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NMC Artist in Residence

National Music Centre’s self-directed Artist in Residence program is designed to nurture artistry and innovation by providing musicians with the tools, time and space, and the use of our one-of-a-kind collection and expertise to create new works in a world-class facility.

The National Music Centre (NMC) has welcomed many exceptional artists to play, experiment, and record with its collection. Past alums of NMC’s artist residency program include singer-songwriter Shawnee Kish, indie alt-pop musician Rich Aucoin, R&B/hip-hop artist Jhyve, lo-fi soul duo Sargeant X Comrade, flutist and composer Jiajia Li, pop-rockers MAJOR LOVE, R&B/soul singer Tanika Charles, psych-rock trio nêhiyawak, classically-trained vocalist and composer Jeremy Dutcher, DJ-producer duo A Tribe Called Red, neo-classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais, guitar slinger Luke Doucet, singer-songwriter Basia Bulat, virtuosic scratch DJ and music producer Kid Koala, and many others.

Violins of Hope Artist in Residence

The National Music Centre, in partnership with the Calgary Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation of Calgary, will host the Violins of Hope exhibition at Studio Bell from May 3 to June 16, 2024.

Violins of Hope is a poignant collection of string instruments dating from before and during the Holocaust. These meticulously restored instruments once belonged to victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Today these instruments stand as enduring symbols, serving to educate and memorialize those affected by one of history’s darkest chapters through concerts, exhibitions, and other commemorative projects.

Originating from Tel-Aviv, Israel, the collection is owned and curated by violin maker Avshi Weinstein and his late father, Amnon. The instruments were donated or purchased from survivors and descendants or recovered from remnants of ghettos and concentration camps. Each instrument stands as a monument to survivors and victims and serves as a reminder of the hope that music can bring even in the darkest moments.

Learn More About Violins of Hope

One artist/artist group, selected by an internal jury of NMC staff and professionals, will be awarded a rare opportunity to record with portions of the Violins of Hope instrument collection in Calgary, Alberta. The recording residency will take place in June 2024 over five days at Studio Bell. NMC’s Artist in Residence program is designed to feed and nurture artistic creativity and technical innovation by providing artists with uninterrupted time and space, and the use of our unique collection and expertise, to create new and innovative works in a supportive, world-class facility.

Applications Now Closed

Applications for Artist in Residence are currently closed.

Download Program Information PDF

If you have any questions regarding the application, please email

  • Selection Criteria

    Artists will be selected based on the following criteria:

    • Those artists' proposal that best utilizes the Violins of Hope instrument(s) in their recording project; please note your recording proposal must include Violins of Hope instrument(s). See the "List of Violins available for Residency" section below.
    • Those who have demonstrated artistic excellence and a commitment to music
    • Those projects with artistic merit that show promise and originality
    • Those who propose creative use of the NMC collection, equipment, and resources
    • Those who help fulfill the NMC mandate to serve all levels of artistic development and diversity regarding gender, ethnicity, age, region, and musical genre
    • Potential impact of the project on the artist’s career
    • Community outreach potential
  • Admissions

    An internal jury of NMC staff and professionals will convene to review applicant submissions and select successful participant.

  • Residency Period

    The residency will be five consecutive days at 8 hours per day (total 40 hours of recording session). The standard residency is between Mondays and Friday. Residencies typically take place during the day; however, some hours may need to be negotiated around artist needs, resources, and other NMC programming. The awarded residency must be completed within one of the following windows: June 3-7, 2024 or June 17-21, 2024.

  • Facilities

    Artists in Residence are provided with:

    • A period of focused time to concentrate on personal artistic development and work towards their proposed project.
    • An opportunity to use, sample and record Violins of Hope instrument(s). Please note: use of Violins of Hope instrument(s) is mandatory for this residency. See the "List of Violins available for Residency" section below.
    • An opportunity to use, sample and record unique instruments from NMC's Living Collection.
    • Access to spaces for community outreach and engagement possibilities.
    • Access to NMC’s specialized collections staff and their expertise.
  • List of Violins Available for Residency

    JHV 61

    This violin belonged to Dr. Leon Schatzberg-Sawicki. He was born in Colomja, which was then a part of Poland, and has since became part of Ukraine. Dr. Sawicki's career began with his education at the Levov Conservatory, where he graduated in 1938, followed by his medical studies at Levov University, culminating in his marriage to Ella Schrenzel before graduating in May 1941. Amid the tumultuous years of Nazi occupation, he adopted the name Sawicki and utilized false identity papers to evade persecution. Throughout this period, he found solace and expression through music, performing with his violin in various settings across Poland, including street corners, restaurants, and impromptu bands, while his wife Ella dedicated herself to tutoring Polish children.

    Their resourcefulness sustained them until their liberation by Soviet forces in July 1944. Subsequently, Dr. Sawicki and his wife embarked on a new chapter of their lives, ultimately settling in the United States. He immigrated to the New York after Dr. Albert Sabin, renowned for his work developing the polio vaccine, extended a personal invitation. Dr. Sawicki passed away in 2008.

    JHV 21

    This exquisite German-made violin is believed the have belonged to a prosperous Klezmer, given its superior quality and distinctive embellishments. Adorning its back is a stunning mother-of-pearl hexagram inlay, with additional inlays embellishing the edges of the back and front. In an era where musical instruments were often handcrafted with painstaking attention to detail, this violin would have undoubtedly commanded a higher price than its counterparts, reflecting the affluence and discerning taste of its owner.

    Estimating its age at approximately 120 years old, , this violin serves as a tangible link to the rich tapestry of Klezmer music and Jewish cultural heritage. Its weathered surface speaks to the instrument's history, carrying with it the echoes of old melodies and the spirit of those who once brought its strings to life.

    JHV 73

    During the Second World War, a US Army Captain was imprisoned in a POW camp in Germany. Before returning home after his release, he rescued this violin, which is thought to have been confiscated from a Jewish musician.

    Despite being in pieces, and being charred from an obvious fire, a beautiful reddish hue was still visible through the damage. After returning to the United States, he attended the “Stage Door Canteen,” a special event for US troops where he first encountered Irene Haspiel. Haspiel worked as an Executive Secretary for a general at the Pentagon in Washington DC during the Second World War, and performed with the Government Girls Orchestra. Her obvious passion for the violin had attracted the Army Captain’s attention and he decided that she would be the perfect person to care for the charred violin. He later appeared in Haspiel’s office and offered her the violin, which she cherished and kept it safe for the rest of her life. After her death, the violin was donated by her family to the Violins of Hope and carefully restored in memory of the violin’s unnamed original owner, and Irene Levy Haspiel.

    Irene Haspiel playing in the "Government Girl Orchestra." In the second picture, she is the 3rd violinist from the right.

    JHV 77

    Roger Lanier, exemplified extraordinary courage and moral integrity during the harrowing period of Nazi occupation in France. Serving in the Vichy police, he defied the prevailing hostility towards Jews by aiding and sheltering them, despite the inherent risks to his own life. Alongside his acts of heroism as a protector of persecuted Jews, Lanier was also a gifted violinist. In a display of solidarity and compassion, he spent countless hours playing the violin for Jewish families seeking refuge in his home, offering them moments of solace and respite. In 1994, Lanier was honoured by Yad Vashem as a "Righteous Among the Nations," a title reserved for those who took great risks to save the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. His legacy stands as a testament to the profound impact that individual acts of kindness and defiance can have on preserving human dignity and challenging the darkness of oppression.

    JHV 74

    Alfred and Berta Bernheim were married in Passau in the south of Germany in 1903. Together, they built a successful business which grew from a small shop to a four-story general store modeled after the largest shops in Paris. As their business continued to thrive, they eventually boasted the first elevator and telephone in town.

    At the age of 60, they passed the business on to their sons, Ziegbert and Felix. The two boys and their daughter Helena had grown up in a life of luxury, and Helena had married and moved away. When Nazi influence began to rise in the late 1920s, Passau became an early Nazi stronghold, and admiration of the Bernheim’s success quickly turned to ire and hostility. They were forced to relinquish their shop and marched naked along the main street, enduring public humiliation. Felix was imprisoned for six weeks before escaping Germany. In 1937, Ziegbert fled to the British Mandate of Palestine, where he bought land north of Herzelia. Alfred and Berta escaped to France, where they were captured and sent to a concentration camp. Through Helena's efforts, they were able to escape the camp and survive the war, eventually to be reunited with Ziegbert. Both Alfred and Berta died in 1953.

    This violin belonged to Ziegbert, who played it lovingly throughout his life. It was donated to the Violins of Hope by his sons, Uri and Amos Barnea.

  • Community Outreach

    All artists participating in the Artist in Residence program will participate in some form of community outreach (i.e. performance, workshop, talk, mentorship, collaborative projects, or presenting works in progress). Details of the public-facing component will be developed before and during the residency in consultation with the NMC’s programming team.

  • Photo/Video/Media

    All artists participating in the Artist in Residence program are asked to provide a short video testimonial of their time spent in residence at NMC and to allow for photo and video documentation of their residency. This is to be used for promotional and archival purposes as a testimony for future residencies and as a way of documenting the long-term care and maintenance of the collection. NMC is to receive appropriate credit on all recordings worked on or completed while in residence. NMC will also work to amplify each artist’s residency via media interviews, which will be handled on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the artist.

  • Travel, Housing, and Meals

    Transportation to Calgary and accommodation at NMC’s hotel of choice will be covered by the bursary and will be advanced in consultation with the artist and subject to program budgets. Transportation may be handled in the form of a stipend. Meals are the responsibility of the artist.

  • Instruments/Equipment

    Artists are required to clearly specify in their proposal on how they will utilize the Violins of Hope instrument(s). In addition, artists are required to clarify all other equipment and instrument needs at the time of application. Where possible, NMC staff will make best efforts to provide access to instruments and equipment that are not specified in advance but are discovered while the artist is in residence. Please download and review the Instrument/Equipment List (available at and indicate which instruments/equipment are requested to fulfill your project needs. Please focus your selections to your top 10 and rate them in order of importance, indicating the rationale behind your choices where possible.

    Artists are also asked to bring any additional equipment, resources, devices and/or software not provided by NMC that may be essential to their residency and specify these items at the time of application.

  • Recording and Technical Assistance

    There are three recording consoles that artists can use at NMC: the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio (RSM), created by the famous rock band and recorded on by a long list of music heavyweights; the Olympic Studios console from the 1970s that was used by an assortment of acts that visited the famed London studio, such as David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix; and the Trident A-Range console, which is internationally recognized as one of the rarest and most-prized recording consoles.

    NMC Recording Studios special features:

    • 3 main control rooms (production environments)
    • 3 large studios (recording environments)
    • 3 isolation sound booths
    • 3 recording consoles: Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, Olympic and Trident A-Range
    • Acoustic sound lab (exploration into NMC’s vast acoustic musical instrument collections)
    • Electronic sound lab (exploration into NMC’s vast electronic musical instrument collections)
    • Ability to switch between analog and digital technologies to create an unprecedented, unique and flexible recording experience

    A recording engineer is provided as a part of the residency and is present throughout the residency to assist and provide expertise with the recording process. Artists are welcome to invite an engineer or producer at artist’s cost to support them in their residency. Please include this aspect in the project proposal.

  • Access to Recording Outside of Residency

    Should an artist wish to continue recording after their allotted time, they may access the studios via our commercial bookings/rates. Full rates are available at