Carmelle Bégin studied ethnomusicology in Paris and earned her Ph.D. at the music faculty of the Université de Montréal in 1979.
Carmelle Bégin with the sultan of Damagaram
As the Curator of the Ethnomusicology Programme at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Carmelle Bégin plays a major role in research on traditional Canadian instrumental music. Thanks to her work and her collecting of sound recordings, she has made the Museum's collection one of the largest in this field in Canada. Several of the musicians she has recorded during her collection work are presented in the Archives compact disc series, one of her initiatives to enhance the sound archives of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
In 1989, Dr. Bégin began research on instrument making in Canada which led to a major exhibition, Opus: The Making of Musical Instruments in Canada, presented at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from 1992 to 1994. A book by the same title accompanied the exhibition.
Since 1994, Carmelle Bégin has been Head Curator of the Cultural Studies Division. In June 2000, she was appointed associate professor at the faculty of music of the Université de Montréal.