Sophia Jho, 15 years old, is a freshman at Shady Side Academy and studies harp with Gretchen Van Hoesen, Principal Harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Sophia has won international, national, and regional harp competitions, including first prize in the 2020 International Young Artist’s Harp Competition and various prizes in the biennial American Harp Society National Competition in 2017 and 2019, the Duquesne Young Artist National Solo Competition in 2017 and 2018, the 2019-2020 Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra Solo Concerto Competition, and the 2020 Lois Streator & Lois Smith Memorial Competition. Sophia has been cited in the American Harp Journal and Harp Column magazine.
Sophia has performed side-by-side with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and was a harpist for the Millennium Symphony Orchestra for Carnegie Mellon University School of Music’s Summer Pre-College Program and the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra. As part of a harp ensemble with other members of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Harp Society, Sophia has played the national anthem at PNC Park for the Pittsburgh Pirates and participated in holiday concerts at PPG Wintergarden and Carnegie Music Hall. Sophia has participated in master classes with Sacha Boldachev, Katherine Siochi, Bridget Kibbey, Heidi Bearcroft, and Joan Holland, and previously studied the harp with Lucy Clark Scandrett.
Sophia has played the harp for community outreach events to inspire in young children a love of classical music and has traveled as an invited soloist. In 2018, Sophia performed the Handel Harp Concerto in B Flat Major with the Erie Philharmonic led by Dan Meyer in a series of youth concerts for thousands of Pennsylvania elementary school students and their teachers. In 2019, Sophia was invited by the Laredo Philharmonic to perform as a featured soloist for the Rising Stars Recital Series in Texas. During the pandemic, Sophia compiled videos of virtual performances of holiday harp music to share with local nursing home residents.
In addition to the harp, Sophia has studied the piano and violin, and enjoys dabbling with the electric guitar, ukulele, and kalimba. Sophia’s other interests include comic art for which her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, martial arts training for karate black belt degrees, reading fiction, Science Olympiad, baking banana bread, Korean skincare routines, and caring for her hypoallergenic Siberian cat.