She is a composer who was born in Shanghai and teaches at Purchase College. A year ago, the Berkley Symphony and its music director Joana Carneiro commissioned Yun to compose a new work for the California orchestra.
The 12 minute composition Mantichora was performed on January 20. The inspiration came while on a rooftop in Cairo, Egypt. As voices began to chant the Muslim call to prayer Ms. Yun was transfixed as the voices echoed and layered and reverberated into an exoic chorale according to an article by Jim Farber in the Berkley Preview.
"I regard myself as a gestural composer," she explained. "For instance, in Western classical music, pitches are very important. But when you llisten to Persian music or Mongolian music or Tibetan music, it's more about nuances in the vibrato that lead from one frequency to another to create gestural phrases."
When the Berkley Symphony players first received the score the principal cellist said the tempo was too fast unles a sense of oscillation and vibration was the effect she was looking for. "I told her that was exactly what I was going for. I don't really care about pitch. For me, the score is a form of documentation of what I want." she said. "It is like a map. But not the treasure itself. That comes in the performance."