Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Committee Chair

Michael Bunchman

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Ellen Elder

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Elizabeth Moak

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Edward Hafer

Committee Member 5 School



Un-Young La (1922-1993), a prominent modern Korean composer, was born amidst the Japanese occupation of Korea. Despite receiving Western-style musical training in Japan, La dedicated himself to uncovering the forgotten essence of Korean traditional music. His objective was to illuminate its greatness while striving to instill national pride in those who endured the devastation following the Japanese colonial period and in the aftermath of the Korean War. Throughout his lifetime, Un-Young La composed over a thousand pieces across diverse genres, including symphonies, chamber music, operas, vocal works, and sacred music. Additionally, for nearly four decades, he imparted his knowledge and expertise to composition students at Yonsei University and other educational institutions, shaping the minds of younger generations.

Sanjo for Violin and Piano emerged in the aftermath of the Korean War (June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953), marking a pivotal moment in music history as the first endeavor to merge traditional Korean musical elements with Western instruments and notation. Comprised of three movements, each titled after a Korean Jangdan (rhythmic patterns), the work seamlessly integrates these rhythmic patterns throughout.

Hence, this study seeks to delve into the socio-cultural context of Korean music, and its influence on Un-Young La’s compositional style. Through examining the distinctive characteristics of Korean music and how La fused it with Western musical traditions in Sanjo for Violin and Piano, a deeper understanding of this groundbreaking composition and its impact can be achieved.

Available for download on Sunday, June 30, 2024