To give Canada a place that amplifies the love, sharing and understanding of music.
To be a national catalyst for discovery, innovation and renewal through music.
Our roots can be traced back to the installation of a pipe organ—known as the Carthy Organ—in Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall in 1987. With the Carthy came the genesis of the International Organ Festival and Competition presented by TriumphEnt, which ran annually in Calgary from 1990 to 2002. The Carthy and the success of the festival subsequently inspired the creation of a new organization, the Chinook Keyboard Centre, which began developing a collection of keyboard instruments in mid-1996.
Calgary International Organ Festival and Competition circa 1994. The Carthy Organ is seen behind the performance stage inside Jack Singer Hall at Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Chinook Keyboard Centre was soon renamed Cantos Music Museum and the scope of its collection expanded beyond keyboard instruments to include electronic instruments and sound equipment. In the year 2000, the museum began hosting concerts and offering gallery tours.
In 2003, TriumphEnt and Cantos Music Museum joined forces as Cantos Music Foundation, expanding programming to the collection and gallery spaces. Then, in 2005, an exhibition commemorating 100 years of music in Alberta planted the seed to expand the organization’s scope to chronicle, celebrate, and foster a broader vision for music in Canada. And so, in February 2012, Cantos became the National Music Centre (NMC).
A new era in NMC’s legacy began in 2013 when construction started on its new building, Studio Bell. The 160,000 square-foot architectural masterpiece in the heart of Calgary’s East Village opened on Canada Day 2016 to the enthusiasm of music-lovers, tourists, teachers, and Calgarians alike.
Today, Studio Bell is home to NMC’s expanded collection, which includes more than 2,000 rare instruments and artifacts, as well as four Canadian Music Halls of Fame. With interactive educational programming, live performances, engaging exhibitions, and in-house artist incubation, NMC’s new home is so much more than a museum. It is a hub for music, innovation, and cultural discovery in Canada.
We will preserve Canadian culture and identity by sustaining our musical heritage. Our exhibitions exist to share the sounds, stories, instruments, and artifacts of our past and present in an innovative and engaging format accessible to all.
We will foster emerging and established musical talent. Our artist development programs will offer artists time and space to create, experiment, innovate, and record in our world class recording environment. Artists will also have access to our living collection of historic instruments, legendary recording equipment, and expertise.
We will elevate the live performance experience for diverse audiences large and small. Our performance venues, including the Performance Hall and historic King Eddy — host local, national, and international artists from across the musical spectrum.
We will foster curiosity, discovery, and learning through music. Our education programs offer a diverse range of inclusive and collaborative learning opportunities for music lovers of all ages and backgrounds. From our school programs designed for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 to our Master in Residence program, we bring the stories of Canadian music to life.
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre is located on the traditional lands of the peoples of the Treaty 7 region, including the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (including the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations). The area is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
NMC acknowledges and pays respect to the original custodians of these territories and is committed to working with Indigenous communities in Calgary and area in a spirit of collaboration and reconciliation.