, and has been on the faculty of Millikin University and the University of Illinois. Currently teaches at The Concord Community Music School and St. Pauls School, both in Concord, NH. Charbeneau has performed extensively about the country as a soloist and in ensembles. A regular performer with the Musicians of Wall Street in Concord. Has been invited to play at two Inaugural Balls for Governor John Lynch. Has a recording featuring music by Bach, Schubert, and Clara Schumann. Since 2006.
ANNA DAGMAR - Classical and Jazz Piano, Chorus. B.M. in Jazz Performance and Music Education, Eastman School of Music. Further classical studies with Princeton Piano Dept. Chair Elizabeth DiFelice. Released three piano-driven folk/pop albums; the most recent, "Let the Waves Come in Threes," charted in the Top 20 Roots Music Report Chart for 6 consecutive weeks, peaking at #6 nationally. Teaching experience includes The Sonatas and Summer Sonatina, Mamaroneck High School, Middlesex Middle School, The Midori Foundation, Musical Kids, and a NYC-based private piano studio. National Piano Guild Member. Information and albums available at http://www.AnnaDagmar.com. Since 2000.
ELLEN DILTHEY – Piano. Ellen received her Master of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from Northwestern University, was educational director of the Marymount Preparatory Music Program, Marymount College for six years, and has recently joined the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Mass. College of Liberal Arts as adjunct professor of music. She has taught students of all levels and ages for 25 years in her own studios in eastern Mass. and Westchester County, NY. Her teaching style is relaxed and nurturing, yet focused with regard to practice techniques and musical interpretation. In addition, Ellen is a certified yoga instructor in The Kripalu tradition. She lives in The Berkshires with her husband and four teenage sons. Since 2009.
MICHAEL DILTHEY – Theory, musicianship classes. Michael received his Doctorate in Composition at Northwestern University. He also holds Master of Music degrees in composition and conducting. He has composed two operas and a musical, orchestral and choral music as well as theatrical incidental music. Recently he had his composition for string orchestra premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York City and in Sweden. He is currently a Music Professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He lives in North Adams, MA with his wife, Ellen and four teenage sons. Since 2009.
MATT EDWARDS - Matt attended high school at Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, received his degree in Music Education from Southern University and recently attained a Master's Degree in Education from Walden University. He has worked extensively as a solo performer and leader of the band, Buck2Fifty. Besides performing, Matt also teaches music at Mount Anthony Union Middle School and is the music director for The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, NY. Matt has studied classical piano with Frank White and Myrtle David and has studied jazz with Alvin Batiste and Ellis Marsalis. He lives in Greenwich, New York with his wife Mary and their three children: Henry, Clara, and Oliver. Since 2011
JEFFERS ENGELHARDT - Piano. B.M. in Piano, Oberlin Conservatory, M.A., and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology, University of Chicago, 2005. Jeffers is currently an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology of Music at Amherst College. Jeffers's research deals with music and religion, music, human rights, and cultural rights, and the musics of postsocialist Eastern Europe and Eurasia. As a performer, he is interested in piano music of 20th and 21st centuries. Alumnus of Summer Sonatina. Since 1995.
BONNIE FAIRCHILD - Piano, Monster Rehearsals. B.A. in Piano Performance, Lyndon State College, 1974. Studied with Melissa Brown, John Koch and Rein van der Linde. Has taught piano for 35 years. Teacher of piano, flute and cello at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Director of the piano program at Putney Central School and of Milkhouse Music Studio in Westminster, VT. Former director and conductor of Southern Vermont Youth Orchestra and of Westminster School Orchestras in Westminster, VT. Bonnie enjoys singing with the Brattleboro Community Chorus and playing cello with Windham Orchestra, also in Brattleboro, VT. Member MTNA, MENC, ASTA and certified by VMTA. Since 1991.
JOAN FORSYTH - Co-Director of Education & Outreach for the Composers Guild of New Jersey. Prior to arriving at Third Street she served as the Director of the preparatory department at the Concordia Conservatory in Bronxville and taught at Bronx House Music School in New York City. Joan is an expert in early childhood music education and is a licensed Musikgarten teacher. In addition to the "traditional" approach to piano study, Joan also teaches using the Suzuki piano method. In fact, she served as an assistant to Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Madame Haruko Kataoka, the co-founders of the Suzuki Method for Piano, in California in the 1970s. As a Canadian, she is also well versed in the Royal Conservatory of Music system. An active performer, she has given concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, Russia and Japan as a soloist and a chamber musician and is an active advocate for, and performer of, contemporary music. Joan received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) from Rutgers University. Since 1992.
ED GOLLIN - Music Theory and Analysis. Ph.D. in Music Theory, Harvard University, 2000. Ed is an Associate Professor in the Music Department at Williams College, where he teaches classes in harmony, counterpoint, and music analysis. His research involves structure in early-twentieth-century music, in particular, the music of Béla Bartók. Since 2008.
JESSICA GORMAN - Chef. East Coast based food stylist and cook. Trained in the restaurant business, as well as the Food Network, and completed the pastry program at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Portfolio and menus can be found at www.jessicagorman.com. Since 2011.
CLAIRE HAMILTON – Claire is a graduate of Hobart and William Smith College, majoring in math and music. In addition to playing the pianos, she participates in multiple singing ensembles. Since 2004.
CHRISTOPHER LEWIS - Piano. Taught and performed throughout the U.S., Italy and British Columbia since graduating from SUNY Purchase in 1979. Concerts in such major venues as Carnegie, Weill, and Alice Tully Halls in NYC; Orchestra Hall in Detroit; Empire State Performing Arts Center in Albany. Prizewinner, American National Chopin Competition, NY Leschetizky Society. Recordings on Newport Classics label. Held faculty positions at New York University as well as several private schools in New York City. Accomplished organist; currently Organist and Director of Music at Zion Episcopal Church in Manchester, VT. Resides in South Londonderry, VT with his wife and five sons, ages 23, 16, 14, 12 and 7. Piano Faculty at Bennington College. Since 2003.
SARA LEWIS - Piano. Born and raised in central New Jersey, Sara got her musical beginnings at the age of 6, when she started playing piano. During her middle and high school years she was very active in school and auditioned choirs and traveled with them to Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, and various points around the U.S. She eventually took her hand at writing songs towards the middle of high school. Sara is a graduate of Bennington College in Vermont, majoring in music and psychology and focusing seriously on her songwriting. Received a 3rd place in the American Songwriter Magazine Amateur Lyric Contest. Performs often for events at the college and in the area, including MassMOCA in North Adams, MA, as well as at many coffeehouses and restaurants near her home in NJ and in CA. www.saralewismusic.com Since 2009.
ANDREA LINDHARDT – Administrative Assistant. Born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, living in the US since 2000. She is currently enrolled at the Isenberg Shool of Management, pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Graduate of Community College of Vermont with Administrative Management/Hospitality and Tourism Associate Degrees. Andrea has been a part of the Bennington community since 2002, and a proud Mom to her 10 year old son, Adrian. Andrea has been working at the Sonatas and Summer Sonatina since 2007.
GEORGE LOPEZ - Piano. Laureate of several international competitions including the Xavier Montsalvatge Competition for 20th Century Piano Music in Barcelona. Has performed extensively in Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, South America, Japan and the U.S. Recently recorded Melloni's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in Prague. Gave world premiere performance of Jan Swafford's In Time of War with cellist Emmanuel Feldman in Boston's Jordan Hall. Has performed Mozart's Piano Quartet in G Minor with the Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet. Piano faculty Phillips Exeter Academy. Artist in Residence at Bowdoin College, ME. Since 1999.
LINCOLN MAYORGA - Piano and Jazz. Range of his professional success transcends the varied worlds of classical music, popular music, and jazz. For many years, Lincoln enjoyed one of the busiest studio careers in Hollywood. He was the staff pianist for Walt Disney Studios and contributed to the soundtracks of such motion pictures as "Chinatown," "Pete's Dragon," "The Competition," "The Rose," and "Ragtime." Recordings with such artists as Marni Nixon, Johnny Mathis, Barbara Streisand, Vikki Carr, Mel Torme, Phil Ochs, Andy Williams, Frank Zappa, and Quincy Jones. Has collaborated with such musicians as Itzhak Perlman, Richard Stoltzman, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gerard Schwartz, and many distinguished American orchestras. The Moscow Philharmonic invited him to perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and "I Got Rhythm" Variations, on their first concert devoted to American music. Lincoln has been the featured guest on "Piano Jazz," Marion McPartland's popular program on NPR. With the Harmonie Ensemble conducted by Steven Richman, Mayorga is featured soloist on the 2010 Harmonia Mundi release, "Gershwin and Grofe - Original orchestrations and arrangements." This recording has made the top ten in the Billboard classical charts. Since 2010. http://www.lincolnmayorga.com/
MATT MOON - Media manager, gardener. Matt sets up and video records the live streaming of the Sonata master classes. Archived videos are located at www.sonatina.com. M.A. in Biostatistics, Boston University. Pursuing Ph.D. Native Californian, competitive athlete for most of his life, career experience in the medical device field as a regulatory and clinical manager. Enjoys swimming, cycling, skiing, and sailing. Since 2006.
JOEL PATTERSON – Recording Artist. A native of California, in 1995 he founded Mountaintop Studios in Petersburg, New York. He works with a wide variety of local ensembles, as well as Albany Pro Musica, Sage City Symphony, and Bennington County Choral Society. Joel has been making audio recording of the concerts at Summer Sonatina since 1996 and the Sonatas since 1998.
VALERIE PETERS - Piano. Teaches music at Mullen-Hall Elementary School in Falmouth, MA. She grew up in New Hampshire and began piano studies at the age of nine. Valerie graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Music Education. At UNH, she studied piano with Arlene Kies. Valerie is especially fond of chamber music and has played for the Applehill Center for Chamber Music, the NH NATS High School Competition, Arts in Reach, early music groups Quinto and Corantico, and many vocalists and instrumentalists at UNH. When she is not imagining new, exciting ways to teach children about music, Valerie enjoys learning foreign languages, traveling, jogging slowly, acting as a board member for the Helping Hands Foundation, and browsing the Summer Sonatina music library for hidden gems in the collection of piano music for children. Since 2011.
RICH SAGER – Massage Therapist. A native of Newberg, NY, Rich has been living and working in Bennington, VT as a licensed massage therapist since 1985. Rich holds a B.A. in Biology and owns a private massage therapy practice. Works for Williams College’s swim and track team and the Albany Conquest Football team. Rich currently teaches at the Community College of Vermont as a science instructor. Since 2006.
KAREN SCWARTZ - Pianist. Karen has performed as soloist, collaborative artist for chamber musicians, singers, theater and dance productions, as well as having served as music director for numerous original children's productions. She has traveled the world, performing at sea for 10 years. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School of Music, this native New Yorker has appeared at Weill Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, The Joyce Theater, Beacon Theater and Steinway Hall. She has been heard live on WNCN, WQXR, WNYC radio, as well as WCBS .WNBC and WPIX television in NYC and Miami. Karen taught actor Samuel L. Jackson how to assimilate the role of concert pianist in THE CAVEMAN'S VALENTINE, which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2004 Karen created and performed the U.S. premiere of Debussy's LA BOITE A JOUJOUX, (The Toy Box), for solo piano and choreographed marionettes at MOCA MIAMI. The revival just finished a two month run in the fall of 2012. Karen teaches privately in Manhattan. Since 2012.
TRIIN VALLASTE - Piano. Diploma in Piano, Tallinn High School for Music (2001), B.A. in Musicology, Estonia Academy of Music and Theatre (2005), M.A. in Musicology, Estonia Academy of Music and Theatre (2007). Concerto performances in the Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, Estonia. Solo, chamber, and accompanying appearances in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Italy, Germany, and USA. Triin is also active as a scholar and music journalist, and teaches piano privately in Amherst, MA. Triin is now in the PhD program in Ethnomusicology at Brown University. Since 2006.
REBECCA HURD - Piano, oboe. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Rebecca is currently a junior studying oboe performance and eurhythmics on scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Performed with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra of Sandusky, OH, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra. Has been playing piano since age 6, and has received the Tim Redovian Memorial Scholarship, the Steinway Prodigy Scholarship, and the Ann Weeks Award. At CIM, she is a member of the Phi Omicron chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, a community service-oriented music fraternity. Intern for ChamberFEST Cleveland, a new music festival launching its debut season in 2012. Since 2010.
PETER MITCHELL - MIDI and composition for Summer Sonatina. Born in Rhode Island and raised in Massachusetts. Peter is currently a junior at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where he studies Fine and Performing Arts with a concentration in Music. During high school, he was active in many music activities, namely chamber groups and festivals offered by the New England Music Academy (NEMA). Placed second in the SEMMEA Composition Competition in 2008-2009. Since 2011.
JAY SAGER - Sports Director, Piano, Percussion. BM in Music Education, The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Born and raised in Bennington, Vermont. Former member of The 2007 Sound of America European Concert Tour, performing in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. Winner of the Vermont All-State Performance Scholarship (Marimba) and Composition Scholarship. He has performed with The Berkshire Symphony and has been featured with them as a timpanist. Percussion soloist at the Park McCullough Music Series. Since 2009.