Memorial lecture fitting tribute to York alumna

Left: Lise Waxer (photo by Pablo Delano)

What more fitting tribute could be given to musician, ethnomusicologist, author, educator and York alumna Lise Waxer (MA ’91) than a memorial lecture in her name? The first Lise Waxer Memorial Lecture will take place Thursday, Nov. 27, at 4pm in the Winters Senior Common Room, 021 Winters College, in honour of Waxer (left), who passed away in August 2002.

The featured speaker will be ethnomusicologist and Caribbean music specialist Gage Averill, Chair of the Music Department and director of the Program in Ethnomusicology at New York University. The subject of his talk is “Female Folkloric Singers as the Embodiment of National Sovereignty in Haiti.”

Right: Lise Waxer directing the Latin band, Salsafication

The lecture was established by Lise Waxer’s family, friends and colleagues to celebrate her love of music of all cultures and her joy in sharing that passion with others. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Professor Rob Bowman, director of York’s Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology & Musicology, has organized this event in consultation with the family, which has strong connections to York (as do many of the other contributors to the lecture fund).

In a brochure publicizing the lecture, Bowman says, “In losing Lise, many of us lost a dear friend, and the world of ethnomusicology lost one of its brightest, most energetic scholars.”

Interested in ethnomusicology from Grade10 onward, Waxer completed degrees in the field at the University of Toronto (BMus) and University of Illinois (PhD), as well as at York.

Waxer also became involved in producing and hosting one of Toronto’s first world-music radio programs on CIUT-FM, and conducted fieldwork on salsa music in Cali, Colombia. Her passion for ethnomusicology led her to write two books: Situating Salsa: Global Markets and Local Meanings in Latin American Popular Music (Routledge, 2002), and The City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia (Wesleyan University Press, 2002).

After completing her PhD, Waxer accepted a teaching position at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was not only an inspiration to her students, but also actively worked to forge links between the city’s Hispanic community and the university. She formed a student ensemble, Salsafication, and was the driving force behind Ritmo de Pueblo – a cultural event that brought Hartford’s Hispanic community and the university together.

About Gage Averill

Gage Averill is author of A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey: Popular Music and Power in Haiti (Chicago, 1997) and Four Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony (Oxford, 2003), and co-editor of Making and Selling Culture (Wesleyan, 1995). He is the editor of the Routledge series, Perspectives on Global Pop, and of a 12-CD series on Rounder Records titled The Alan and Elizabeth Lomax Haitian Expedition, 1936-37.