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Young Musician/Theatre Teacher: Shen Yun Orchestra ‘A perfect mix’ of East and West


Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 13, 2013 Last Updated: January 14, 2013
Related articles: Shen Yun On Tour » Special Section
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Denzel Gordon, a musician and music and theatre teacher for local youth, enjoyed Shen Yun's unique orchestra after watching the performance at Hamilton Place Sunday afternoon, Jan 13, 2013. “It was just beautiful, through and through,” he said. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)

Denzel Gordon, a musician and music and theatre teacher for local youth, enjoyed Shen Yun's unique orchestra after watching the performance at Hamilton Place Sunday afternoon, Jan 13, 2013. “It was just beautiful, through and through,” he said. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)

HAMILTON, Canada—Denzel Gordon came with his parents to Hamilton Place Theatre Sunday afternoon to see Shen Yun Performing Arts as a Christmas present, and the young musician thoroughly enjoyed the renowned classical Chinese dance and music production.

“Fantastic, great, I love the tunes for sure, I can’t say enough about it,” Mr. Gordon said. “It was just beautiful, through and through.”

The young artist, who comes from Brantford, just west of Hamilton, plans to attend school to study theatre next year. In the meantime, he teaches theatre and music to youth in a non-profit arts program and has recorded a three-track digital album as part of his musical project called “Son of Sefton.”

“I’m in a band, I’m a rock musician, but I love everything,” Mr. Gordon said, noting that he appreciates classical music as well as Asian culture.

He learned about Shen Yun after seeing posters of the show in many places in Toronto and Brantford, and when he googled it and saw the trailer footage, he thought to himself, “Wow! This is awesome.”

New York-based Shen Yun presents exhilarating performances of classical Chinese dance and music worldwide every year. Founded in 2006, its mission is to revive the 5,000-year-old traditional culture of China.

The company boasts a one-of-a-kind orchestra that plays all-original compositions, blending East and West, showcasing traditional Chinese instruments that lead the melodies while a Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation. 

“Beautiful, just incredible, on point for sure,” Mr. Gordon said of the harmonious effect.

“I think it’s a perfect mix, because the violin and the strings are just such timeless instruments that it just works well with the ancient instruments they’re using.”

Those ancient instruments include the pipa, a Chinese lute that has reigned as the “king” of Chinese folk instruments for thousands of years, as well as the two-string erhu, which has been called the Chinese violin and is an alto instrument with a middle-high musical range that is capable of expressing a wide range of emotions.

The orchestra also features the suona, a double reed woodwind instrument that produces clear, bright notes that sometimes resemble birdcalls; along with percussions such as the Chinese gong, pengling hand bells, and the qing, a chime bowl.

The theatrical effect overall appealed to Mr. Gordon very much.

“It’s lighthearted at all points and I like that,” he said. “It’s just a great lighthearted show.”

Reporting by Becky Zhou and Cindy Chan.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will perform one more show in Hamilton on Jan. 13 before going on to Toronto for five shows, completing its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org

  

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