Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of music

Document Type




This dissertation explores the work and achievements of the Korean-German composer, Isang Yun, and, specifically sets out to discuss the shared elements of traditional Korean and Eastern music and Western convention in his musical composition. By intentionally manipulating or stretching the definition of western musical forms and conventions, Yun was able to import folk traditions and culture from the East. My dissertation sheds light on some of Yun’s efforts in combining these Eastern and Western elements and thereby works to re-inscribe Yun and his unique importance as a composer of Korean descent onto the Western contemporary canon.

While tracing Yun’s historical and biographical background and influences to establish context and relevance, this dissertation then takes as its primary focus Yun’s Lina Im Garten, which is a suite of five movements, originally written for his granddaughter. In this piece, Yun clearly exemplifies his breaking of convention in Western composition in order to tell stories that are evocative of folk tales and folk songs from Eastern traditions. The dissertation explores these breaks from the convention and points to some of the social, political, and musical implications of Yun’s effort.

The goal of this research is, ultimately, to dissect how Yun’s cross-cultural compositions bridged philosophical gaps between East and West and reveal how considering Yun’s work is crucial in forming the global musician.



Committee Chair

He, Lin