DALLAS—“I think the arrangements are wonderful illustrations,” said Alfred Lee, a composer, of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ use of music during their performance at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas on Jan. 2.
Mr. Lee said he enjoyed the way Shen Yun Orchestra’s unique blend of traditional Chinese instruments with a classical orchestra complemented the dances. “It’s very wonderful. Excellent production. Excellent,” Mr. Lee said.
Instruments like the woodwind suona and two-stringed erhu lead the melodies while a Western philharmonic orchestra makes up the foundation of the Shen Yun Orchestra, which made its debut at the Carnegie Hall this past year.
There are many differences in Eastern and Western music, including tonal differences. According to Shen Yun’s website, “all Chinese instruments are classified by their material construction into eight categories: jin (metal), shi (stone), tu(clay), ge (hide), si (silk), mu (wood), bao (gourd), and zhu (bamboo). Collectively, these eight classifications are known as the ba yin, or ‘the eight sounds.’”
Mr. Lee, of Malaysian and Chinese descent, has experimented with mixing Eastern and Western sounds in composition as well. Mr. Lee said by mixing different sounds and cultures, people learn about both the familiar and something new, and the blending in Shen Yun is “absolutely wonderful, the way they do it.”
“The traditional costumes are wonderful. The use of fabric, the movement, the choreography, the accents, and all the fabrics and colors are absolutely wonderful,” Mr. Lee said.
Shen Yun’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional attire, ranging from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people, according to the company website.
“I am always interested to see especially when it’s dance or even if it’s opera you have to see if everything works together as one. So today you know I see that, it’s working all together as one. It’s absolutely wonderful,” Mr. Lee said.
Reporting by Hannah Cai and Catherine Yang.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will be performing in Dallas through Jan. 3. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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