Mariela Shaker, born 1990 in Aleppo, Syria, started playing the violin at the age of ten when she joined the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo in 1999. She graduated from the institute in 2004 with distinctions. Mariela had been a very active performer in Syria and took part in many festivals and concerts in Aleppo. Recent engagements of hers in Aleppo have included a solo violin recital in the Directory of Culture and in the St. EphremSyriac Orthodox Cathedral.
Mariela has received many accolades in Syria and was invited to participate in the Dubai Arabian Competition and to play with the Emirate's Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, she joined the Syndicate of Artists in Syria. Mariela taught the violin for five years at the Arabic Institute of Music. In 2011, she gave a live audition in London, and subsequently received an offer to complete her music studies in the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music.
In 2013, Mariela received a 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. Mariela has also been awarded a full tuition academic scholarship so as to study for her Master's in Music Performance at DePaul University. Mariela is a member of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Orchestra. From 2013 to 2015, she served as a concertmaster for the Monmouth College Chamber Orchestra. Mariela appeared as a concert violinist when she performed solo with Mesopotamian Symphony Orchestra in California Theatre. She recently gave recital at the Kennedy Center on June 20, 2015 in celebration of World Refugee Day which has been organized by UNHCR.
Mariela has been recently selected as a Champion of Change for World Refugee and was honored at the White House, 2015. What is remarkable about Mariela is that as a refugee, not only her music is heard, but her voice for refugees in need! Though her own family has no electricity and many times she is unable to have contact, she perseveres for this noble cause. In December, 2015 Mariela played for members of the U.S. legislature. Now she uses her music to build bridges and raise awareness for the plights of the Syrian people.