A Korean Composer of the 20th Century was Standing Tall on Top of
Global Music with Unique Musical Language.
Yun, Isang was born in 1917 in Tongyeong under the colonial administration of imperial Japan,
and ended his life after his exile to Berlin, Germany at the age of 78.
The life and arts are unseparable for Yun. He believed that an artist could not exist after leaving the society and only true works from innocent and righteous conscience could touch the hearts of people.
For 39 years of life in Korea, he not only had experienced the Japanese Colonial Era, independence from Japanese Empire, separation, and the Korean War, but also studied the Western music even though the environment of Western music studies in Korea was very poor in the early 20th century. To conclude, it was a driving force to lead him to be a composer of folk musics(Korean musics) interacting with times and the world. In 1956, Yun moved to Europe to study the modern European methods of composing, and spent 39 years until the end of his life. He had continuously found and discovered the creative possibilities in Korean traditions, his foundation, and created creative musics based on his endless energy.
He had compose over 100 musics for various genres based on East Asian ideas and cultural traditions, and Korean traditional music world. He also used the most advanced composing technique and created his own style with new and unique musical languages. The Hauptton technique and the Hauptklang technique were developed by Yun to express Asian tunes and beauty with the Western musical instruments and systems. His musical languages were born in the creative conflicts from the interactional relationship between two different cultures, and supporting a new unity beyond the conflicts, so has been considered ‘an intermediary of Eastern and Western musics’ in the modern music history.
The European critics selected him as one of ‘56 most important composers in 20th century,’ and ‘5 existing composer in Europe.’ In 1995, he was also selected as on of ‘30 most important composers for 100 years in 10th century’ by the Saarbrücken Broadcasting.
He created over 150 works; there are 4 operas, <The Dream of Liu Tung>, <Butterfly Widow>, <Love of Spirits>, and <Sim Chung>, 20 orchestral works including <Bara>, <Muak>, <Yeoak>, and <Forever, Gwangju>, 40 chamber musics including <the Short Story of East and West>, cantatas including <My Land, My People!>, and children’s songs.