Shen Yun Awakens Scientist’s ‘Thirst for Knowledge’

Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 31, 2012 Last Updated: January 1, 2013
Related articles: Shen Yun On Tour » Special Section
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ESCONDIDO, Calif.—Shen Yun wowed the audience on Dec. 31, for the artists were summoned to return to the stage with two curtain calls. Most of today’s patrons shared the same sentiment: this was a great ending to 2012 and a wonderful way to begin the New Year. And what most impressed scientist and amateur musician Zeljko Dzakula? The stringed Chinese instruments: the 4,000 year old erhu (two stringed Chinese violin), and the pipa (Chinese lute).

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is the first of its kind to blend traditional Chinese instruments with classical western instruments. The result is compelling and moving, and brings a heavenly quality, awakening the senses to the inner message the dances are conveying.

The erhu and the pipa played very prominent roles in several compositions and were enormously enjoyed by Mr. Dzakula.

“It amazed me how gracefully the lady who was playing it was executing the treble on it,” he said.

Mr. Dzakula has been part of more than a dozen scientific research papers and specializes in the field of bioinformatics, a branch of biological science.

He is also an amateur musician.

Hearing the instruments and watching the performance made Mr. Dzakula want to learn more. His “thirst for knowledge,” he said, “has just awoken.”

“This is actually the beginning for me,” he added.

Shen Yun, based in New York, brings a brand new production to its audiences each year. Original songs, musical scores, and folk, classical, and ethnic dances are all rolled into one amazing journey through China’s 5,000 years of civilization.

“In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago through to the story of Falun Dafa in China today; from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom,” according to Shen Yun’s website.

The culture interwoven throughout the performance inspired Mr. Dzakula, he said.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about this company and learning more about the tradition— something I am not knowledgeable about at all,” he said. “My wife shared my interests, and we are looking forward to visiting their future shows.” 

Alongside the classical Chinese dancers, who are adorned with handmade costumes, Shen Yun features digital backdrops and an orchestra in which classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments are combined.

Reporting by Sally Sun and Maria Banks.

New York-based Shen Yun has three companies that tour the world each year on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit

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