Are you curious about an education in music and sound production but unsure of where it will take you? Don’t just take our word for it. Take a look at some of the fabulous men and women that have graduated from OIART and where their education has taken them. Here are just a few OIART alumni that are kicking ass in the industry right now.
Michelle Hwu – Graduated 2015
Since graduating in 2015, Michelle Hwu has turned a passion in post-production sound engineering into a career in the Canadian television and film industry. Early on, Hwu gained experience as an intern working in independent films such as The Devil’s Horn and Below Her Mouth, the latter of which premiered at TIFF the year after graduating. Since then, Hwu has worked in post-production for The Farmhouse Creative Labs, a creative studio that works with brands including Uber, VICE, Telus. At VICE, she worked under both the VICE Sports and VICE News umbrella where she was as a part of their impressive coverage on Ukraines proxy war. With a background in percussive performance, Hwu has also worked as a foley artist on several projects including the Freaks and Geeks documentary released in 2018.
Graham Lessard – Graduated 2002
Graham Lessard has had an active and vital role in the Canadian music recording industry. Lessard first got his start out in the early 2000s as an engineer at CBC in Edmonton, where he recorded sessions with numerous jazz, blues and rock artists. Afterwards, Lessard moved to Montreal as an independent recording artist. In 2012, because of his impressive portfolio, Lessard was offered the top engineer position at the prestigious Banff Centre for Performing Arts. Lessard has worked with many of Canada’s top talent including Kevin Drew, The Barr Brothers, Young Galaxy, Reuben and the Dark and Timber Timbre. His work has garnered him several Juno nominations and a shortlist nomination for a POLARIS prize.
Dufour is certainly one of OIART’s most impressive alumni. Dufour is a Juno Award Winning engineer and producer, working with artists such as JULY TALK, Tokyo Police Club and Protest The Hero. Dufour first got his start out of OIART as an assistant engineer at legendary Toronto Studio Phase One. From there, he moved on to work at Revolution Recording where he worked with a number of impressive artists. It was there where he helped engineer and produce JULY TALK’s sophomore album Touch. His work on this album won him the title of “Recording Engineer of the Year” at the 2017 Juno Awards.
Kelly Burrow took the skills she learned from OIART in a different direction. Shortly after graduating in 2008, Burrow got her start in music licensing at Corus Canada. Her first gig set the path for her next decade of her career. As a music coordinator, she worked with producers to pair songs with segments on TV shows on the CMT network including The Dakota Sessions, Karaoke Star, Live at Revival and The Show. Afterwards she joined on as an Assistant Music Supervisor on the popular show So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Afterwards she moved on to Bell Media for a position in Music & Media Licensing / Business Affairs. It was there there that she has worked on shows such as Much Music and the MMVA’s, Marilyn Denis Show, Your Morning, Etalk, plus Space and Discovery-related programs.
Canadian Screen Award nominated audio editor and sound designer. Ben Spiller has spent his time since graduating OIART as a professional in the Canadian video game and film industry. Following his time in London, Spiller is credited as an engineer on many film and tv programs including Sidekick vs. Superhero, George of the Jungle, Book Of Negroes, Pirate’s Passage and Teen Titans. Most recently, Spiller has been working at Toronto studio Wanted! Sound and Picture. His work there includes Ubisoft’s hit video game franchise Assassin’s Creed for their recent sequel ‘Syndicate’.
Since Graduating in 2005, Jon Bartel has been actively involved as a mixer and recording engineer for the Canadian television industry. Bartel has been involved with a number of sports-related projects with a heavy emphasis on NHL content on Rogers Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada. He is also credited as a sound editor /engineer for a number of CTV / Bell programs including Discovery, TSN, and The Food Network.
With production credits on records including Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, Frank Ocean, and Taylor Swift, surely Matty Green’s resume speaks for itself. This OIART grad took what he learned in London, Ontario and made the move down to Los Angeles where he cut his teeth as an audio assistant. His early work landed him a spot on the production team for Beyonce and Kanye West albums. From there he became the “go-to” engineer to legendary writer Dave Sitek. It was this connection that lead to his work on recordings for Lady Gaga, Yeasayer, TV On The Radio and No Doubt.
Graham Van Pelt
Graham Van Pelt took the skills he learned at OIART and applied them to a more personal career path. As a recording artist and composer in the thriving arts community in Montreal, Van Pelt began working on his project Miracle Fortress shortly after graduating. His 2007 album Five Roses garnered him a shortlist nomination for the Polaris music prize. In the summer of 2018, he dropped the Miracle Fortress moniker began recording as a solo artist. Graham Van Pelt released his debut, solo LP Time Travel in October 2018.