Robert Duff, our conductor, is the artistic director of the Handel Society of Dartmouth College, and teaches courses in music theory and musicianship in the Music Department. Before coming to Dartmouth in 2004, Dr. Duff served on the faculties of Pomona College, Claremont Graduate University, and Mount St. Mary's College, and as the Director of Music for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he directed the music programs for nearly 300 parishes. He holds degrees in conducting, piano and voice from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Temple University, and the University of Southern California, where he earned a doctorate of musical arts in 2000.
An active commissioner of new music, Dr. Duff has given several world premieres of works for both orchestral and choral forces. He has been appointed by Governor John Lynch as Councilor to the New Hampshire Council on the Arts, and is the Vice President of the Eastern Division of the American Choral Directors Association.
Annemieke Spoelstra, collaborative pianist was born in Kampen, The Netherlands, and started piano lessons with Joke Venhuizen at age seven. She studied classical piano at the Conservatory in Zwolle, The Netherlands, with Rudy de Heus, earning her degrees Docerend and Uitvoerend Musicus (Bachelor and Masters as Performing Artist) for soloist, chamber music and art song accompaniment. She later studied Art Song Accompaniment at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam as a duo with German tenor Immo Schröder. She has often been invited to serve as collaborative artist at conservatories and national and international competitions.At age 21, Spoelstra was First Prize winner at the Dutch National competition Young Music Talent Nederland for best accompanist. She was praised for her touch and coloring. In 1997 she was First Prize winner for Music Student of the Year for her final recital. The jury report wrote, "She shows great intellect in music pedagogy and is a sensible, great performer, with well-balanced programs." In 2001 she was a finalist in Paris at the international Nadia and Lili Boulanger competition. Since January 2004, she has been a US resident living in Vermont. She performs solo, teaches piano at St. Michael's College and at her studio, and coaches vocalists and instrumentalists for auditions, competitions and performance. Spoelstra serves as accompanist for the chorale at St. Michael's College, and has accompanied the Vermont Youth Orchestra Choruses. Since 2011, she has been the pianist for the Thetford Chamber Singers. She has performed concerts in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and the USA.
Erma Mellinger, a Lecturer in Music at Dartmouth College, earned her Bachelor of Music degree with Highest Distinction from Northwestern University and her Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where she earned both Teaching and Performance Awards. A professional singer, Erma Mellinger has performed leading roles with many of the country's major opera companies including Cleveland Opera, the Dallas Opera, the Florida Grand Opera, the Fresno International Grand Opera, and the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh.