6 Things to Do at Studio Bell in Calgary

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
Home of the National Music Centre

6 Things to Do at Studio Bell in Calgary

Get a front row seat to the history of music in Canada at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre

Turn up the volume on the history of music in Canada with Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre in Calgary. Explore five floors of exhibitions, discover a world-renowned musical instrument collection, take in a live concert, visit four Canadian music halls of fame, marvel at the breathtaking architecture, and get a front row seat at the historic King Eddy. Find out why a visit to Studio Bell is a must-do experience in Calgary.


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Five Floors of Exhibitions

Get ready for the sounds, sights, and interactive experiences flowing out of the 22 exhibition spaces across all five levels of Studio Bell. Think of each space like its very own stage. Make sure you include the Kimball Theatre Organ on Level 3’s Sound Affects stage and the Canadian Music Halls of Fame on Level 5 on your next visit. Unleash your inner rock star by jamming out on synth or drum interactive or build your very own instrument with everyday objects on Level 4. Explore the permanent exhibitions and look out for new temporary exhibitions debuting throughout the year.

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Child interacting with exhibits at Studio Bell

Studio Bell has five floors of exhibitions (Photo credit: Jenn Five)

Made in Canada exhibition at Studio Bell

The Made in Canada exhibition at Studio Bell (Photo Credit: Leblond Studio Inc.)

 

World-Renowned Musical Instrument Collection

Home to historic musical instruments, artifacts and artist memorabilia, the National Music Centre is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and researching Canada’s musical heritage. After almost two decades, NMC acts as curator to one of the most impressive music collections in the world, with over 3,000 objects and spanning over 450 years of music technology and innovation. We’re talking about Randy Bachman's 1959 Gibson Les Paul "American Woman” guitar, Neil Peart of Rush’s “Hockey Night in Canada” drum kit, Elton John’s songwriting piano for his first five albums, and the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio, used to record albums by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and the Rolling Stones. You can even go “behind-the-glass” with a musically trained tour guide.

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Behind the Glass Tour at Studio Bell

Behind-the-Glass Tour at Studio Bell (Photo credit: Neil Zeller)

TONTO at Studio Bell

TONTO at Studio Bell (Photo Credit: Brandon Wallis)

 

Live Concerts and Events at Studio Bell

Live music is always on the schedule at Studio Bell. Get a front row seat to a concert in the intimate 300-seat “indoor amphitheatre”, participate in a music therapy session, or check out regular weekend activities for visitors of all ages, including pop-up performances, hands-on activities, and live presentations. NMC hosts a mix of ticketed evening shows and regular daytime events that are included with admission. Check the Studio Bell website at studiobell.ca/whats-on to see what’s coming up.

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A Tribe Called Red at Studio Bell

A Tribe Called Red at Studio Bell (Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino)

Jean-Michel Blais at the Studio Bell Performance Hall

Jean-Michel Blais at the Studio Bell Performance Hall (Photo Credit: Sebastian Buzzalino)

 

Four Canadian Music Halls of Fame

Head to the top level of Studio Bell to explore the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Quebec’s ADISQ Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Featuring musical artifacts, one-of-a-kind memorabilia, and tributes to inductees, these collections pay homage to some of Canada’s most renowned music industry icons—from Shania Twain and Buffy Sainte-Marie to Oscar Peterson and Neil Young.

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Canadian Music Halls of Fame at Studio Bell

Studio Bell is home to four Canadian music halls of fame (Photo credit: Neil Zeller)

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame at Studio Bell

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame at Studio Bell (Photo Credit: Chad Schroter-Gillespie)

 

Breathtaking Architecture

Studio Bell is the first national cultural institution dedicated to celebrating music in Canada. The 160,000-square-foot building, designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, is composed of nine subtly curved interlocking towers clad in glazed terra cotta. With acoustics able to travel from one level to the next, the building even sounds as good as it looks! Take a closer look and you might notice how the building resembles a musical instrument and takes inspiration from Alberta’s landscape.

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Performance Hall at Studio Bell

Performance Hall at Studio Bell (Photo credit: Jeremy Bittermann)

Studio Bell’s stunning exterior

Studio Bell’s stunning exterior (Photo Credit: Jeremy Bittermann)

 

Legendary King Eddy Restaurant, Bar, and Live Music Venue

Considered the largest artifact in the National Music Centre’s collection, no visit to Studio Bell would be complete without a stop at the King Eddy. The historic restaurant, bar, and live music venue Is a cornerstone of community and culture, with a history spanning more than 100 years in Calgary. Formerly known as “Calgary’s Home of the Blues", the King Eddy now programs “all music for all people,” hosting regular live performances and evening shows. Local tip: come early and sample the Eddy’s comfort food menu including buttermilk fried chicken, slow-roasted Alberta beef brisket, and local craft beer.

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Shaela Miller at the King Eddy

Shaela Miller at the King Eddy (Photo credit: Jarrett Edmund)

King Eddy Exterior

King Eddy Exterior (Photo Credit: Sebastian Buzzalino)