San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Young Tica musician wins first round in German competition

When María José Castro moved from Costa Rica to Germany six months ago, she was excited. “I’ve always wanted to finish my music studies in Germany,” said the 17-year-old clarinetist. “It was a very big opportunity for the whole family, to experience a new culture, learn another language and have a better education.”

Her upbeat attitude has already led to great things. At the urging of her music teacher Robert Locken, Castro participated in the Jugend musiziert, a national competition for young musicians. On Jan. 31, Castro competed with a quartet of woodwind players in the local round of competition, in the German city of Hamburg. Her group won first place, scoring 23 points out of a possible 25.

Castro started learning the clarinet at age six, and she attended Costa Rica’s National Music Institute. She has performed with the country’s Youth Symphony Orchestra, and she also studied oboe and harp. Now she is preparing for the second round of the Jugend musiziert, this time competing against regional musicians in the hopes of making the third and final round.

“Our goal is called the Bundeswettbewerb, which is against all the states of Germany,” she said. “I intend to take it to the fullest, never lower my guard, always look ahead, and to learn as much as possible. I have an incredible quartet full of friendship and love and passion for music, so I hope we achieve a lot more together.”

Costa Rica will be rooting for her.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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