Aviva Lev-Aviv went from chairing the Hart House Music Committee to working at a top booking agency for award-winning talent. We asked her about her musical journey, how it all began and why it's important to pursue your passions.
What did you study and when did you graduate?
I graduated with a major in Book & Media Studies and minors in Music History and English in 2017.
How did you first get involved with Hart House and the Music Committee?
I got involved with the Hart House Music Committee right away in my first year. My introduction was DEMO Music Magazine—I saw their booth at the Clubs Fair at Frosh Week, and after chatting with the execs for a few minutes, I knew I had found my people. I wrote for DEMO for a couple of years, and then my interests shifted to the production of live music events. Luckily for me, there was another division of the Committee, Stages Concert Series, that gave me the opportunity to try my hand at event planning and production. Working with the Stages team was a fantastic way to learn about the logistics of live events—from budgeting to booking performers, to advertising shows. In my final year of school, when the opportunity arose to act as Chair for the Hart House Music Committee and oversee all of the subcommittees, I jumped at it.
Were you always interested in music? What were your influences? Do you play an instrument?
Absolutely; my love of and fascination with music has shaped so much of my life—from being a young kid making up songs and forcing my family to be my captive audience, to being a pre-teen completely obsessed with Nirvana. When I discovered their music it started an all-out fixation with alt-rock, leading into an exhilarating exploration of classic rock, blues and folk. I spent much of my free time in libraries, reading every artist biography I could find and checking out CDs to later download—and painstakingly organize—on to my family’s computer. I learned to play guitar as a pre-teen and throughout high school, loved to play and sing at Hart House Open Mic Nights. I also took every opportunity I could to get a glimpse into the music business, volunteering at concerts, networking at industry events and taking internships at different companies. When I graduated from University, it was a relatively smooth transition to start working in the live event industry. As an adult, I’ve also leaned into my lifelong dream of drumming and have been taking lessons on and off for a few years.
What do you do currently and did your Hart House experience help you in your role?
Currently, I work in the music department of a booking agency, APA. The experience I gained at Hart House has definitely helped me in my current role. Developing an understanding of the logistical side of live events, getting to know artists and music industry professionals, and balancing multiple projects are all skills and connections that are relevant to this day. At Hart House, I had the opportunity to dive deep into my interests and explore a variety of roles in a low pressure and supportive environment. This not only led me to develop a wonderful community of like-minded friends, but it bolstered my musical fascination and offered me great insight into my professional path.
If someone were to ask about Hart House, what memories would you share?
I have many wonderful memories of Hart House—it was my favourite place on campus! It truly is a bustling, community-oriented, cultural hub at the University of Toronto, and there’s something for everyone. Besides eating at Sammy's almost every day, I participated in yoga classes, clothing swaps, charity events, and cooking workshops. I saw great live music countless times, watched plays and comedy shows put on by talented students, and on occasion, got dressed up for a night out there. It’s a beautiful, welcoming and inspiring space—I really miss it!
Any final thoughts on Hart House and your musical journey?
I feel really grateful for the opportunities I had at Hart House and would encourage any student to figure out a way to explore their passions through extracurriculars. It’s a great way to make friends and connections and can help you work towards your goals by strengthening your skillset. It can be daunting trying to bridge the gap between school and work, but getting some experience in your field while you’re still in school can help make the transition smoother. It’s a pretty unique and valuable instance where interest alone can grant you access to the tools you need to get a project off the ground.
APA Represents Haviah Mighty
The agency where Aviva works represents Hip Hop star Haviah Mighty. Join us for Mighty May a month-long focus on the artist including an Instagram Live conversation with Haviah.