Multicultural influences in the music of Isang Yun as represented in his Concerto for flute and small orchestra

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The Korean-German composer Isang Yun (1917-1995) is among the few musicians to have successfully integrated Eastern traditional music into Western art music in the twentieth century. Indeed, this integration is the essence of his work, and he regarded himself as a mediator of Eastern and Western music. This document focuses on the means by which Yun transferred traditional Korean structures, philosophies, themes, and instrumental techniques to modern Western compositions, with particular emphasis on his Concerto for Flute and Small Orchestra Since Isang Yun is not well known outside of Europe and Asia, I will provide a brief biography of his life and works, followed by an introduction to Korean traditional music and instruments. The Tai-keum, the Korean traditional transverse wooden flute, was an inspiration for Yun’s Concerto for Flute and Small Orchestra and will be described in detail. The third chapter will examine Yun’s compositional techniques: his incorporation of elements of the Asian philosophy of Taoism, his development and use of the Hauppton technique, and his transference of traditional Korean instrumental techniques to Western instruments. The final chapter examines Yun’s Concerto for Flute and Small Orchestra (1977) and the specific ways in which it relates to traditional Korean court music.

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