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DSC09170-Editar-EditarMARIANA ZWARG E SEXTETO - TIJUCA PB_edited.jpg


When Mariana opens her mouth, one of two things comes out: kindness, or music.


As soft-spoken and kind she is with the ones around her, as powerful and energetic she becomes when spreading, sharing the music inside her by means of her flute. And as paradox as that may seem, it is not – both conditions, her gentle kindness and energetic drive, are intimately intertwined, also and especially in her art.


That reflects as well in the people she is comfortable performing with, as it is of utter importance to her and her creative process to feel closely connected with her fellow musicians, to have a feeling and understanding of each other even before picking up the instruments – if Mariana had to choose between the best musician in the world, with immediate perfection in executing her arrangements, and one who might have to ask for instructions and rehearse extensively to master her tunes, but with whom she feels a strong connection, she’d always and without hesitation opt for the latter.


She cares about people as much as she cares about music – she draws inspiration from them, as well as inspiring her counterparts. She speaks with warmth about band members and colleagues, and symbolically, this describes well an aspect of paramount importance to her music – the human dimension, not as a mere add-on or even handicap to her and her projects’ virtuosity, but on the contrary, as its basic condition and strong foundation on which their cumulative creativity grows and is able to thrive.


A flutist is born

In theory, Mariana started playing the flute rather late in her life – only when she was twenty years old and about to graduate as a psychologist, she discovered her passion for the instrument and has not lost it ever since, constantly evolving and steadily soaring to ever new heights in her discipline: “It’s a huge love story between me and the flute”, she says with her characteristic, gentle smile.


As her passion for performing won her over, she never finished her university degree in psychology, even though she was in her final year: “You know, when you’re young you just have to follow your passions”.


And right she was in doing so, considering the musical career which emerged from that decision.


Musical career

Most people would not manage to master an instrument on a professional level when starting to play it at that age, but Mariana from the very start had and has a very strong factor in her favor: her personal background from a family whose extraordinary musicality can not be stressed enough as the driving force behind her musical voyage, as being surrounded by professional, ingenious and congenial musicians was completely natural to her, literally from her birth.

Path solo 

Speaking of which: Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1980, Mariana is the third generation of professional musicians in her family. And not just any musicians: her father, Itiberê Zwarg, is himself a giant in contemporary Brazilian music, and even more so her godfather, Hermeto Pascoal, who is considered to be one of the great innovators of Brazil’s contribution to universal music – a genius, by any standards; and Itiberê has been playing in Hermeto’s group for more than 40 years. So Mariana basically grew up amidst daily rehearsals, gigs and musical outbursts of great passion, dedication and brilliance, without at first receiving formal training in that field – musical creativity was just always around, like air to breathe. As if it was her genuine mother tongue. Her home was music, and thus music became her home, from which years later she would set out to conquer the world’s stages, Jazz Clubs and festivals of Brazil, Latin America and Europe so far. And many more still to come.


Musical Background

With Hermeto and Itiberê being her teachers, her musical imagination knows no boundaries, it is free in the term’s best sense – without ever denying its roots in Brazilian traditions, orally passed on to her by the musical masters who have surrounded and supported her from the very start. Ironically, and as the family myth will have it, it was not clear in the beginning that her family would end up in Brazil. It was her great-grandparents who came from Europe on a steamboat, fleeing war and misery – her great-grandfather from Germany and her great-grandmother from Italy. According to legend, they met on the ship during their journey, and fell in love with each other – and as the ship first landed in Rio and then went on to Buenos Aires, they threw a coin – heads or tails, disembark or stay aboard? Rio or Buenos Aires, Brazil or Argentina. And without having any certainty what would have happened if they had decided to stay on board and continue travelling … we can definitely say that the world owes a great deal to that coin, tossed more than a century ago, and thereby determining the cultural heritage which Mariana’s music draws from and continues to reinvent and expand incessantly across all borders, from Rio to Berlin, from Finland to Portugal, from Barcelona to Montevideo – be it with her acclaimed Sexteto Universal or in duo with Johannes von Ballestrem, her congenial fellow musician and pianist. Music, as well as kindness, are universal languages, which are understood all over the world – Mariana speaks both of them, fluently.

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Nascentes: First Album

In 2019, the sextet recorded their first album, “Nascentes”, which was released in 2020 and whose name represents a milestone in Mariana's musical career. “With this band, I was born as a leader, composer, arranger. It was a very beautiful process of discovery and of feeling safe, supported. The band has a very important role in my musical history.” 


With Johannes von Ballestrem

In 2020, during the covid-19 pandemic, Mariana started a duo with the pianist of the sextet, Johannes Von Ballestrem, at first, each of their homes. The work was recognized with grants from the Goethe-Institut and the Berlin Senat, which made it possible to record the Duo's first CD, which will be released in 2023. 


Main Tours:

After the pandemic, the sextet returned to travel and participate in important festivals across Europe, which it has continued to do ever since. The main ones so far have been:

Auditório de Espinho - Portugal (2022)

XJAZZ - Alemanha (2022)

Zig Zag Jazz Club - Alemanha (2016, 2018 e 2022)

Pori Jazz - Finlândia (2019)

Sunset Sunside - França (2019)
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences - Finlândia (2018 e 2019)

Copenhagen Jazz Festival - Dinamarca (2016 e 2018)


- Senado de Berlim (Alemanha, 2022)

- Edital FOCA - Fomento à Cultura Carioca (Brasil, 2022)

- Goethe Institute (Alemanha, 2021)

- Ibermusicas (Espanha, 2021)

- Prêmio Funarte RespirArte (Brasil, 2020)

- Prêmio Arte como Respiro (Brasil, 2020)

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