DENVER—Colorado senator Nancy Todd honored world-renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts orchestra conductor Antonia Joy-Wilson with a proclamation on Saturday, to mark her outstanding career achievements.
Dr. Joy-Wilson debuted at age 21 with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, making her the youngest woman to conduct a major American orchestra. She went on to enjoy an acclaimed international music career in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. In 2011, she joined New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts to serve as conductor for its international orchestra.
Senator Todd awarded Ms. Joy-Wilson after the Feb. 23 Shen Yun performance at the Buell Theater in Denver.
“We are very proud of you, and glad to have you back in Colorado,” senator Todd told Ms. Joy-Wilson at the proclamation ceremony.
“Shen Yun has just been a great addition to the arts in Colorado and we are delighted to have them back in Colorado, and delighted to have you here.”
Ms. Joy-Wilson pursued graduate studies in orchestral conducting at Yale University, and holds a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Colorado. In 1996 she won first-prize in the International Classical Music Conducting Competition in Mexico and is known as one of the few women to break through the “glass ceiling” of orchestral conducting—a profession traditionally dominated by men.
“On behalf of Shen Yun, I am so honored with this beautiful proclamation, and especially from you in Colorado,” said Ms. Joy-Wilson. “We are just very excited as striving artists to make this the most beautiful show possible and to continue our work on behalf of Falun Dafa and for Shen Yun.”
Senator Todd lauded Shen Yun, saying the evening’s performance was a delight.
“What an incredible performance: the music, the dance, the acrobats, the entire presentation. [It was] just really calming, and yet such high energy on the stage,” she said. “Having that balance just really brought tremendous joy to us to be able to watch and partake in it.”
New York-based Shen Yun is a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company. Formed in 2006 by artists from around the world, the mission of the company is to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
Ms. Joy-Wilson praised Senator Todd for her efforts to speak out against human rights abuses in China. According to the Shen Yun website, traditional Chinese art forms, as well as human rights and freedoms, have been virtually destroyed during 60 years of violent campaigns waged by the Chinese communist regime.
“We are very fortunate to have a senator like you that has cared so much about this cause and helping others who have been imperiled through very difficult circumstances, and you have stood up and been their voice, and we really appreciate that,” said Ms. Joy-Wilson.
Senator Todd said she was saddened to know that Shen Yun cannot perform in China, where traditional art forms remain suppressed.
“Being able to speak up and have the freedom to speak for what we believe in—I think often times we take that for granted, and so it’s a shame to me to think of this wonderful artistry that is not really permitted to perform in China,” she said.
“The Chinese people would so much appreciate seeing and being able to take advantage of all the wonderful artistry and the beauty that is really portrayed.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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