Zakai was born in Jerusalem as Mira Koigen, the daughter of George Koigen and his wife Eva (née Patai). She studied at the University of Tel Aviv, initially in the Faculty of Humanities, and later at the Rubin Academy of Music, graduating in 1976. She married Jacob Zakai and they had two daughters.
She appeared with Yehudi Menuhin in a concert at Castel Gandolfo for Pope John Paul II, having previously appeared at Menuhin's festival as a soloist in Bach's Mass in B minor. Her 1982 recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with Georg Solti won the Grammy for Best Overall Classical Recording at the 1982 awards.
- "Mira Zakai (Contralto)". Bach Cantatas. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
- "הזמרת מירה זכאי מתה בגיל 7 (Singer Mira Zakai dies at age 76)". Ha'aretz. 2019-05-20. Retrieved 2019-07-04.
- Routledge (1 March 2009). International Who's Who in Classical Music 2009. Routledge. p. 911. ISBN 978-1-85743-513-9.
- Music and Musicians. Hansom Books. 1985. p. 19.
- Music Magazine. Barrett & Colgrass. 1982. p. 74.
- "Mira Zakai, Biography". Tel Aviv University. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
- Frank Villella, "Remembering Mira Zakai". Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 'Sounds and Stories' blog, 28 May 2019
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