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KIM Joo Won / 김주원*

The development of contemporary Korean music with emphasis on works of Isang Yun

Edition: D.M.A. Dissertation, The Ohio State University, 100p.

Date: 2011

Region: KOREA (South)


Type of media: Grey

Language: English

Editor: M.B.


Although Korean contemporary concert music today occupies an important place in the international music scene, its development is largely a twentieth-century phenomenon, played out against a backdrop of turbulent political unrest: from the Japanese occupation (1910-1945) through the Korean War (1950-1953), and unsettled relations with North Korea.

The major developments in internationally-recognized Korean composer Isang Yun's (1917-1995) career closely mirror those in Korean contemporary composition, and Yun is today venerated as the father of Korean contemporary concert music--making a discussion of Yun's music inescapable for the subject of this document.

Although he was well versed in European avant-garde techniques through his studies there in the 1950's and early 60's, Yun worked, however, to blend these Western methodologies with those of Korean traditional music to achieve a unique expressive personal style. This amalgam of Eastern- and Western expression is exemplified in two of his works, Loyang , and Reak , which are discussed as representatives of this hybrid style. The document concludes with observations on the state of Korean composition after Yun, and some thoughts on the future influence of East-Asian music.

It is hoped that this document will give the reader a background in and appreciation for the aesthetic goals and achievements of Korean contemporary music--namely, how Korean composers have utilized Western music materials and combined them with Korean sensibilities, and what they hope to accomplish culturally and artistically.