Prelude and Bagatelle (2009) is a short work meant to be, in accordance with its title, a musical whim, caprice, trifle. It is capricious because of its many fleeting moods and ephemeral turns of harmony. For this composition I experimented with placing capos on different frets for each guitar: guitar 1 has a capo on the first fret, and guitar 2 on the fourth. This allowed me to create sonorities and colors not normally available in standard open tuning. The work was premiered by Kithara Duo.
I would like to thank Frank Koonce for his editorial suggestions and Leanne Koonce for her work on the cover of this publication. I am grateful to my husband and duo partner Fernand Vera for his insight and inspiration throughout the composition process.
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 then her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of North Texas. An active performer and award-winning composer of works with guitar, she has received commissions for solo guitar and guitar ensemble music, as well as for compositions for guitar with other instruments and voice. Her works are published by Productions d'Oz, including another recent composition, Ex Tenebris, selected for the Frank Koonce Series. In 2009, Olga was named the winner of the Austin Classical Guitar Society Composition Competition for her quartet "Ninochka." She was a prizewinner in the Eastfield Collegiate Guitar Competition and a finalist in the University of Texas at Dallas International Guitar Competition. Olga has been invited to teach and perform at numerous festivals such as the "Classical Minds" Guitar Festival at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, Fort Worth Guitar Guild Festival, Mesquite Guitar Festival, and others. With her husband, guitarist Fernand Vera, she established Kithara Duo in 2002, and together they have performed in Europe as well as in North and South America. In 2010, Olga became a founding member of Presti, the first professional all-women guitar ensemble in the United States.
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. Olga's original artwork appears on the covers of her publications through the Frank Koonce Series and throughout "Beings," Kithara Duo's debut CD for Soundset Recordings. She is a member of the faculty at Collin College in Plano, Texas, and North Lake College in Irving, Texas. She currently lives in Denton, Texas. For more information on Olga, Kithara Duo, and Presti, please visit www.kitharaduo.com and www.prestiquartet.com.
Cover image: Bagatelle by Olga Amelkina-Vera (detail)