YEREVAN — Lyrical soprano and pianist Shake Makarian (born in 1931 in Kerman, Iran) occupies a place in the history of Iranian opera and classical music. She is the daughter of Araks Makarian (1907-2010), an active figure in the Iranian-Armenian community and the first professional make-up artist in Iran.
Shake Makarian began her musical career studying piano at Tehran Conservatory. In 1951 she went to Italy to study piano and vocals at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Rome. Returning to Iran in 1957, Makarian performed as a singer and pianist with Tehran Symphony Orchestra and gave recitals for the Tehran Philharmonic Society, Goethe Institute, Youth Palace and appeared in several TV and radio programs, as well as actively participated in Armenian community events. She also had concerts in Italy, Greece and the US, performing opera arias and Armenian songs.
In 1971, Makarian graduated from Tehran University with a degree in musicology. She made her opera debut in Italy, in the city of Barga, during the International Festival in 1973, and sang at the Tehran Opera’s Roudaki Hall until 1978. She has taught classical vocals and piano in Tehran for about 35 years.
My meeting with Shake Makarian took place in the Yerevan apartment of the singer and her sister, pianist Ruzanna Makarian-Hovanesian.
Dear Mrs. Shake, it is with great pleasure that I read your mother’s memoir, Ashes of Memories, published in 1998 in Boston. It is a highly recommended book for those interested in the Armenian Diaspora and Iranian-Armenian community history.