Olga Amelkina-Vera grew up in Belarus and moved to the United States in 1997. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, and her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Guitar Performance from the University of North Texas with a related field in Music History. Olga was a prizewinner in the Eastfield Collegiate Guitar competition and a finalist in the University of Texas at Dallas International Guitar Competition. An active performer and award-winning composer, she has received commissions for solo guitar and guitar ensemble music, as well as for compositions for guitar with other instruments and voice. In 2013, Olga won first prize in the Japan Guitar Ensemble Composition Competition for her guitar quartet Cattywampus Rompus, and played a solo recital and gave an interview to Gendai Guitar during her trip to Tokyo. She was the first prize winner of the Austin Classical Guitar Society Composition Competition in 2009 and 2012 for her guitar quartets Ninochka and Nebulae. Her compositions are published by Productions d’Oz, including two works selected for The Frank Koonce Series. In 2010, Olga became a founding member of Presti, the first professional all-women guitar ensemble in the United States, active until 2014. As a member of Presti, Olga recorded a CD which featured several of her original compositions and arrangements. She maintains a busy performing, recording, and masterclass schedule with Kithara Duo.
Olga strives to expand the guitar repertoire through arrangements and new compositions. Her interest in early music has led her to study and arrange, for guitar, the lyra viol music of seventeenth-century England. Olga’s scholarly articles have been published in Soundboard. Her other interests include fine arts, literature, and foreign languages. She is finishing her Master’s degree in Composition at Southern Methodist University, where she is also an adjunct faculty member in the music history and theory departments. She is faculty at Collin College in Plano, TX, where she teaches guitar, composition, music theory, and music history.
On The Heaven’s Hundred:
Brilliantly weaving together the sounds of Cossack rural and religious tradition with those of anger, civil disturbance, people’s desperation and the destruction of innocence, this Chaconne-sized piece releases encroaching patterns of chaos which proceed to overwhelm its own underlying structures.
This is a grim metaphor for the plight of the Ukraine.
I also think that what we heard here is the birth of a new major work, important in its way as Picasso’s Guernica.
The Royal Gazette
Several works by Olga Amelkina-Vera fill out the disc, and they are a pleasure to hear…Her writing is often pleasantly exotic, perhaps inspired by her Belarussian heritage. Other duos would do well to take note.
The real discovery of the evening were three original compositions by Olga Amelkina-Vera, who gently stretched the expectations sharing her delightful musical imagination.
Of two recent compositions by Amelkina-Vera, subtle effects defined the three character pieces in “Beings:” the low, menacing huff of the mysterious Minotaur; the harp-like strums of incandescent Sylphs; the hypnotic patterns unraveling across Salamander.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram