Can Bilir is a composer and classical guitar player. He is interested in cross-modal perception, music theory, and philosophy of mind. His works have been performed in the US and Europe by leading ensembles and performers.



  • DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts), Composition, Cornell University, conferral date May 2019
  • MFA (Master of Fine Arts), Composition, Cornell University 2017, and Fulbright Scholar 2014- 2016
  • MM (Master of Music), Composition, Bilkent University 2014
  • BM (Bachelor of Music) Classical Guitar and Composition, Bilkent University 2010
  • Exchange Scholar, Composition, Harvard University 2017-2018


Principle mentors 


Kevin Ernste, Chaya Czernowin, Roberto Sierra, Steve Stucky, Tolga Yayalar, Gokce Altay, Onur Turkmen, Turgut Pogun.


Kagan Korad and Kursad Terci.


Notable Commissions and Ensembles Worked With

  • Cornell Symphony Orchestra with conductor Adrian Slywotzky
  • Ensemble IPSE
  • Momenta Quartet
  • Cornell Gamelan Ensemble
  • 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
  • New York New Music Ensemble
  • I Solisti del Vento (MUSMA V)
  • OSSIA New Music Ensemble
  • Omnibus Ensemble
  • Cornell Festival Chamber Orchestra
  • Ernest Rombout’s Class (IMPULS)
  • Ensemble X with conductor Chris Kim
  • 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



  • 2019 Spring,  Graduate Teaching Assistant, 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.

  • 2018 Fall, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Music 2101 Theory, Materials & Techniques I, with Roger Moseley, Cornell University: topics in Species Counterpoint, Galant Style, and Schema Theory, 18th century music repertoire from Galant Style, in addition earlier and contemporary music repertoire examples.
  • 2017 Spring, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Music 2102 Theory, Materials & Techniques II, with Roger Moseley, Cornell University: Neo-Riemannian Theory and Transformations in 18 & 19 Century Music, repertoire from Schubert to Debussy, in addition 20th century and contemporary music examples.
  • 2016 Fall, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Music 1421 Introduction to Computer Music, with Kevin Ernste, Cornell University: topics in signal processing and synthesis, area recording, editing, and mixing; projects with Pure Data, Max Msp, Ableton Live, Reason, Arduino coding. 
  • 2016 Spring, Assistant Conductor of Cornell Symphony Orchestra, Graduate Teaching Assistant for Music 3621, with 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 with Roger Moseley, Cornell University
  • 2014 Spring, Instructor, Harmony Courses, Bilkent University
  • 2012-2013 and 2013 Fall, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Harmony Courses, with 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


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