Mariel Berger started playing piano when she was 4 years old, and at age 5 was featured on Iowa City Public Television playing piano with an orchestra. She attended Indiana University, studying jazz piano, and went on to receive an M.A. at William Paterson in composition and jazz arranging, studying with Jim McNeely. In 2006 Mariel was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and in 2007 her music premiered at the Renee Weiler Concert Hall for the Women’s Work Series. In the summer of 2009 she opened up for Mos Def (now known as Yasiin Bey), playing keyboard with the singer Lilla D’Mone. Mariel was a recipient of the 2011 Young Jazz Composers Awards and played piano at the Aaron Davis Hall with the Tamar-Kali Group. In 2012, she subbed in the pit for the Broadway musical, Evita, playing accordion and synthesizer. Mariel has been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre, Harold Arts, and ElMERGE. In the Fall of 2013, Mariel went on tour in Europe for 7 weeks, playing and creating sound installations for Tara Rynders’s project: You and Me. In 2014 Mariel had the opportunity to accompany Josephine Foster at the Manhattan Inn, and she released a solo cd, Built on Water, of all original songs for voice and piano. Mariel was a fellow in the Hemispheric Institute’s 2015 EMERGENYC program, where she made a video on gentrification, entitled White Out. In 2016, The Berger Sisters, featuring Mariel and her sister Melody, released a cd, Maybe So, featuring some of Mariel’s original songs. In 2017, Mariel’s short film, White Out, was chosen to be in the Fair Play Film Festival in Miami, Florida. Mariel had the honor to play at the Jazz Standard in January, 2018 with Arthur Vint and the Associates.
After studying extensively and playing Classical, Jazz, Brazilian, Balkan, and Experimental styles, Mariel now likes to write dreamy, hopeful songs of justice. Mariel writes for Tom Tom Magazine which features women and non-binary drummers, and curates a performance series, The Moon Show, which promotes queer, trans and other underrepresented artists. Mariel teaches song-writing and piano all around Brooklyn. She believes in the importance of collaboration as a way of fighting fascism and oppression, and facilitates regular workshops encouraging people to imagine together: Collective Songwriting for Collective Liberation.