Syrian Refugee, UNHCR High-Profile Supporter & Accomplished Violinist
Fled Syria And Found Refuge On The Stage. Mariela Shaker is singular. A virtuoso’’ --BuzzFeed. 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’s Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, she joined the Syndicate of Artists in Syria. Mariela was teaching 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. She has also been awarded a full tuition academic scholarship to study for her Master’s in Music Performance at DePaul University. Mariela is also a member of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Orchestra. From 2013 to 2015, she served as a concertmaster for the Monmouth College Chamber Orchestra. Mariela has appeared as a concert violinist performing solo with the Mesopotamian Symphony Orchestra in California Theater. Mariela 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. In 2018 Mariela got the Anne Frank Promisekeeper Award. Mariela is also the peace ambassador of World Council of Arameans. Mariela has recently performed and spoken at the White House, Brooking Institute, Pentagon Conference, United Nations, Arab American Institute, Georgetown and George Washington Universities, Asfari and Saied Foundations, Harvard University, Points of Light, International Rescue Committee, Aspen Ideas Festival among many others. Mariela has been profiled by the Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Buzz Feed, Woman's Day and many others. Mariela’s goal is to use her music to build bridges and promote peace and raise awareness for the plights of the Syrian people. What is remarkable about Mariela is that as a refugee, not only her music but also her voice is heard for refugees in need! Though her own family back in Syria has no electricity and many times she is unable to have contact, she perseveres for her noble cause.