[Documents menu] Documents menu

Profile of Yun I Sang, Great Korean Musician (1917-1995)

People’s Korea, 31 March 1999

[Yun I Sang]

Born on Sep. 17, 1917 in Chungmu, South Kyongsang Province, Yun I Sang carved out his niche in music and stood out as the first Korean artist loved, cherished and admired by the music circles all over the world.

Master of Music, so awed by not only Koreans but also the western people, Mr. Yun spellbound the audiences with his peerless talent, which he developed at home and polished in Europe.

Despite haunted by south Korea's intelligence agency KCIA, Mr. Yun devoted his music activities to the reunification cause and pursued his career until he died in Germany in 1995.

Upon hearing Mr. Yun's death, the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was quick to play a condolence concert for him. In 1995, Mr. Yun was also elected as one of the world's top five musicians by a German broadcasting company.


Teaches music in a south Korean high school and flies to Europe in 1956 for study abroad.


Makes an sensational debut in Darmstadl, Germany, in 1959.

Since then, his works come to be played at Avant-garde Festival and takes important position in the classical concert division.

Mr. Yun leaves for Berlin in 1964.


Kidnapped by KCIA agents to Seoul and sentenced to death for his pro-reunification cause. Pressure from the angered German government forced the Seoul authorities to set Mr. Yun free in 1969 amidst jeers and catcalls hurled at them worldwide.


Acquires German citizenship in 1971 and teaches as professor at Berlin Art University until 1987.


Becomes the principal promoter of the first inter-Korean music concert in Pyongyang in 1990.

Dies on Nov. 4, 1995 in Berlin at the age of 78.