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 16-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.
ANNA DAGMAR - Classical and Jazz Piano, Chorus. British-born, NYC-based singer-songwriter who cites influences including Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel and Leonard Bernstein. She studied jazz and classical piano and earned a performance and music education degree at the Eastman School of Music. In NYC she began a career in original songwriting and is a Gold Prize Winner of the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest, a Kerrville New Folk Finalist and a member of the Advanced BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop. Her teaching experience includes Mamaroneck High School, the Nightingale-Bamford School and a private piano studio. During 2012, Dagmar released her fourth album, Satellite, which reached #5 on the National Roots Radio Chart. She is currently composing a full-length musical. www.AnnaDagmar.com. Since 2000.
(Photo by Robbie Michaels)
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.
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.
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 24, 17, 15, 13 and 8. Piano Faculty at Bennington College. Since 2003.
ANDREA LINDHARDT – Administrative Assistant. Born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, living in the US since 2000. Currently a senior at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst -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 12 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.
MATT MOON - Media, website and greenhouse manager. Matt sets up and video records the live streaming of the sonata and sonatina master classes and concerts. Archived videos are located at www.sonatina.com. M.A. in Biostatistics, Boston University. 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.
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.
CHANTILLY LAROSE - Piano, clarinet, saxophone, oboe. Currently a freshman Music Education major with a concentration in clarinet at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Born and raised in Danville, Vermont. Former member and principal clarinetist of the Green Mountain Youth Symphony since 2008, with whom she performed in the Eurochestries music festival in and around Quebec City. Participant in District, All State, and All New England festivals throughout high school on clarinet, although she also plays piano, saxophone, and oboe. Performed with her high school jazz band at the Berklee Jazz Festival in 2010. Participant in the Shine Maple Sugar Bowl All-Star Marching band, which raises money for Shriner's Hospitals throughout New England. Since 2013.
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.