Mara Tieles Cutie was born in Cuba but currently resides in the Netherlands. She comes from a family that has an extensive history of performing classical music; accordingly, she began to play the violin under the tutelage of her father (a pupil of David Oistrach) at the age of seven. Later obtaining her bachelor's degree at the Liceu Conservatory under violinist Corrado Bolsi. She eventually studied at CODARTS Conservatory in Rotterdam with Gordan Nikolic and then earned her Masters degree at the Maastricht Conservatory under the supervision of Julia Dinerstein.
Both her Cuban heritage and her formal education have influenced the direction of her professional career. She is multifaceted in her musical abilities: She plays both early and modern music. Additionally, Mara often performs music in ways that push the traditional technical boundaries of the viola, including extended techniques and the inclusion of electronics.
Mara’s varied interests have compelled her to expand her ambitions as she has explored the ways in which classical music can be incorporated into electronic music. Her compositions integrate existing works from the contemporary canon with live electronics (beats, samples, and synths), creating a distinct sound.
She has toured internationally (across Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East) and collaborated with a broad spectrum of artists. She has performed with the following: Hansjörg Schellenberger, Ramon Jaffe, Andreas Frölich, Revital Hachamoff, Edith Salzmann, Viacheslav Poprugin, Corrado Giuffredi, the jazz ensemble Cuareim Quartet at the Berliner Philharmonnie, the Cinematic Orchestra, and the Mondriaan Quartet in Switzerland together with André Wilms and Heiner Goebels and others. As well as The Orchestra of the XVII Century under Franz Brüggen, European Union Baroque Orchestra as principal viola player performing with Alfredo Bernardini, Maggie Faultless, Bojan Cicic and Lars Ulrik Mortenssen. Additionally, she has recorded with a wide range of notable artists that includes Snarky Puppy and Junkie XL among others.
Mara also has an extensive history of teaching throughout the world as she believes it is her duty to give back to younger musicians and disadvantaged youths. Her first experience as a violin teacher was 15 years ago in Barcelona. She has since been an instructor at several schools in the Netherlands; a guest lecturer at the conservatorium in La Habana, Cuba; a chamber music coach during the Instrumenta Festival in Oaxaca, Mexico; and a teacher whom combined instrumental lessons with volunteer work at orphanages in Indonesia and Suriname. She has also had the pleasure of evaluating developing musicians by being an external jury member at the conservatories in CODARTS (Rotterdam) and ARtez (Arnhem).
Despite spending much of her time touring, playing, and teaching in various destinations, Mara still thinks often about how she can stay connected to her homeland. One of her current projects is to help expand contemporary Cuban music written specifically for the viola. She has worked with composers Alfredo Diez Nieto and Ivette Herryman, both of whom have written works that fit into this category.
During her time as a performer, she has won several accolades such as the First Absolute Prize of Cittá di Barletta, the First Prize in the Rome Strings International Contest, and the Third Prize in the Ibero-American String Contest.