Can Bilir is interested in cross-disciplinary projects. He is holding numerous awards in both composition and guitar performance. His works have been performed in the US and Europe by notable ensembles and performers. He is working on music theory and philosophy as well.


  • Exchange Scholar, Composition, Harvard University, 2017+
  • DMA candidate (Doctor of Musical Arts), Composition, Cornell University, 2014+
  • MFA (Master of Fine Arts), Composition, Cornell University, 2017
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2014
  • MM (Master of Music), Composition, Bilkent University, 2014
  • BM (Bachelor of Music) Classical Guitar and Composition, Bilkent University, 2010
  • Studies in Classical Guitar and Composition, Music Preparatory High School, Bilkent University, 2005
  • Studies in Classical Guitar, Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory, 2003

Principle mentors 

  • Composition:

Kevin Ernste, Chaya Czernowin, Roberto Sierra, Steve Stucky, Tolga Yayalar, Gokce Altay, Onur Turkmen, Turgut Pogun, Mert Karabey, and Ulkemin Akbas.

  • Guitar:

Kagan Korad, Kursad Terci, Yakup Kivrak, Ahmet Kanneci, Fatih Yazici, and  Tuna Akbasli.


  • 2017 Spring, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Music 2102 Theory, Materials & Techniques, supervision of Roger Moseley, Cornell University
  • 2016 Fall, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Music 1421 Introduction to Computer Music, supervision of Kevin Ernste, Cornell University
  • 2016 Spring, Assistant Conductor of Cornell Symphony Orchestra,Graduate Teaching Assistant for Music 3621, supervision of guest conductor Kisun Sung and Chris Kim, Cornell University
  • 2015 Fall, Instructor, Music 3103 Musicianship, Cornell University
  • 2015 Fall,Graduate Teaching Assistant, Music 3101 Tonal Theory III by Roger Moseley, Cornell University
  • 2014 Instructor, Harmony Courses, Bilkent University
  • 2012-2013 Graduate Teaching Assistant, Harmony Courses, supervision of Gökçe Altay, Bilkent University
  • 2013-2014 Instructor, MSC 903 Ear Training I for Acting, MSC 904 Ear Training II for Acting: Traditional and Avant-Garde Ear Training, Bilkent University
  • 2013-2014 Composition for non-majors, Bilkent University
  • 2006-2007 Classical Guitar for non-majors, Bilkent University

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

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

Notable Ensemble Commissions

  • Ariana Kim and Aizuri Quartet with Kinan Azmeh
  • Distractfold Ensemble
  • Ensemble Adapter
  • ensemble sTem
  • Rachel Calloway and Xak Bjerken, on a poem of Ishion Hutchinson
  • JACK Quartet
  • Ariana Kim and Periscope for Arts (Amie Weiss and Nicola Barbieri)
  • Continuum Ensemble New York
  • NY New Music Ensemble (June in Buffalo)
  • I Solisti del Vento (MUSMA V)
  • OSSIA New Music Ensemble
  • Cornell Festival Chamber Orchestra
  • Ernest Rombout’s Class (IMPULS)
  • Ensemble X
  • Turkish Radio and Television Corporation Polyphonic Choir (Composer for the Project 40th Years of TRT)

Selected Music Festivals

  • 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


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