About Trio La Milpa

The members of Trio La Milpa:
Katherine Needleman (BSO Principal Oboist)
Michael Lisicky (BSO oboist)
Sandra Gerster

Recently applauded by the Baltimore Sun as “some of Baltimore’s best classical musicians”, Trio La Milpa has delighted audiences since 2003. Originally serving as the oboe/English horn section of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia, the three colleagues broke away from their orchestral constraints to explore the colorful and varied chamber music written for two oboes and English horn. Committed to diversity of musical styles, the trio has performed in equally diverse venues – from traditional concert Trio La Milpahalls to outdoor gardens to inner-city schools.

Trio La Milpa has been working in conjunction with the Baltimore Symphony’s “BSO On-The-Go” community outreach program at its sister home, Strathmore, in Montgomery County. Since this program’s inception, the ensemble has performed for thousands of schoolchildren directly in their classrooms. In Fall 2007, the trio launched a multi-visit residency project in the Montgomery County, Maryland school district. Students of selected schools collaborated with the musicians to perform “An Irish Fantasy” for oboe trio and recorder ensemble. Composed by Baltimorean Jonathan Jensen, this work wascommissioned by the Baltimore Symphony and Trio La Milpa.

In August 2007, Trio La Milpa embarked on a five day concert tour of the country of Greenland. Through the cooperation of the Royal Danish Embassy, Air Greenland, Nunafonden and the Katuaq Cultural Center, the trio became the first American music ensemble to perform in that country. The ensemble visited the communities of Sisimiut, Kangerlussuaq, and Nuuk, the world’s smallest capital. After its final recital in Nuuk, the Greenlandsposten newspaper simply referred to the group’s performance as “elegant”. This historic concert tour also marked the first time any of its members had performed above the Arctic Circle.

The trio was fortunate to have a weekend residency on Smith Island, MD in September 2007. This community of 240 is located in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Trio La Milpa not only performed a formal recital but also visited the town’s Ewell School, where they performed for the island’s 14 schoolchildren. The residency ended with appearances at all three of the island’s churches. The Crisfield Times called the residency “unique and wonderful”. Read more about it here.

On November 10, 2008, Trio La Milpa spent a residency at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. The “master ensemble” (Wilmington News Journal) performed a formal recital and worked with the oboe studio in the University’s Music Department. On special note, the performance helped celebrate the legacy of Louis and Renate Rosenblatt. With the Rosenblatts in attendance, the trio performed many of the works that both Lou and Renate have arranged for oboe trio. Read more about the program here.

This “tremendous trio” (Atlantic City Press) has been praised for “flawless” performances marked by “gratifying soulfulness” (Richmond Times-
Dispatch) and “well-matched musicianship” (Baltimore Sun).


Katherine NeedlemanKatherine Needleman joined the Baltimore Symphony as principal oboist in 2003, the same year she won first prize at the International Double Reed Society’s Gillet-Fox Competition. In addition to her numerous appearances with the BSO, Ms. Needleman has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra, the Haddonfield Symphony, and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Colombia, among many others. She has appeared as guest principal oboist with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and the New Zealand Symphony. Ms. Needleman is a founding member of the oboe trio, Trio La Milpa; the woodwind quintet, Astral Winds; and the Mico Nonet, an improvisational ambient chamber music ensemble involving principal players from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and 1970’s synthesizers. Ms. Needleman’s other chamber music engagements have taken her to Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York; Jordan Hall and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. She has appeared at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, Italy’s Spoleto Festival, the Alpenglow Festival, the Bowdoin Music Festival, and the Newport Music Festival. A frequent participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, she has also appeared on two tours with “Musicians from Marlboro.” Devoted to the music of our time, Ms. Needleman has premiered numerous works. She has commissioned works by Luis Prado, Chia-Yu Hsu, and David Ludwig, and gave the American premiere of Brenno Blauth’s Concertino. Ms. Needleman received a Bachelor of Music degree at age twenty from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Woodhams.

Sandra GersterPraised for “exemplary bravura” (New Haven Register), Sandra Gerster Lisicky enjoys a varied musical career of oboe, oboe d’amore and English horn engagements throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Ms. Lisicky performs regularly with the Baltimore and North Carolina Symphonies, Trio La Milpa and WindRose Trio d’anches. She serves as Principal Oboist of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, and maintains an active studio of oboe students. Formerly she was Principal Oboist of the Hartford Symphony, Connecticut Opera, Berkshire Opera, Opera New England and the New Sousa Band. As a founding member of the Soni Fidelis Quintet, resident ensemble of the Hartt School of Music, Ms. Lisicky co-managed four chamber music series, collaborated with guest artists such as Susan Saint James and Captain Kangaroo and made an acclaimed Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1989. As a chamber musician, Ms. Lisicky has been featured with the New World, Franciscan and Cavani String Quartets on numerous occasions. In 1998 she was invited to participate in a special chamber music concert in London for Prime Minister Tony Blair and designated members of his Cabinet. Ms. Lisicky has participated on several acclaimed National Chamber Players recordings, including Mozart’s Gran Partita and Dvorak’s Serenade for Winds. She received her Music Performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied with legendary oboist Alfred Genovese.

Michael LisickyWhile performing on the BSO’s European tour in the Fall of 2005, oboist Michael Lisicky substituted as a last-minute soloist in Parma, Italy and The Baltimore Sun declared “A star was born.” A native of southern New Jersey, Mr. Lisicky joined the BSO permanently in January 2006 after having served in prior seasons as a season substitute musician. Before coming to Baltimore, Mr. Lisicky was a member of the Richmond Symphony from 1990 to 2005. While in Richmond, he served on the faculty of the University of Richmond, served as Principal Oboist of the Willaimsburg Symphonia for 14 years and performed as a soloist with the RSO on six occasions. He is also a former member of the Savannah Symphony. A graduate of the New England Conservatory, his teachers included Alfred Genovese, John deLancie, Peter Bowman and Marion Norcross. Mr. Lisicky has performed on occasion as Principal Oboist with the Baltimore Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony and the Taipei Philharmonic. In Baltimore he is a frequent performer on the BSO musicians’ Candlelight Chamber Music Series and also serves as the local Town Crier and walking tour guide for the Fell’s Point Preservation Society located in America’s oldest working seaport.