Creative Industries and Composition | College of Arts

Creative Industries and Composition

The city of Toronto, right in Guelph’s backyard, is home to a thriving creative industry. The contemporary focus of the University of Guelph’s music curriculum along with visits from practicing composers and the support network provided by successful alumni make Guelph a great place to come and study the art and industry of composing and creatively contributing to our world.

Dave Riedstra

dave riedstraMaster’s Student and SSHRC Graduate Fellow, University of Victoria, Guelph Class of 2012

Studying music at the University of Guelph was a formative experience for me. The unique collaborative community shared by the students and faculty allowed me to dabble in an enormous variety of musical activity, eventually leading me to pursue composition at the graduate level.

The research awards I’ve earned early in the course of my graduate studies speak to the academic experience I garnered at the University of Guelph, which has given me a distinct advantage over my peers in that area.

 I can very safely say I would not be the musician I am today if not for the guidance I received from U of G faculty, the performances I could give in free jazz combos/music theatre ensembles/ad hoc new music groups/bluegrass bands, or the art-loving people I was able to meet around the campus and the city.


Joseph Murray

menalonMENALON, Guelph Class of 2010

My time at University of Guelph was an invaluable experience in the course of my career. It planted the roots for much of what I do today. I benefited from Guelph’s eclectic range of music courses, which challenged me to explore experimental musics and theories, while also offering the basics of Western music.

In my opinion it’s crucial to learn from different musical traditions in order to gain a greater understanding of where we come from and where we are heading. This being said, a big part of how I approach music today is throwing away everything I learned, turning my brain off, trusting my instincts, and creating subconsciously from my core. I feel confident in trusting this instinct partially because of the education I received at the University of Guelph.

I currently work with a partner (Lodewijk Vos) under the name MENALON. Together we’ve scored 4 films playing at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival; we are finishing up a composition residency at the Canadian Film Centre; and we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with some of our favourite artists, including Shad, Cancer Bats, Little Scream, and another Guelph alum, Jesse Stewart. We’ve written ads for many brands, including Google, MTV, Adidas, Pepsi, Roots, Footlocker, among others. 

We are open and excited, to what the universe has for us in the future!


Mark Onderwater

mark onderwaterCandidate in Urban Planning Graduate Programs, Class of 2011

Studying music at the University of Guelph allowed me to pursue enriching opportunities through several projects, catered to my specific interests in music technology and musicology. For my capstone fourth year project, I created a working prototype of a digital piano key able to detect new performance gestures and extend the instrument’s expressive capabilities. During my studies I also became profoundly interested in turntableism and hip hop culture. Guelph’s faculty was incredibly supportive and over my last two years, I began my journey into turntableism performance and hosted talks on the subject, alongside scholars in hip hop musicology. Additionally, Guelph’s Music program provided unique extracurricular experiences. These included acting as a student editor and journal manager for the University’s scholarly journal, Critical Voices.

Post-graduation, I continue to teach and promote turntableism as a performer and through community workshops. Additionally, I am exploring career opportunities in urban planning and design where I hope to help create public spaces that foster appreciation for the creative arts.