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Holly Wissler

Dr. Holly Wissler
Dr. Holly Wissler

Holly Wissler is a Lecturer in Music History and Literature. Dr. Wissler worked many years in Peru as Applied Ethnomusicologist and National Geographic Expert for their student expedition programs, as well as Guest Lecturer for various U.S. university study abroad programs (lectures in musical traditions, Peruvian history and modernization). She is also high altitude trek leader for Wilderness Travel in Peru (and formerly Nepal). She received master’s degrees from the University of Idaho in Flute Performance and in Music History; and a PhD in Musicology (emphasis Ethnomusicology) from Florida State University. 

Dr. Wissler’s research includes the rituals, traditions, and modernization of the music of the Quechua community of Q’eros in the Peruvian Andes and the Amazonian Wachiperi community of the Madre de Dios River Basin, with a particular focus on: indigenous theory of music; repatriation of audio-visual archives, their use and impact; effective indigenous tourism that includes music; healing through the singing of grief, and loss; and the impact of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage nomination with local people and entities. She was logistics organizer and presenter for the Wachiperi in the 2015 Smithosonian Folklife Festival that focused on Peru. She was co-author with Peru’s Ministry of Tourism for the UNESCO nomination of Q’eros traditional songs to the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Dr. Wissler has published extensively in both Spanish and English journals, and is the producer of two video documentaries: Qoyllur Rit’i: A Woman’s Journey, about Peru’s largest pilgrimage festival and her inside role in the festival; and Kusisqa Waqashayku (“From Grief and Joy We Sing”), about the annual cycle of musical rituals in Q’eros. She is currently producing a third documentary, Dante’s Story: The Fight for Deaf Rights in Peru. A classical flutist, she has performed in Peru on concert series sponsored by the Peruvian-North American Institute, and is adept at numerous Andean instruments. She speaks six languages: English, Spanish, Quechua, Nepali, and Peruvian and American Sign Languages.