Olga Amelkina-Vera‘s works have been called “the discovery of the evening” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), “brilliant” (The Royal Gazette), “incandescent” and “hypnotic” (Fort Worth Star Telegram). A guitarist and composer, she grew up in Belarus and moved to the United States in 1997. Amelkina-Vera holds a Bachelor of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in guitar performance from the University of North Texas, and a Master of Music degree in composition from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Her SMU thesis composition, Submerged Worlds, for Pierrot ensemble and percussion, won the 2017-2018 American Prize in the instrumental chamber music division. Her comic micro-opera All That Glitters won third prize in the theater/film/opera/dance division of the same competition. Amelkina-Vera was chosen as the Irving Symphony Orchestra student composer-in-residence for the 2016-2017 season. Most recently, her solo guitar work The Heaven’s Hundred for solo guitar won third prize in the 2018-2019 American Prize competition in the instrumental chamber music division.
Amelkina-Vera won first prize in the 2013 Japan Guitar Ensemble Composition Competition for her quartet Cattywampus Rompus (Texas Tarantella) and was interviewed in 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. She is in demand as a conductor and artist-in-residence, frequently getting invitations to perform solo, speak, adjudicate, and conduct her music with guitar orchestras throughout the country.
Amelkina-Vera maintains a busy touring and teaching schedule as a soloist and conductor, as well as with Kithara Duo, her classical guitar duo with her husband Fernand Vera. Kithara Duo’s critically acclaimed recordings Beings and Lingua Franca feature some of her original compositions and transcriptions for guitar duo. Kithara Duo are represented by the LA-based Frameworks label. Amelkina-Vera is a full-time professor of music at Collin College in Wylie, TX, where she teaches composition, guitar, music theory, and music history.