A few days ago, we spoke with harpist María Paula Loría, a native of Tibás, San José, Costa Rica, who informed us about her participation in the annual Sphinx Organization competition.
Sphinx is a 27-year-old social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.
The organization has 4 program areas: education and access, artist development, performing artists, and artistic leadership, together they form a channel that develops and promotes diversity and inclusion in classical music at all levels: creative youth development, artist empowerment, and professional advancement, administrative leadership, as well as field service.
As Tica Maria Paula said, Sphinx is focused on increasing the representation of black and Latino artists in classical music and recognizing excellence. The U.S. organization, based in Detroit, Michigan, caters to beginning students and seasoned professionals in classical music, as well as entrepreneurs and cultural administrators.
It is a great opportunity because the musicians are valued, recognized, and respected. Each of the young people has the opportunity to express themselves and learn about classical music, on stage they show their charisma, leadership, talent, and courage, Maria Paula was one of them in 2024.
“Every year they hold a competition called Sphinx Organization Partner Auditions, which are very similar to orchestra auditions, with three categories: winds, brass and percussion, strings and harps. In the competition, there was a first round of selection in which approximately 280 musicians were the participants, of which 30 were chosen, including me. We went on to a second round in which I did not manage to win the first three prizes,” explained Loría.
For Maria Paula, the experience is beautiful and enriching, because it prepares the musicians for orchestra auditions, and also, the auditions are listened to by a large number of Sphinx Organization orchestra members.
Maria Paula is among the outstanding instrumentalists of the 2024 Sphinx Organization.
About María Paula Loría
The Costa Rican harpist was one of the collaborators in the first most listened to track on the Spotify platform, “Nadie Sabe”, from the album released in October by the singer Bad Bunny “Nadie sabe lo que va a pasar”.
Maria Paula’s Harp has also been heard with the group Il Divo.
She is 24 years old, joined the Costa Rican Symphony in 2009 when she was 10 years old, and started playing the harp when she was 11. She has been in music for about 13 years.
She only plays the harp and a little piano, when she was in high school she played guitar and saxophone for fun, for a short period.
The talented Tica began studying music in 2009 at the National Institute of Music of Costa Rica and was taught by the renowned Ruth Garita. In 2018 she went to Columbus, Georgia to finish her bachelor’s degree and now she is about to get her master’s degree at the University of Miami, she is finishing another semester and that has her very happy.
For now, she continues to prepare to participate in the U.S. International Harp Competition in 2025 and believes she still has a long way to go. “I think that in the end, one does not finish achieving what one wants, in the sense that when we achieve something, we want to achieve much more and that is why… One of my dreams, for now, is to get a position in an orchestra, to do very well in some competition, and part of what I want to achieve as an artist is to represent my people, the Latin American women, that the children see me and say – if she achieved it, then I can too.”
Remember that, to learn more about María Paula Loría, you can follow her on her social media accounts: Instagram @mariapaula.loria.harp on Facebook: María Paula Loría.