She was acclaimed as a talented interpreter of the Paraguayan harp from a very early age. Born in Maryland (U.S.A.), she shares her Paraguayan roots from
her mother along with her Ecuadorian heritage from her father. She began to study this magical instrument when she was 8 years old, under the guidance of Paraguayan maestro Pedro Gaona. In addition to developing her own style, Julie Crystal Peña learned techniques from another recognized maestro, Paraguayan Silvio Solis. She also studied piano at the prestigious Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. under the Piano Chairman Gregory Sioles. This training, as well as her talent as a composer, allows her to interpret compositions never before executed on the harp.
The Washington Post has described her as 'phenomenal' and the
Washington Times called her ‘amazing’. She can carry you to tears of happiness when she plays sacred music or create an atmosphere of jubilation on other occasions. She has performed in front of large audiences, in intimate meetings and before notable artistic and government figures. On television since the age of 9, Julie Crystal Peña has gained much exposure and recognition, and won numerous awards and distinctions. In July 1999, she performed before 40,000 spectators at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. Her 1998 Christmas album included her own composition, ‘Road to Bethlehem’. A year later, she recorded a CD of international music. Her latest release features sacred harp music. In addition to her musical career, she recently completed a doctorate in medicine and is working on a master's degree in public health.