University of Calgary

Music masters

March 16, 2009

Music students making global strides

Violinist Burcu Göker, 27, and pianist Eric Jenkins, 23, paired together for what has been an impressive journey guided by their love of music.
Violinist Burcu Göker, 27, and pianist Eric Jenkins, 23, paired together for what has been an impressive journey guided by their love of music.

Two Master of Music students are taking the U of C’s name around the world with them as the duet continues to perform globally after conjoining each other’s musical gifts six years ago.

Meeting at Lawrence University (LU) in Wisconsin, violinist Burcu Göker, 27, originally from Istanbul, Turkey, and pianist Eric Jenkins, 23, from Portage, Wis., paired together for what has been an impressive journey guided by their love of music.

“The piano and violin are probably the perfect marriage of sound,” said Jenkins, who grew up without a strings section in his high school band and began collaborating with Göker about two weeks after meeting her.

At LU they were introduced to the master’s program here at the university by their professor, U of C alumnus and internationally recognized pianist Michael Kim, who is now dean of the Brandon University School of Music. And for the past four years they have travelled extensively to perform at a number of different universities and concert venues in Turkey, France, Canada and the United States.

A number of their opportunities began rolling in after they received a phone call and were invited to perform during a memorial service for the second president of Turkey, which was on live television in December 2005. They have since been invited to perform at the Austrian embassy in Istanbul and many prestigious universities.

“Each time we go to different places we spread the name of the U of C and provide an opportunity for cultural exchange,” said Göker.

In Turkey they said they try to perform a majority of Canadian and American composer’s work, while in Canada and the United States traditional Turkish compositions are a focus. A sort of “cultural diplomacy” through music, said Jenkins.

“One cause that we try to champion is to play a lot of rare, unknown pieces for piano and violin because there are so many composers that have kind of been forgotten or lost over the years,” said Jenkins.

Being in a smaller faculty they said they are able to have a personal relationship with professors and have been granted honourable and humbling opportunities. For instance, Göker has been asked to play with the faculty’s string quartet and Jenkins has been able to be a teacher’s assistant for a music history course.

“They provide experiences that aren’t available at some other institutions. It has helped me so much as a musician and a person,” said Göker.

They both graduate this spring and have applied to a number doctoral programs south of the border. Both have goals to teach and perform music professionally.

They are performing at the Rozsa Centre March 19 at 8:30 p.m., and head to Turkey in May for a five recital tour. Their performances collaborates classical, jazz and folk components written by culturally diverse composers.

For more information www.finearts.ucalgary.ca