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Portrait of an Artist: Christopher Eur ’15

Christopher Eur ’15 won the Freshman Talent Show with a combination performance of vocal percussion and piano

Allie Stote

Christopher Eur '15 wins the Freshman Talent Show for his beatboxing and piano playing abilities.

The winner of Harvard’s 2011 Freshman Talent Show last Tuesday was Christopher Eur ’15 from Sacramento, Calif. For his act, he beatboxed—which he learned by watching YouTube videos—while he performed an improvised jazz piece on the piano. “You can do most of the sounds without your hands,” Eur said, “except for some scratching sounds.” His 14 freshmen competitors showcased a diverse range of talents, from Chinese sword dancing to a piano and saxophone duet.

Eur decided to audition for the talent show after spending time with a few Freshman Arts Program (FAP) participants during his first weeks on campus. Though he enjoys the adrenaline rush of performing, Eur said that he auditioned mostly with an eye to entertain: “It was the last evening before our classes started, and I just thought it would be nice to let everyone enjoy and have a chill night.”

Though Eur hopes to use his beatboxing abilities in one of Harvard’s a cappella groups, he is looking forward to a fresh start in a myriad of other areas. He explains that he has had a fair amount of “fresh starts” in the course of his life—moving to South Korea when he was very young and then to Sacramento when he was 13 with his mother. He counts these transitions as some of his best experiences: “They teach you the things that are important and the sort of people you hold on to,” he said. He attributes that these transitions inspired him to keep trying new things—one of which is his beatboxing-piano performance. This time around, Eur said that he hopes to learn to dance. He prefers hip-hop but may also learn Indian folk dance, known as bhangra, which his roommate enjoys.

Academically, Eur is interested in the philosophy of the mind-body problem, the “order from chaos” involved in drawing consciousness from neural networks, and the study of mathematics. He is particularly inspired by Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology Steven Pinker’s books “The Blank Slate” and “How the Mind Works,” and hopes to take a class with Pinker this spring. He would like to combine math, psychology, and his pre-med curriculum—for he said that while he appreciates the abstraction of math and philosophy, he would like to be able to do something that helps people more directly. While the potential of Eur’s beatboxing abilities remains to be seen, he is enthusiastic about joining Harvard’s dance and a cappella groups. In the meantime, he is keeping busy meeting the Class of 2015, enjoying long conversations with his roommate, and preparing for his fall semester classes—his favorites are his freshman seminar and Mathematics 55a: “Honors Abstract Algebra.”

—Staff writer Aisha K. Down can be reached at aishadown@college.harvard.edu.

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