Mariela Shaker, born 1990 in Aleppo, Syria, started playing the violin after joining the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo 1999. She graduated from the institute in 2004 with distinction. Mariela was always a very active performer in Syria and has taken part in many festivals and concerts in Aleppo including a solo violin recital in the Directory of Culture and in the St. Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in 2008. Mariela also has received many accolades while in Syria and was invited to participate in the Dubai Arabian Competition and to play with the Emirate Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Mariela taught the violin for five years at the Arabic Institute of Music until she auditioned in London in 2011 and subsequently received an offer to complete her music studies in the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music. In 2013, Mariela survived the war in Syria after receiving a full-tuition scholarship to attend Monmouth College and to study Music Performance for her second Bachelor’s degree. She previously received her first Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Aleppo University. Prior to just graduating from Monmouth College, Mariela received an honor for excellence in music performance. From 2013 to 2015, she served as concertmaster for the Monmouth College Chamber Orchestra. Mariela has also been awarded a full-tuition academic scholarship to study for her Master’s in Music Performance at DePaul University and graduated in 2017.
Mariela has appeared as a concert violinist performing solo with the Mesopotamian Symphony Orchestra in California Theater. She gave her debut recital at the Kennedy Center on June 20, 2015, in celebration of World Refugee Day which has been organized by UNHCR. Mariela has been named as Champion of Change for World Refugee by President Obama and was honored at the White House in 2015. On the same year, she played for members of the U.S. Legislature. Some engagements in 2016 include an invitation by Cate Blanchett for a performance in London and a performance for the first Scottish Minister at Beyond Borders International Festival in Scotland. In November 2016 Mariela got an invitation from International Rescue Committee to perform in presence of Queen Rania of Jordan. In 2017 Mariela was appointed UNHCR High Profile Supporter and in 2018 she received the first-ever Anne Frank Promisekeeper Award.
Mariela has recently performed and spoken at the White House, Brooking Institute, Pentagon Conference, United Nations, Arab American Institute, Emirates Airline Literature Festival, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Asfari and Saied Foundations, Harvard University, MIT, Points of Light, International Rescue Committee, Aspen Ideas Festival, Lincoln Center, UNHCR, CARE, King’s College Chapel (Cambridge), The Barbican Center (London), Beyond Boarder International Festival (Scotland), Hong Kong, Netherlands, Geneva, Malaysia, UAE and many others. She has been profiled by the Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Buzz Feed, Woman’s Day and many others.
Mariela has been chosen to be a violin professor at Monmouth College. Her method is to develop a personal voice and expression to her students and motivate them to give their best potential.