Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Steven Cohen


Born in Korea, Isang Yun (1917--1995) became one of the most prominent avant-garde composers in the world with a distinctive musical language that synthesized Far Eastern Asian philosophy, especially Chinese Taoism, with Western techniques and Korean traditional instrumental idioms. Isang Yun left about 150 works, including five works for clarinet. Among them, this essay will discuss Yun's two Quintets for Clarinet and String Quartet: Quintet I for Clarinet and String Quartet (1984) and Quintet II for Clarinet and Sting Quartet (1994). These works are representative of Yun's chamber music for clarinet. This monograph will be organized as follows: Chapter I reviews Yun's life and career. Chapter II discusses the evolution of his compositional language, influences on Yun's music: the meeting of East and West, Yun's compositional characteristics, Korean traditional music and instruments, and problems of performance unique to his music. Chapter III is an analysis and comparison of Quintet I and Quintet II. Conclusion presents Yun's music and aesthetic. This monograph will present not only an analysis of the two clarinet quintets but also an examination of how Yun's study of Korean traditional instrumental techniques, Western avant-garde procedures, and his oriental philosophy and ideology are reflected in these works. Especially, the fusion of Nong-Hyun technique of Korean traditional instrumental technique, Chinese Taoism philosophy, and the "main tones" Yun refers to as Haupttone, is exemplified in the two Quintets for Clarinet and String Quartet. Quintet I is a single movement work of about 12 minutes and Quintet II is also a single movement of about 22 minutes.