Education and Career in Academia
After earning a diploma in piano and a Bachelor of Arts at Collège Basile-Moreau (1955–63), Lefebvre worked as a reference librarian at the main library of the Université de Montréal (1963–68), and at the documentation centre of the department of social medicine in the faculty of medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke (1968–70).
Lefebvre then returned to school, studying at the École Vincent-d’Indy (1971–74) and the Université de Montréal (1974–81), earning her doctoral degree in musicology from the latter institution. She then worked at the Université de Montréal as a professor from 1981 to 2010, vice-dean of graduate studies from 1993 to 1998 and acting dean from 1997 to 1998.
The courses that Lefebvre taught at the Université de Montréal included musical methodology and analysis and the history of romantic and modern music. From 1986 to 1988, she served as an advisor to the Minister of State for Culture of the Gabonese Republic and taught at the Université d’Omar-Bongo in that country. President of the Association pour l’avancement de la recherche en musique québécoise (ARMuQ, association for the advancement of research on Québec music, now known as the Société québécoise de recherche en musique) from 1983 to 1985, she made the history of Québec music her main research area and led several research teams on Canadian music and the history of musical life in Québec from 1860 to the present day. She also assisted in transferring to the archives of the Université de Montréal the private archives of major figures in Québec music such as Serge Garant, Jean Vallerand, Gilles Potvin, Maryvonne Kendergi, Andrienne Roy-Villandré, Cécile Tardif, Auguste Descarries and Gilles Tremblay.
Over her long, productive career, Lefebvre has published several books, contributed to numerous anthologies and written articles for various publications for specialized and general audiences, including the Cahiers de l’ARMuQ and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. She has produced biographies of musicians and critical editions of the writing of composers such as Serge Garant, Gilles Tremblay, Jean Vallerand, Gilles Potvin, Rodolphe Mathieu, Guillaume Couture, Marius Barbeau, André Mathieu, Aristide Filiatrault and Auguste Descarries.
Lefebvre has also taken an interest in the history of Québec musical institutions such as the Conservatoire national de musique, the Delphic Study Club, Les Soirées-Mathieu, the Bourses du gouvernement aux compositeurs (Québec government bursaries for composers, 1919–29), the Radio-Collège (1941–56), the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Lallemand competition. She has also researched women’s participation in musical creation and the musical underground of the 1970s. She has contributed to various works on Québec’s cultural history, including Le traité de la culture (2002), edited by Denise Lemieux. In 2009, with co-author Jean-Pierre Pinson, she published Chronologie musicale du Québec, 1534–2004.
Awards and Professional Affiliations
Lefebvre is a four-time recipient of the Opus Award for Book of the Year from the Conseil québécois de la musique (1998, 2005, 2010, 2011). She also received the Université de Montréal Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006, the Helmut Kallmann Award in 2009 and the SOCAN Foundation/ MUSCAN Award of Excellence for the Advancement of Research in Canadian Music in 2015. She was named professor emeritus of the Université de Montréal in 2011.
Lefebvre is a regular member of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire en littérature et culture québécoises (centre for interuniversity research on Québec literature and culture) and an associate member of the Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique (interdisciplinary observatory on music creation and research). She has been a member of the Société des Dix, a prominent Québec historical society, since 2002.