Danna Yun

Riddle for String Ensemble

First Commission inspired by Michelangelo's David: represent the idea of human physical perfection.

Artist Statement

“The pursuit of perfection is ever-expanding. It’s only in reaching one horizon that the next becomes visible.”

Danna Yun was initially challenged by the brief, before she became inspired by her own struggle with perfectionism within her musical practice: she notes a moment in which she went beyond the pursuit of technical perfection in order to better understand why.

This spirit of inquiry was important in her evolution as a musician and composer. Reflecting on this, Danna has composed a work that plays with traditional modes of composition to provide an accessible experience of classical music to contemporary audiences.

Riddle for String Ensemble is a 7-minute classical composition inspired from gods and deities found in religion and mythology. Historically immortalised as perfect beings in the form of painting and statues, her work investigates their stories and discovers they too share many of our human imperfections and flaws.

The piece (a reference to the Sphinx’s riddle from Greek mythology) depicts glimpses of deities as ethereal, still paintings as if you were walking among them. Tamer harmonic beginnings evoke a sense of tradition and respect, progressing to a mood of eccentricity, hinting that below the surface these gods consist of character at odds to their depiction.

This juxtaposition pushes and pulls, until finally the gods fail to break free from the canvas – as this is only a representation of a vision.


Danna Yun Bachelor of Music
2018 Bachelor of Music (Honours), current student

Additional Credits

Jackson Fumberger Nanda Hong Louise May Julia Parker Helen Shen Charlotte Strong Dana Tan Amy You
Violas Aidan Filshie Kiara Kim Eugenie Lyons
Cellos Chiara Anderson Daniel Ng Sarah Wang
Basses George Parker
Audio Engineer David Collins
Additional thanks to the players Athaya Anaduta, Annika Cho, Grace Elliott, Alexandra Giller, Kye Yim Loh, Jin Long, Nyssa Sanguansri, and Rebecca Wang


3rd Jul 2019

 Further information

Type: First Commissions
School: Melbourne Conservatorium of Music