"If you were music, I would listen to you ceaselessly, and my low spirits would brighten up." - Anna Akhmatova

Isang Yun

Yun, Isang, important Korean composer;  b. Tong Young, Sept. 17, 1917.  He studied Western music in Korea (1935-37) and in Japan (1941-43).  After the end of the war, he taught music in South Korean schools;  in 1956 went to Berlin, where he took lessons in composition with Boris Blacher and Josef Rufer at the Berlin Musikhochschule.  He settled permanently in Berlin, where he produced several successful theatrical works, marked by a fine expressionistic and coloristic quality, and written in an idiom of euphonious dissonance.  His career was dramatically interrupted when on June 17, 1967, he and his wife were brutally abducted from West Berlin by the secret police agents of South Korea, and forced to board a plane for Seoul, where they were brought to trial for sedition;  he was sentenced to life imprisonment; his wife was given three years in jail.  This act of lawlessness perpetrated on the territory of another country prompted an indignant protest by the government of West Germany, which threatened to cut off its substantial economic aid to South Korea;  twenty-three celebrated musicians, including Igor Stravinsky, issued a vigorous letter of protest.  As a result of this moral and material pressure, South Korea released Yun and his wife after nearly two years of detention, and they returned to Germany.  In 1970 he was appointed a professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin.
[From Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians by Nicholas Slonimsky.] Isang Yun died on November 3, 1995 in Berlin, and was interred in a grave of honour provided by the City Senate.  He was a member of the Hamburg and Berlin Academies of the Arts and of the European Academy of the Arts and Sciences in Salzburg, an honorary member of the International Society of Contemporary Music. He also held an honorary doctorate from the University of Tübingen, and was the recipient of the Goethe Medal of the Goethe Institute in Munich and the Distinguished Service Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
[From the Yun-Gesellschaft website.] 

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