Where We've Been
The roots of NMC and its collection can be traced to the installation of a pipe organ (known as the Carthy Organ) in Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall in 1987. This instrument was built in Saint- Hyacinthe, Quebec, by Casavant Frères Ltd, which is Canada’s oldest continuously operating musical instrument company. This installation of this instrument was the genesis of the International Organ Festival and Competition operated by TriumphEnt from 1990 to 2002. It also subsequently inspired the creation of a new organization known as the Chinook Keyboard Centre, which began developing a collection of keyboard instruments in mid-1996.
Chinook Keyboard Centre was soon renamed Cantos Music Museum and expanded the scope of its collection beyond keyboard instruments to include electronic instruments and sound equipment beginning in the year 2000, it also began to offer limited programming in the way of gallery tours and concerts.
In 2003, TriumphEnt and Cantos Music Museum joined forces to become the Cantos Music Foundation, and expanded its presentation of music programs using the collection and gallery spaces. In 2005, an exhibition commemorating 100 years of music in Alberta to mark the Centennial 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.