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Kithara Duo Performs at Alma Mater

Photo: Olga Amelkina-Vera and Fernand VeraOlga Amelkina-Vera ’00 and Fernand Vera ’98 have been making music together since their undergraduate years at the University of St. Thomas. The couple, now the world-renowned Kithara Duo, will perform for free at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 in Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon.

Coming back to UST, the Duo reflected on their music education at St. Thomas, and said it was absolutely excellent.

“We loved the intimate setting of our classes,” Fernand said. “University of St. Thomas and the Music Department in particular, provided a nurturing environment and allowed us to grow and have many new and exciting experiences. It was great to be so close to a thriving arts scene, which allowed us to see many outstanding performances of operas, symphonies and various chamber ensembles.”

Formed in 2002, the Duo will return to St. Thomas as award-winning artists. Olga, among other awards, was the first-prize winner in the 2009 and 2012 Austin Classical Guitar Society's Guitar Ensemble Composition Competition for her quartets “Ninochka” and “Nebulae.” Fernand, among other accolades, was a first-prize winner in the Rantucci Guitar Competition and Eastfield Collegiate Guitar Competition in 2008.

The American Records Guide, 2012, called their work “outstanding” and “imaginative, expressive and technically impressive.”

The Duo has performed in Europe and South America, as well as nationally for organizations such as Guitar Sarasota, Guitar Fort Worth, Austin Classical Guitar Society, Treasure Coast Guitar Society, Foundation of Modern Music in Houston, “Classical Minds" Guitar Festival at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, and live on "The Front Row," a program on Houston's classical radio 91.7 KUHF.  Olga and Fernard are also the creators and directors of the annual Guitar Orchestra Workshop in the North Texas area, now in its eighth year.

“We are happy and fortunate to be invited back to UST to share our music with our former professors, current students, friends and family,” Olga said. “All our professors contributed something important to our education. We hope to see as many of them as possible. It’s quite special, and we consider ourselves lucky.”

The Duo will be performing a variety of works, spanning about four centuries, and some original compositions by Olga. Their debut CD, “Beings,” is available worldwide on iTunes,, CDBaby and on the Duo’s website.

For more information on UST performance, contact Ann Harlan at 713-525-3159 or

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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