Composition Department

Yie-Eun Chun, DM 2015

Read My Riddle! (2015)
for soprano and sinfonietta


Program Notes

I have been always intrigued by the fantasy and humor of Lewis Carroll, and it did not take a long time to choose a text when I was commissioned for a new vocal work by the Indiana University New Music Ensemble in April 2014.  

The piece Read My Riddle! is based on one of Carroll’s poems from his collection ‘Four Riddles’.  In setting this poem to music, my approach varied from the literal to the imaginative.  I was especially focused on depicting the images and exploring the meaning of the words in the poem. For instance, the first movement illustrates words such as ‘singular’, ‘plural’ and ‘pluralest’. This is closely related to the texture of the movement which begins with a thin layer of a few instruments and becomes thicker and more complex as the whole ensemble joins. In the second movement, fast murmuring figurations and gracenotes characterize the magical and enigmatic atmosphere. The third movement portrays the mood of melancholy with woodwind melodies over an ostinato in the percussion and piano. In the fourth movement of the piece which discusses ageing, I wrote tongue clicks for both soprano and ensemble to represent the ticking sound of a clock. In the final movement ’, the moving patterns of the instruments are intertwined throughout the movement to describe ‘myriad phases’ and ‘deadly mazes’. 

Each five movement has very different and distinctive characteristics: I. light and lively – II. dreamy and mysterious – III. melancholy – IV. mechanical – V. mesh and labyrinth.

- Yie-Eun Chun (Text here)


Composer Yie Eun Chun's works have been performed in many venues by such ensembles as the Tanglewood New Fromm Players, Indiana University Symphonic Choir, TIMF Ensemble, Breakout Ensemble, USC Recital Choir and the Musica Nova Ensemble. She was awarded the Georgina Joshi Composition Award at Indiana University, resulting in a commission to write a new work for the Indiana University New Music Ensemble. Yie Eun was also recently selected as one of the winners of the Fresh Ink Symposium, and her piece was premiered by the Omaha Symphony directed by composer John Corigliano and conductor Thomas Wilkins in May, 2015. She was a Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2013, and her music has garnered awards and honors including the 2016 ISCM World Music Days, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2013), the Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize (2010), and the 30th Chang-ak Composition Competition (2007). 

Ms. Chun recently earned a Doctor of Music degree in Composition at Indiana University, where she taught undergraduate courses in instrumentation and composition as an Associate Instructor in the composition department. She holds a Master of Music degree from Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University. She has studied with renowned composers such as David Dzubay, Sven-David Sandström, Aaron Travers, Claude Baker, John Harbison, Michael Gandolfi, Martin Bresnick, David Liptak, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez and Sangjick Jun.

She is currently teaching at Seoul National University as a lecturer since September, 2015.