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Canada is home to one of the largest and most prestigious instrument banks in the world.

Administered through the Canada Council, the MIB (musical instrument bank) includes more than 20 magnificent Italian and French instruments totalling over 35 million dollars.

The MIB collection includes the Baumgartner,Taft, Windsor-Weinstein, and Lyall Stadiarius violins and the Bonjour Stradivari cello as well as  violins by Guarneri Del Gesu, Montagnana, Gagliano, Guadagnini, Scarampella, Vuillaume, Pressenda, Rocca and cellos by Celoniatus and Gagliano.

The MIB started in 1985 through the $100,000.00 legacy of the Barwick family of Ottawa, since then it has grown steadily thanks to donations, loans, and purchases made by donated funds. It is also interesting to note the exponential increase in value of the collection, due to the rarity of these instruments.

It is heart-warming for me to see the generosity of Canadians promoting arts and culture in Canada by making these wonderful gifts.To view and learn about this amazing collection click this link

This collection of rare instruments is not simply a museum installation!

Every three years, top Canadian musicians compete for the chance to borrow one of these legendary instruments.

The final winners were announced last Wednesday.

I am happy to see that Arnie Choi from Calgary, whom I first heard as an adjudicator for the Calgary Kiwanis Festival and later in Quebec City where he won the Stepping Stone in 2008, our own Ariel Barnes principal cello of the Vancouver Opera and active chamber musician and soloist, brothers Timothy and Nikki Chooi of Victoria and Vancouver trained Jonathan Chan are among this years winners.

The definitive list includes:

Sophie Rolland, Iryna Krechkovsky, Arnold Choi, Jing Wang, Nikki Chooi, Jonathan Chan, Emily Westell, Timothy Chooi, Ariel Barnes, Matilda Kaul, Min-Jeong Koh, Emmanuel Vukovich, Veronique Mathieu,Se-Doo Park,Karen Ouzounian, Carissa Klopoushak, Boson Mo, Andrea Tyniec, Kerry DuWors Rachel Desoer, and carreer loans to Dennis brott and Lara St. John.

To see and learn about these musicians click this link

to see and hear interview click this link