Can's Story

Can Olgun is an internationally performing pianist, composer, educator, and researcher. Originally from Berlin/Germany, Olgun moved to New York in 2008 to pursue a master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music after being awarded a scholarship by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He has appeared at landmark venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Blue Note, A-Trane Berlin, Jazz Club Unterfahrt Munich, Winter Jazz Fest, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. While maintaining a busy schedule as a sideman, he also tours frequently throughout Europe and the U.S. Olgun can be heard on numerous albums alongside artists such as Mark Turner, Michael Mayo, Thomas Morgan, Nate Smith, and Ben Wendel. His most recent project, ‘Bear and Grin,’ expected to be released in 2024, showcases eight of Olgun’s original compositions and features Grammy-nominated singer Becca Stevens. Olgun serves as the musical director for the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church’s contemporary Chapel Church service and was the musical director for the late actress/singer Suzzanne Douglas. He was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Martial Solal Piano competition in Paris and the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in Washington, D.C. 

In 2019, Olgun joined the full-time faculty at CUNY BMCC, where he teaches classes in performance, piano, and theory, as well as focusing on the development of a new degree specialization in jazz and popular music. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the Victoria University of Wellington/New Zealand School of Music, where he conducts research at the intersections of contemporary gospel keyboard playing, artistic research, and jazz piano improvisation. His research findings will entail a portfolio of creative work expected to be released in 2024. Since 2022, Olgun has been serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the German Academic Exchange Service.