Can Bilir (DMA) is a composer, musicologist, and performer. His music elaborates on subjects of identity, material agency, and affect. His research interests include but are not limited to music theory, cross-modal perception, and philosophy of mind. His works have been performed in the US, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Western Asia by leading ensembles and performers.



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

Principle mentors 

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

Classical Guitar: Kagan Korad and Kursad Terci.

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)
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, Lecturer, Bilkent University

  • MSC213 Advance Orchestration
  • MSC113 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