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Husband and wife guitar duo visit ASU for a night of classical music

Kithara Duo brings their guitar duet to the Tempe campus to share their love and appreciation for the classical guitar genre

The Kithara Duo performs for an innovative arts organization called Open Classical in June, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. The duo will perform on ASU's Tempe Campus on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016.

The Kithara Duo performs for an innovative arts organization called Open Classical in June, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. The duo will perform on ASU's Tempe Campus on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016.

A two-piece guitar group, Kithara Duo, is coming to ASU’s Tempe Campus to share their passion for classical guitar music with students and the surrounding community through a live performance.

The Texas-based duo is comprised of husband and wife Fernand Vera and Olga Amelkina-Vera. The couple not only plays guitar together around the world, but they also teach at Collin College in Plano, Texas. Fernand is the director of the guitar studies program and Olga teaches guitar, composition, and quite a few more subjects.

Kithara Duo have been playing guitar together since 2002. Fernand Vera said a colleague was the person who first got the couple to play together.

“We were both students of guitar," Fernand said. "We played solo in our early days and did some chamber work. We had an opportunity. One of our colleagues had a festival, and she asked us both, ‘Would you guys like to play together as a duo?’ and we said ‘OK, sure’. That did it.”

Being married adds an interesting dynamic in the musical performance process. Fernand Vera said that they work well together due to their many commonalities.

“I think that (the experience) is so different from everyone that looks like us,” he said. “My wife and I are so fortunate that we have a lot of common interests and desires and aspirations. It just works for us.”

When people think of guitar music, a lot of times pop or rock music come to mind, but Kithara Duo chooses to take a different path with their sound. Olga said the duo focuses strictly on classical music and have not performed pop music.

“We do not play pop music or rock music,” she said. “We are a classical guitar duo, so we don’t have pop arrangements or things like that. There’s nothing wrong with that, we just have not done that.”

Due to their classical style, students and faculty will not be experiencing the average guitar concert. Olga said the audience should be prepared for a more raw performance.

“There will be two chairs for the two of us,” she said. “That’s it. There’s no amplification. Usually it’s just in a good concert hall, and I think ASU’s concert hall is very adequate for that. (The audience) is going to hear the true sound of the instrument.”

Frank Koonce, coordinator of the Kithara Duo concert and a professor of guitar at ASU, said that he invited the group to ASU because of their ability to deliver great classical performances. He also said that there would be a surprise collaborative performance between Kithara Duo and a music group from ASU.

“Olga is also a composer, and she has some wonderful pieces for guitar solo and guitar ensemble," Koonce said. "In fact, as a surprise bonus, at the concert this Saturday, we have the ASU guitar octet from the School of Music performing a composition of hers.”

Kithara Duo will be performing on Nov. 12 at the Katzin Concert Hall on the Tempe campus from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For tickets and information, visit the School of Music events page.

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