Born in Thessalonica-Greece, Maria Makraki holds a master’s degree in physics from the University of Athens. She went on to receive her degrees in piano and composition from the Music Academy of Athens under Pericles Koukos, Alkis Baltas, Elias Voudouris and Uwe Matschke. Being a scholar of DAAD, UdK and the Franz Schubert Foundation, she gained a diploma in orchestral conducting with the highest distinction at the Berlin University of the Arts UdK under Professors Hans-Martin Rabenstein and Isaiah Jackson. Subsequently she concludes postmaster doctoral studies in orchestral conducting under Professors Hans-Dieter Baum at the Hanns Eisler University of Music in Berlin and Johannes Schlaefli at the Zurich University of the Arts. Furthermore she has attended master classes with many eminent conductors, including George Alexander Albrecht, Carl Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Jorma Panula and Kurt Sanderling.
In 1996 she won first prize at the 5th International Conducting Competition in the Czech Republic and the special prize in the Carl Maria von Weber conducting competition in Munich, establishing a long collaboration with the Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since then she has also become a scholar of the German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat Dirigentenforum).
Maria Makraki has regularly conducted and recorded with numerous prominent European orchestras in the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, the Turkey, the Ukraine and in the USA. These including, among others, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Athens, Bucharest, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestras as well as the Berlin, Bochum, Boston, Nuremberg and Tschaikovsky Symphony Orchestras. Furthermore she has conducted concerts with the Baden-Baden, Jenaer, Janacek, Rheinische and Robert Schumann Philharmonics and opera productions with the State Orchestras and Theatres of Bremen, Giessen, Halle, Kassel, Leipzig, New Brandenburg and Rostock.
At the State Opera in Chemnitz she performed “My Fair Lady”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Cabaret”, at the Berlin University of the Arts the contemporary operas “Sancta Susanna” by Paul Hindemith and “The Poor Sailor” by Darius Milhaud. In 2019 she conducted “La Traviata” at the National Opera Theatre Oleg Danovski in Constanta Romania with great success. Her opera repertoire includes additionally “Aida”, “Carmen”, “Cosi fan Tutte”, “Fidelio”, “Il barbiere di Siviglia”, “La Boheme”, “La Nozze di Figaro”, “Norma”, “Samson et Dalila”, “Tosca”, “Turandot”, “The Flying Dutchman”, “The Magic Flute” and “Hansel and Gretel”, which is expanded by the operettas “The Gypsy Baron”, “The Beggar Student”, “The Gipsy Princess” and “The Bat”.
She has participated in international festivals and has been getting rave reviews for her concerts and opera productions in magazines such as “Das Orchester”, “Opernwelt”, “Neafon” and newspapers such as “Berliner Morgenpost”, “Die Welt”, “Nürnberger Nachrichten”, “Siegener Zeitung”, “Tiroler Zeitung”, “Badisches Tagblatt”, “Bergische Morgenpost” etc.
In 2000 she won first prize in the conducting competition held by the Bergisch Symphony Orchestra in Solingen, becoming the academy’s principal conductor for the period 2000/01 as well as the second prize in the Bad Homburg conducting competition. In addition she has been included as prize winner in the German Music Council’s “Maestros von Morgen” list of artists from 2001 to 2005. In 2003 she was appointed resident conductor of the State Orchestra and Theatre of Chemnitz with the Robert Schumann Philharmonic.
Maria Makraki has been artistic director of Camerata Europaea in Berlin since 2007. From 2007 to 2009 she was also lecturer for orchestral conducting at the Faculty of Music, University of Macedonia in Thessalonica, Greece. Furthermore, she has been artistic director of the Festival of contemporary music and visual arts “Regain” in Athens in 2012 and also for the newly founded Festival of Culture since 2015.
Maria Makraki is widely-known as ambassadress between the known and the unheard: in her concerts she manages to build bridges between classic repertoire and contemporary music, symphonic as well as opera, and each season she puts several world premieres on stage. A main focus of her artistic work lies in the development and implementation of innovative and integrative programme-concepts for European culture. She is regularly invited as juror for various competitions. Moreover, she works as guest lecturer for orchestral conducting all over Europe and gives talks on “leadership”. In 2019 she has been awarded with the Exaleiptron prize for her contribution in promoting the Greek culture in the field of music.