UNUS MUNDUS: Tributes to Isang Yun
Piano, Eunmi Ko
. Unus Mundus
Ingrid Stölzel 6:53
Line Drawings II
2. 1 1:58
3. 2 3:25
4. 3 4:18
5. 4 2:01
Eduardo Costa Roldán 9:02
7. Flying Kite
Seunghee Lee 6:13
8. Tiento de Batalla Op. 65
Alejandro Román 4:56
9. Timeless is forever
Girolamo Deraco 6:25
Christos Samaras 6:42
11. Prelude on a Fragment by Isang Yun
Fabio Massimo Capogrosso 3:37
“A composer cannot view the world in which he lives with indifference. Human suffering, oppression, injustice... all that comes to me in my thoughts. Where there is pain, where there is injustice, I want to have my say through my music.”
- Isang Yun, 1983
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. The composer permanently 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 traditional Korean music ingrained in him, the Taoism that prevails in Korean culture, and European Modernism.
This tribute project was conceived in 2016 to celebrate the centennial of Isang Yun’s birth in 2017. Ten composers from diverse cultural and national backgrounds wrote solo piano pieces as a contemporary tribute to him. While the project was developed under a loose theme - Isang Yun - the program showcases the participating composer’s individuality, each composer’s unique musical language, and a variety of performances involving performer’s voice, a theatrical effect, prepared piano, rhythmic freedom, etc.
– Eunmi Ko
Unus Mundus was commissioned by pianist Eunmi Ko for the centennial celebration of Isang Yun’s birth. I have long been fascinated by Yun’s compositional technique of “Hauptton” (main tone) which one can hear in his piano solo piece Interludium A, with pitch-class “A” being a centering main tone. Every time I listened to Interludium A, I was struck by a section about five minutes into the composition where he indicates a meter for the first time. This section starts with a disarming B-Major triad, which gets reiterated the line below and suffused with quartal harmonies. I decided that this moment would become the soundworld that I would inhabit for my composition. I also felt that taking a moment in time as my inspiration aligns with Taoist philosophy, a strong influence on Yun’s music, in which the part is the whole and the whole is the part, and in which the dark and the light are intertwined with each other. I believe that music in its deepest expression has the power to fuse opposites to create oneness that cannot be fragmented, as Carl Jung says, “everything divided and different belongs to one and the same world.” This concept, which Jung called “Unus Mundus” from Latin “One World,” seemed like a fitting title for a composition honoring Isang Yun. – Ingrid Stölzel
Composer Ingrid Stölzel has been described as having “a gift for melody” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “evoking a sense of longing” that creates “a reflective and serene soundscape that makes you want to curl up on your windowsill to re-listen on a rainy day.” (I Care If You Listen) Stölzel’s compositions have been commissioned by leading soloists and ensembles, and performed in concert halls and festivals worldwide, including the Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Kennedy Center, Seoul Arts Center, Thailand International Composition Festival, Festival Osmose (Belgium), Vox Feminae Festival (Israel), Dot the Line Festival (South Korea), Ritornello Chamber Music Festival (Canada), Festival of New Music at Florida State (USA), Beijing Modern Music Festival (China), Festival of New American Music (USA), and SoundOn Festival of Modern Music (USA). Her music has been recognized in numerous competitions including the Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award, Red Note Composition Competition, the Robert Avalon International Competition for Composers, and the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra Competition. Stölzel serves on the composition faculty at the University of Kansas School of Music. ingridstolzel.com
LINE DRAWINGS II
A “drawing” suggests a two-dimensional space. It is an art form that enters the eye instantaneously, but one that the mind may comprehend more slowly. Jonathan Kramer wrote concerning an experience he called “vertical time,” likening certain musical experiences to the visual arts, saying:
“… we are free to walk around the piece, view it from many angles, concentrate on some details, see other details in relationship to each other ….”
Line Drawings is an ongoing collection of short piano pieces. I think of these pieces as drawings; they are meant to be immediate—that is two-dimensional, rather than linear. But at the same time, each piece is a continuous line of some kind. This second book of Line Drawings was commissioned by pianist Eunmi Ko as part of a centenary celebration concert for the composer Isang Yun at the Seoul Arts Center in September 2017. The subject of line drawings seemed appropriate for this tribute to Yun because of his consistent interest in “Hauptönne,” a kind of living line that runs through nearly all of his music. In preparation for this piece, I spent a great deal of time immersed in Yun’s music, and though I haven’t drawn any material directly from the composer, I’m sure his imprint can be found in the score. This work is dedicated to Eunmi with gratitude and admiration. – John Liberatore
John Liberatore is a composer, pianist, and one of the world’s few glass harmonica players. Described by critics as “enchanting” and “truly magical” (Boston and New York Concert Review, respectively), his music seeks poignancy through levity, ambiguity through transparency, and complexity within simple textures—“to feel pulled along at varying speeds in multiple directions, but always forward.” (clevelandclassical.com) Over the past several years, his music has received hundreds of performances in venues around the world. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, and other fellowships from Tanglewood, Yaddo, the Brush Creek Arts Foundation, the I-Park Artist’s Enclave, and the Millay Colony. Other notable distinctions include commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation and the American Opera Initiative, two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, and the Brian Israel Prize. Through a 2012 Presser Music Award, he studied in Tokyo with Jo Kondo—a mentorship that made an indelible impression on his music. Recordings of his works are available on Ravello, Innova, Centaur, and Albany record labels. Liberatore holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (PhD, MM) and Syracuse University (BM, summa cum laude) and teaches at the University of Notre Dame.
Imagine a river from its source to its end and the stories it carries. Think of the river Imjing that runs across Korea. This river has been witness to many dramatic moments in history but it hasn’t always been like this. Imjing now divides what before was united. This piece uses groups of white keys against black keys to symbolize this division but the musical material is derived from the popular Korean folk song Arirang thus the piece attempts to send a message of unity and hope. This composition was commissioned by Korean born pianist Eunmi Ko and is dedicated to her. – Eduardo Costa Roldán
Flautist and composer Eduardo Costa Roldán’s music has been performed throughout Europe, North America, Central America, Oceania, and Asia. His music has been broadcasted by Radio Nacional de España (Spanish National Radio), Radio Nacional de Portugal, and live streamed worldwide by crasmusic.com (chamber opera Party’s over). Costa Roldán’s music including original scores, arrangements, and pedagogical works were published by Scherzo Editions, OFM, IdeaSibemol, and Mundimúsica. His solo and ensemble works have been commissioned by the McCormick Percussion Group, The Conservatorio Profesional de Reus in Spain, the Fundación Juan de Borbón in Spain, members of the Spanish National Radio Television Orchestra, Madrid’s Symphonic Band, the Orchestra da Sopros de Lisboa and performers such as Julian Elvira (Spain), Eunmi Ko (USA), Roberto Álvarez (Singapore Symphonic Orchestra), among others. Costa Roldán holds degrees in composition from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid and Goldsmith University (UK). He is the chair of music study at the Andana School of Music in Madrid. eduardocostaroldan.com
After launching a kite into the air, a kite flies in many different patterns depending on its shape, size, direction of wind, and technique of the person who is flying the kite. Kites may be flown for recreation and other practical uses. During the First Full Moon Day (Daeboreum, the 15th of January by the lunar calendar) in Korea, some write a phrase like “Bad luck be gone, good luck stay” and let their kites fly away, hoping to have good luck in the coming year.
Flying Kite for piano solo consists of five movements with each describes different patterns and techniques of kite flying. The music is focused on genuinely portraying the movement of the kite, sometimes calmly and other times lively or a bit chaotic, rather than relating music to a particular purpose of flying a kite.
As the piece progresses, I also invite the audience to imagine and experience the spiritual aspect of kite flying, such as sending a message up to God or letting go of hassles and troubles by flying a kite away.
– Seunghee Lee
Inspired by her deep affection to Asian heritage, Korean-American composer Seunghee Chrissy Lee’s music has been described as ‘intriguing’ and ‘enjoyable’ (NACWPI Journal), and ‘evoking mysterious lushness’ (New York Concert Review Inc.). She has received commissions from McCormick Percussion Group, Saxophonist Seung Dong Lee (Selmer Artist), Pianist Eunmi Ko (Ensemble Strings and Hammers), and awards and grants from International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM), ASCAP Plus Award, ASCAP Fellowship for the 70th Wellesley Composers Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Atlantic Center for the Arts, to name a few. She is a co-founder and a co-artistic director of the Dot The Line Music Festival since 2019. Lee earned her Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition from Brandeis University, M.M. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and B.M. from Ewha Woman University. Lee serves as an Assistant Professor of Music at Ave Maria University.
TIENTO DE BATALLA, Op. 65
Study for the ten fingers “in moto perpetuo”
I had long wanted to write a piano work based on a “tiento de batalla” (battle piece) of a Spanish composer. In this work, I used the initial melody of the Tiento de Batalla 5 Tono Punto Baxo by Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712), and the melody appears in the middle part of the piece that starts from bar 76. A “tiento” is a Spanish solo keyboard genre with a virtuoso character in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Considered as a predecessor of keyboard etude, tiento exploits limits of the instrument. Thus, tiento was my main inspiration when I conceived this work as an etude. My Tiento de Batalla uses arpeggiated chords extensively throughout the piece. The arpeggios are gradually changing in somewhat minimalist manner and carry a sort of rock sonorities in “moto perpetuo”.
As a tribute to the South Korean composer Isang Yun, I incorporated a segment from his Symphony No. 3 with the arpeggio in bar 86. The arpeggio contains the first few notes from initial motif of Yun’s Symphony. The piece is impregnated with pentatonic sonorities and scales that appear in traditional Korean music.
Tiento de Batalla is a virtuoso etude that highlights brilliant piano technique and fast and even piano playing.
This work was commissioned by Korean born pianist Eunmi Ko to commemorate the birth centenary of Isang Yun and it is dedicated to him “in memoriam”. – Alejandro Román
Hailed as one of the most significant contemporary composers in Spain, Alejandro Román’s music has been described as “eclectic”, “original and very personal”, “with the great influence of jazz, film, contemporary music, pop, and rock”, and “full of sensuality and elegance”. Román’s music has been performed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Román has received numerous awards including the National Music Prize Cultura Viva for his contribution as a composer, researcher, and pedagogue. He was commissioned by different institutions, competitions, orchestras, and ensembles including 56th International Piano Competition Premio Jaén and 2016 the International Piano Competition Composers of Spain. Román teaches as a member of composition faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, the Alfonso X el Sabio University, and the University International of La Rioja. Recordings of Román’s music can be found on Naxos, Arlu, Tañidos, Karonte, Rosetta, among others. alejandroroman.com
TIMELESS IS FOREVER
The piece is dedicated to Eunmi Ko and it is inspired by Isang Yun. The core idea of the piece is to create a sort of study for solo piano that uses the immobility of the pianist as fundamental theatrical part of it. Little arabesques appear in order to break the immobility, but in time, it is forever.
– Girolamo Deraco
Recipient of the 2015 Premio Abbado award, Italian composer Girolamo Deraco’s works have been performed throughout Europe and North America including Carnegie Hall, San Francisco International Piano Festival, Festival Pucciniano, Bartokplusz Miskolci Operafesztivál, Tiroler Festspiele Erl, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Festival Play.it, Teatro del Giglio, 2018 European Aquatics Championships of Glasgow, among others. His notable music includes orchestra works, solo and ensemble instrumental works, and his latest opera Dr. Streben. Deraco received his Master of Music degree from the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali L. Boccherini Lucca under the guidance of Mestro Rigacci. His music has been published by Edizioni Sconfinarte and EMA Vinci. Deraco is the artistic director of new music concert series CLUSTER, new music ensemble Etymos, and the Puccini International Opera Composition Course. girolamoderaco.it
Stylistically and aesthetically, this piece is a postmodern approach to the musical expression with neotonality elements. Euphoria is a musical journey into the world of Isang Yun – his vision of music and life. The piece evokes many snapshots from my years in Berlin. The piece also has vivid colors and sense of melancholy that brings my memory back. I wanted to highlight the psychological condition of Yun when he felt happiness, unspeakable bliss, and immeasurable joy. This unspeakable spiritual euphoria sometimes has an ambient melancholic feeling. Altogether, it brings me fond memories of the great teacher Yun, and I feel a kaleidoscope of emotions from remembering him. Yun had love and nostalgia for his country, and that gave him the strength to turn his tragic life into something good. – Christos Samaras
Christos Samaras’s music has been described as “thoughtful” and “humanitarian”. Characterized as atmospheric and meditative, his music has transparent textures and incisive rhythms as it is based on the postmodern and neo-romantic approach. Samaras studied with Isang Yun at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin. His music has been recognized by numerous international competitions including the Carl Maria von Weber Competition in Dresden, Germany, the Composition of the Foundation for Literature and Arts organized by Ministry of Culture in Athens, Greece, the ALEA III Competition of the University of Boston, USA, among others. In 2018, he received the Karolos Koun award from the Union of Greek Theater and Music Critics for his significant contributions to research and pedagogy in Greek Art and Classical Music. His works have been performed throughout Europe as well as Asia, Oceania, North America, and South America. Since 1988, he is the Professor of Composition at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Many of his students are award-winning composers. users.auth.gr/chrisama/en
PRELUDE ON A FRAGMENT BY ISANG YUN
Prelude on a Fragment by Isang Yun is based on a succession of chords in Isang Yun’s solo piano work Interludium A. Each one of these chords is re-imagined by the sound I got from piano preparation through inserting pencils and erasers between designated strings. I also try to give some rhythmic freedom to the performer by indicating ad lib for each arpeggio and tremolo. – Fabio Massimo Capogrosso
Award-winning composer Fabio Massimo Capogrosso’s music has been performed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America including Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Suoni delle Dolomiti, I concerti della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, I concerti degli amici della musica di Verona, San Francisco International Piano Festival, USF New Music Festival, University of Michigan, Seoul Arts Center, Teatro Grande di Brescia, Parco della Musica of Rome, Teatro Cilea, the Palladium of Rome, among others. His works have been commissioned and premiered by the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, Falstaff Quartet, Red4Quartet, Trio Solotarev, I Percussionisti della Scala, among others.
Capogrosso was the winner of the ninth edition of Discover America, Chicago Ensemble competition, and 2018 Keuris Composers Competition. His compositions are published by Edizioni Curci (Milan) and Imagine Music (New York). Capogrosso taught as a member of faculty at the Conservatorio di Musica “E.R. Duni” in Matera, Italy.
A sought-after collaborator for new music, pianist Eunmi Ko frequently premieres both new solo and ensemble repertoire. Praised for her original interpretations and kaleidoscopic colors, Ko has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Herbst Theatre, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Festival de Musica Contemporanea, the San Francisco International Piano Festival, the Chautauqua Music Festival, and many other venues. Since 2015, she has been the resident artist for McCormick Percussion Group and collaborated with Director Robert McCormick for piano concerti with percussion orchestra project. Ko is a member of the piano faculty at the University of South Florida and serves as co-advisor of the New Music Consortium at USF. She is co-founder and co-director of Strings & Hammers, a trio with the unusual instrumentation of violin, piano, and double bass that commissions new repertoire and regularly premieres compositions written for the ensemble, and she is the artistic director of the annual new music festival Dot The Line that takes place in Korea. Ko holds graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music. eunmiko.com
Line Drawings II, Imjing, Tiento de Batalla, and Prelude on a Fragment by Isang Yun were recorded December 28, 2017 in Barness Hall at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Unus Mundus was recorded January 13, 2018, in Barness Hall at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Flying Kite and Timeless is forever were recorded August 18, 2018 in Barness Hall at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Euphoria was recorded Jan 20, 2019 in Barness Recital Hall at the University of South Florida.
Prelude on a Fragment by Isang Yun is published by Edizioni Curci (Italy).
Producer: Eunmi Ko
Audio Engineer: Tyler Kline
Additional Audio Engineering: Rich Wattie
Mastering by RareForm Mastering
Cover photography by Michael Schauer
Eunmi Ko’s photograph by Jiyang Chen
The project was completed with support from a College of The Arts Summer Research Grant from the University of South Florida.
Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.
Philip Blackburn, director, design
Chris Campbell, operations director
Tim Igel, publicist