Liesl Whitaker

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra


Liesl Whitaker is a charter member of DIVA. A world-class lead trumpet player, she can be heard on 6 of DIVA’s 9 CDs: Something’s Coming (1995), Leave It to DIVA (1997), I Believe in You (1999), Live in Concert (2002), TNT: A Tommy Newsom Tribute (2005), and A Swingin’ Life (2014).

Originally from Chicago, Liesl attended Appalachian State University and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied trumpet with Bill Adam, Pat Harbison and Joe Phelps. In addition to DIVA, she has performed and/or recorded with the Ed Palermo Big Band, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany, the Madison Square Garden production of The Wizard of Oz, and pit orchestras for many musicals including Cats, Cabaret, Victor Victoria, Guys and Dolls, Little Me, and Big.

Liesl joined the Army Blues of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in 2000, becoming the first woman to win a lead position in a premier U.S. military jazz ensemble. She repeated this feat with the Jazz Ambassadors of The U.S. Army Field Band in 2012. She resides in Maryland with her son and daughter.