Galina Vale

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Galina Vale.

Galina Vale born Galina Ivanovna Vernigora in Kharkiv, Ukraine, is a classically trained virtuoso guitarist. Her individualistic solo performances combine a charismatic stage presence and dynamic powerful playing style with an unusually wide ranging and technically demanding repertoire; including classical music, flamenco, arrangements of Latin American and East European folk music.


A child prodigy raised in a family of musicians, Galina’s performing career began at the age of eight with an appearance on Ukrainian State Television. Four years later she performed her first guitar concertos (Vivaldi RV82 and 93) with the Kharkiv Philharmonic [1] symphony orchestra. At 14 she had followed this with Rodrigo’s "Concierto de Aranjuez" and Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s "Concerto in D (Op.99)" for guitar and orchestra while Ukrainian State TV produced the music film "Portrait with Guitar" featuring Galina as a soloist. From 1985 to 1991 she combined study at the Gnesin Music College in Moscow [2] with employment as principal guitarist for the Kharkiv State Philharmonia [3] (1985 to 1997).

During this period, Galina won prizes at international music competitions in Poland, Italy, Hungary, Spain, and the United Kingdom, and her schedule with the Kharkiv Philharmonic included over 2,000 concerts. In 1996, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr. Simon Hemans, (who had attended a concert by Galina during his previous appointment as Ambassador to Ukraine), invited her to Africa for a concert tour and television appearances.

In 1995, Galina became the first Ukrainian following perestroika and the establishment of Ukrainian independence from the former Soviet Union to win a Rotary Club scholarship for study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. This year saw the first of many appearances at the EuroWirral Internationsl Guitar Festival of Great Britain [4] and Galina winning first prize at the prestigious Mrs.Sunderland Music Competition.

In 1996, the Gendai Guitar Foundation of Japan [5] under Masaru Kohno [6] sponsored her first CD, The Legend, which included works by Salvador, De Falla, Sabicas, Rodriguez, Sainz de la Maza, Dyens, Cardoso, Tirao, Ramírez, Mertz, Barrios, Shevchenko, and Rak marking her radical approach to repertoire. This recording was heard on US FM radio for the first time in the 1997 network program edition of Great Women Guitarists produced by "Classical Guitar Alive" [7] and later on Maltese National Radio with the programme Cantabile.

By 1997 Galina was domiciled in the United Kingdom and following her marriage had changed her performing name from Galina Vernigora to Galina Vale. 1999 saw the first of a number of concerts at the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester and the support of director Salvador Estabanez Eraso leading to collaborations with the Open University and an appearance at the 2001 Hola Mundo Festival in the Bridgewater Hall which also included Vicente Amigo, Celia Cruz and Radio Tarifa. In 2006 she performed the first of three concerts at [Cambridge University] while a series of concerts with the LACCS under Juan Monroy [8] led to appearances in London at the Purcell Room (Royal Festival Hall) in London and interviews on the BBC World Service.

Galina has since also performed in South Korea, Thailand, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, the United States, Ireland and Portugal. In 2007 and in recognition of her work, she became an Ambassador of the EuroWirral International Guitar Festival [9]- alongside Woody Mann and John Williams (guitarist).

Galina’s early influences included the female guitarists Maria Luisa Anido and Ida Presti. By her teenage years she had become an admirer of Kazuhito Yamashita and Štěpán Rak who were breaking boundaries in current classical guitar techniques and repertoire, the Russian gypsy guitar work of Sergei Orechov [10] and flamenco guitarists Sabicas and Paco de Lucia. She has developed a dramatic guitar technique that owes more to contemporary flamenco and earlier styles rather than current fashions of classical guitar playing.

Never afraid of controversy Galina has become a unique personality of the international guitar world: very few female guitarists have even attempted both classical and flamenco genres, while her most recent recording also included electric guitar. She continues to experiment in crossing of boundaries and musical styles.


  1. The Legend (1996)
  2. Hungarian Rhapsody (2000)
  3. The Great Gates of Kiev (2002)
  4. Guitar Magic (2008)
  5. Cruzando la Frontera (2011)

Films (Ukrainian State TV)[edit]

  1. Portrait with Guitar (1984)
  2. Strings and Sails (1989)
  3. Spirit of Spain (1996)

External links[edit]

  • Galina Vale web-site - [11]
  • Facebook Galina Vale fan page - [12]
  • Reverbnation page for Galina Vale - [13]
  • Last fm page for Galina Vale - [14]
  • Discogs - [15]
  • YouTube video links - [16]
  • International Guitar Festival of Great Britain (Ambassadors)-[17]
  • Myspace for Galina Vale - [18]
  • Alma Guitar - [19]
  • LACCS - [20]