Unus Mundus

Unus Mundus

Tributes to Isang Yun
Ingrid Stolzel
John Liberatore
Eduardo Costa Roldan
Seunghee Lee
Alejandro Roman
Girolamo Deraco
Christos Samaras
Fabio Massimo Capogrosso
Eunmi Ko
Catalog Number: 
#1 037
new classical
in memoriam

Tampa, FL

Release Date: 
Jun 26, 2020
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

One of the most celebrated Korean-born composers, Isang Yun (1917-1995) lived through the turmoil of WWII and the Cold War. After being kidnapped and imprisoned as an alleged Communist by the South Korean government, he was released following international protests and moved to West Berlin in 1969. 

Isang Yun’s music explores Korean sensibilities and the compositional techniques of European avant-garde music. The composer established his unique musical language based on the traditional Korean music ingrained in him, the Taoism that prevails in Korean culture, and European Modernism.

To celebrate the centennial of Isang Yun’s birth in 2017, composers from far afield wrote solo pieces for pianist Eunmi Ko to perform as a tribute to him – eight musical worlds that come together in one: Unus Mundus.

Participating composers each had their own approach to his legacy. Ingrid Stölzel (Unus Mundus) and John Liberatore (Line Drawings II) reinterpreted Isang Yun’s “main tone” technique in their compositions. Fabio Massimo Capogrosso (Prelude on a fragment by Isang Yun), Alejandro Román (Tiento de Batalla), and Stölzel used a motive or fragment from Yun’s piano work or symphony as main musical material in their pieces. Eduardo Costa Roldán (Imjing) was inspired by Isang Yun’s life and the Korean history that Yun lived through. Girolamo Deraco (timeless is forever) and Seunghee Lee (Flying Kite) make more indirect allusions: Deraco explored the theatrical effect that a performer’s body creates during the course of the performance, while Lee’s inspiration came directly from the Korean kite flying tradition. Most nostalgic among all the works on the album, Christos Samaras expressed sentiments from his personal memory of Isang Yun throughout his work Euphoria.

This homage album looks back as well as forward. Isang Yun established himself as one of the most prominent composers in the twentieth-century classical music through embracing his cultural roots and embedding it into his music. It is hard to imagine the cultural diversity and richness of the twenty-first century music without the legacy of composers like Yun. 

Praised for her original interpretations and kaleidoscopic colors, pianist Eunmi Ko frequently premieres both new solo and ensemble repertoire. She is a member of the piano faculty at the University of South Florida and serves as co-advisor of the New Music Consortium there. She is co-founder and co-director of Strings & Hammers – a trio with the unusual instrumentation of violin, piano, and double bass – and is the artistic director of the new music festival Dot The Line that takes place in Korea. Ko holds graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music. 



"Pianist Eunmi Ko carries this tribute program with subtlety and determination." [FULL ARTICLE] - Marie Humbert