As a composer, guitarist, and scholar, Can Bilir’s music is multifaceted. In his interdisciplinary works, he focuses on contemporary soundscapes, audio production and design, and music in the Anthropocene, as well as qualia and affect as embodied through complex pitch perceptions and timbre. His works have been performed in myriad geographies including the US, Europe, West Asia, and Southeast Asia. He has been commissioned for Grammy winning and nominated musicians such as the Aizuri Quartet with Kinan Azmeh for the MET in New York (2018), Ariana Kim for the CCA Biennial in Italy and NY (2016 – 2017), and JACK Quartet (2016). He also participated in European music festivals as a MusMa composer with I Solisti del Vento (2014 – 2016); commissioned for Xak Bjerken and Rachel Calloway with critically acclaimed poet Ishion Hutchinson, and created for numerous other projects.

Dr. Bilir completed his DMA at Cornell University in 2019, where he worked as a lecturer, the assistant conductor of the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, a graduate teaching assistant for the theory track, and the assistant of the Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center. He has additionally earned an MFA from Cornell University and an MM in composition from Bilkent University. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for his graduate studies in the US. His work was further shaped through his experiences at Harvard University (2017 – 2018), with the IRCAM/Eastman School of Music new music theory program in Paris (2017), and his self–conducted research in France and Germany (2017). His principle mentors have been Kevin Ernste, Roberto Sierra, Chaya Czernowin, Steve Stucky, Roger Moseley, Derk Pereboom, Tolga Yayalar, Turgut Pogun, Kagan Korad and Kursad Terci. Dr. Bilir additionally holds a BM in guitar from Bilkent University. He performs with electric and nylon string guitars, self-built instruments, and readymade objects, and is interested in experimental music, rock, and partimenti.



DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts),  Cornell University, (2019) 

Composition concentration & Musicology concentration
Dissertation: Bilir, Canbekir. “The Composer’s Mind Through the Looking Glass: An Analysis of Pitch-centricity in Zaide/Adama” ProQuest Order No. 13881788, Cornell University, 2019.

MFA (Master of Fine Arts), Cornell University (2017) Fulbright Scholar (2014- 2016)
MM (Master of Music), Bilkent University (2014) Composition
BM (Bachelor of Music), Bilkent University (2010) Classical Guitar
Exchange Scholar, Harvard University (2017-2018) Composition

Notable Commissions and Ensembles Worked With
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art Aizuri Quartet with Kinan Azmeh, New York NY
  • JACK Quartet, Cornell University, NY
  • Ariana Kim and Periscope for Arts (Amie Weiss and Nicola Barbieri), CCA Biennial in Brescia Italy and Ithaca NY
  • Rachel Calloway and Xak Bjerken, with poet Ishion Hutchinson, Cornell University, NY
  • Momenta Quartet & Cornell Gamelan Ensemble, Cornell
  • Distractfold Ensemble, Harvard University, MA
  • Ensemble Adapter, Harvard University, MA
  • Grey Matter, Mahidol University, Thailand
  • Taceti, Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Thailand
  • Cornell Symphony Orchestra with conductor Adrian Slywotzky, Cornell University
  • Ensemble IPSE for Arete Gallery, Brooklyn NY
  • Ensemble sTem, Cornell University, NY
  • Continuum Ensemble New York
  • New York New Music Ensemble, University at Buffalo, NY
  • I Solisti del Vento, MUSMA V, Belgium
  • OSSIA New Music Ensemble
  • Omnibus Ensemble
  • Cornell Festival Chamber Orchestra, Cornell, NY
  • Ernest Rombout and his Oboe Class, IMPULS, Graz Austria
  • Ensemble X with conductor Chris Kim, Cornell University, NY
  • Turkish Radio and Television Corporation Polyphonic Choir (Composer for the Project 40th Years of TRT)
  • Motion Picture, title sequence for original historical documentary tv program “Vizyoner” at ATA TV
Selected Music Festivals
  • 2019 15th Thailand International Composition Festival
  • 2019 TNMAS- Thailand Music and Arts Organization
  • 2016 Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial: le Storie di Vita nel Legno The Stories of life on WoodManerbio Italy; biennial theme empathty and international immigration crisis, composer and performer
  • 2015 Festival de Wallonie, Brussels, composer
  • 2015 Klasik Keyifler, Turkey, composer
  • 2015 Turkey Guitar Convention (Turkey Guitar Meeting), composer, conductor and electronics
  • 2015 June in Buffalo, composer
  • 2015 IMPULS, composer
  • 2015 Klarafestival, Brussels, composer
  • 2015 Ankara Music Festival, Ankara, Turkey, composer
  • 2013 Turkey Guitar Convention (Turkey Guitar Meeting), composer
  • 2013 Composers’s Voice Concert Series New York,NY, composer
  • 2012 Turkey Guitar Convention (Turkey Guitar Meeting), composer and guitarist
  • 2013 Iron Composer, Cleveland, OH, composer
  • 2010 Young Composers Workshop, Riga-Mascalasa, Latvia, composer

Fall 2019 & Spring 2020, Lecturer, Bilkent University

  • MSC 214 Advanced Orchestration II: Scoring for Stage, Film, and Games
  • MSC 114 Fundamentals of Orchestration: Mozart’s Orchestral Technique in 1778–1781
  • Composition: Individual Music Studies II
  • MSC 213 Advanced Orchestration
  • MSC 113 Techniques of Notation and Instrumentation
  • Composition–Individual Music Studies

Fall 2015 Fall, Instructor, Cornell University

  • Music 3103 Musicianship

2013-2014 Instructor, Bilkent University

  • Spring 2014, Harmony Courses
  • Spring 2014, MSC 904 Ear Training II, Traditional and Experimental Music Studies for Acting field
  • Fall 2013–Spring 2014 Spring, Composition–Individual Music Studies

Spring 2016, Assistant Conductor–Cornell Symphony Orchestra, Cornell University; Graduate Teaching Assistant for Music 3621, with conductor Kisun Sung and Chris Kim, Cornell University

2015– 2019 Spring,  Graduate Teaching Assistant, Cornell University

  • Spring 2019, Music 3621 Cornell Symphony Orchestra with conductor Adrian Slywotzky, Cornell University: Brahms Symphony No.3, Stravinsky Firebird Suite (1919), Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, and Liszt Piano Concerto No.1
  • Fall 2018, Music 2101 Theory, Materials & Techniques I, with Roger Moseley: topics in Species Counterpoint, Galant Schemata;18th century music analysis and composition in Galant Style.
  • Spring 2017, Music 2102 Theory, Materials & Techniques II, with Roger Moseley: Neo-Riemannian Theory and Transformations in 18 & 19 Century Music, repertoire from Schubert to Debussy, in addition 20th century and contemporary music examples.
  • Fall 2016, Music 1421 Introduction to Computer Music, with Kevin Ernste: topics in signal processing and synthesis, area recording, editing, and mixing; projects with PureData, MaxMSP, Ableton Live, Reason, Arduino coding. 
  • Fall 2015, Music 3101 Tonal Theory III with Roger Moseley: Neo-Riemannian Theory and Transformations

2012-2013, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Bilkent University

  • Fall 2012– Fall 2013, Harmony Courses, with Gökçe Altay

Fall 2004–Spring 2006 Instructor, Bilkent University

  • Classical Guitar for non-majors
Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants
  • 2017 Mario Einaudi Center Research Travel Grant, Cornell University
  • 2017 Graduate School Research Travel Grant, Cornell University
  • 2017 Sage Fellowship, Cornell University
  • 2014-2015 Sage Fellowship, Cornell University
  • 2014-2016 Fulbright Foreign Students Scholarship
  • 2012-2014 Merit- Based Scholarship for Bilkent Composition Department
  • 2005-2010 Talent- Based Scholarship for Bilkent Guitar Department
  • 2002-2005 Talent- Based Scholarship for Bilkent Music Prep Highschool
2014 Peer-Reviewed Paper:

MC rhetoric in Beethoven symphonies: Their deviations from the norm. Journal, Porte Akademik: Müzik ve dans araştırmaları dergisi, Fall 2014,Volume 10,pg. 74-87. SSN:2146-2453, Accession Number:2014-71682. RILM secondary Journal, see RILM abstracts of music literature

2013 Recording:

Ivan the Terrible for solo guitar performed by Kazim Cokogullu, CAGSAV, barcode 8680202661074

2012 Score:

Ivan the Terrible, Yildiz Technical University Gorsel YayinlarNo:3 Polifonik Seri No:2, Istanbul. YTU Kutuphane ve Dokumantasyon Merkezi Sayi: YTU. ST-0855, ISBN 978-975-461-486-2

Selected Awards
  • 2015-2016 Otto R. Stahl Memorial Award, Cornell University
  • 2014 Tuscaloosa New Music Collective Call for Scores Grand prize
  • 2013 Iron Composer Instant Composition Competition 2nd prize
  • 2012 Counterpoint- Italy Composition Competition Winner
  • 2012 MUSMA 5 European Broad Casting Festival Composer
  • 2012 Mersin International Music Festival Composition Competition 3rd Prize
  • 2009 Yildiz Technical University 2nd Composition Competition 3rd Prize
  • 2005 Yildiz Technical University 3rd Guitar Performance Competition 3rd Prize