Marika Galea is a bassist, composer and educator based in Montréal by way of New York, Boston and Toronto. Galea has been on faculty at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in performance at McGill University. Named one of CBC Music’s 35 best Canadian jazz artists under 35, Galea is known for her ability to tell a story in a diverse range of compositional styles, and the wide palette of genres from which she draws her inspiration to do so.
Marika graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2016 with a degree in Performance and Classical Composition (with a minor in Conducting). At Berklee, she studied with Ralph Peterson Jr., Terri Lyne Carrington, Terence Blanchard, Darren Barrett, and Susan Hagen (Boston Pops) among others, and was the recipient of the Lennie Johnson Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship and the Richard Levy Scholarship for Composers.
Born in the multicultural city of Toronto to an extended family that spans four continents, she has always felt herself to be a global citizen. As an avid student of the French and English languages, history, and politics, Marika grew up aspiring to a career in International Relations and was accepted to Canada’s top universities to do so. As the first member of her immediate family with the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree, and the only one to master a second language, she graduated from secondary school with a 4.0 GPA. She always knew that she wanted to pursue higher education and eventually become an independent business owner, but never really considered music as a career path until she was well into her teens.
Marika has always appreciated music education and was a recreational participant in a wide range of musical activities throughout her school years. As a sophomore in high school, she was invited to attend the International Association for Jazz Education conference, hosted in Toronto. After seeing the University of North Texas One O’Clock Big Band and being handed a CD of the 2007 Berklee Monterey Jazz Quartet, she knew she had to learn more. Consultation with a childhood friend, whose relative was the coordinator of the Humber College Community Music School, brought about the purchase of a double bass and the discovery of a whole world of recordings and local musicians that she hadn’t known existed.
Many workshops, performance opportunities, awards, scholarships and festivals later, Marika has come to be regarded as a rising young star and bandleader throughout Southern Ontario. She studied at The University of Toronto for one year, sponsored on full scholarship by the University, the Distillery Jazz Festival, and the legendary Canadian arranger, Phil Nimmons.
Since then, Marika’s joyful enthusiasm and hunger to learn about music and the world have brought her, her bass and her compositions across North America. While enrolled at Berklee, she performed everywhere from Santa Barbara to New York City, and has carved out her reputation as an artist with longevity. In 2014, she was named the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival’s Rising Young Star. She has performed with the likes of Jason Palmer, Warren Wolf, Vincent Herring and Cyrus Chestnut, and opened for Al Jarreau, Branford Marsalis, Joey DeFrancesco and more. As a respected artist from the Toronto scene, Marika continues to aspire to a career as a musical ambassador for both the United States and Canada.