Bringing a Composition to Life

Duke composition student Dayton Kinney, far left, listens as members of the Mivos Quartet, a professional contemporary string ensemble, performs her work. Video Credit Eric Ferreri.

It took Eren Gumrukcuoglu roughly two months to write “Bozkir,” a contemporary music composition for a string quartet.

It took him just nine minutes one autumn day in Duke’s Nelson Music Room to discover he had a few things wrong with it.

It was in those nine minutes that Gumrukcuoglu, a third-year PhD student in music at Duke, first heard his composition out loud. And it was performed by professionals.

In town for a concert through Duke Performances, members of the Mivos String Quartet spent an afternoon bringing Gumrukcuoglu’s composition to life. They played it all the way through, stopping here and there to offer advice and critique and bounce around ideas to make it better.

“You cannot hear this new music on a computer,” Gumrukcuoglu, who grew up in Turkey, would say later. “The best part of this is the feedback. I got to hear all my ideas, what worked, what didn’t. I know now I have to slow it down. I wrote it too fast and made them rush.”

Read more about the many ways Duke students interact with professional artists here.