WASHINGTON—Paul Zanecki survived seven years of being forced to play piano as a child and yet emerged with such a love for classical music that he listens to a classical station every day. And on this particular evening he had a pleasurable opportunity to do so, too. In fact, he couldn’t have been happier than to be at The Kennedy Center on Oct. 26, listening to Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra.
“It was an absolutely wonderful, inspiring performance,” the Maryland attorney said.
For Mr. Zanecki, the mix of Western classics alongside original Chinese pieces was a “perfect harmony for me of two cultures. I loved it,” especially since, as an Eastern European, he truly appreciated the choices of Western pieces, which included Antonín Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, No. 8 and Johannes Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 5.
The Chinese pieces were originally written to accompany Shen Yun Performing Arts, the classical Chinese dance company, which the orchestra supports through the year. For one or two months each fall, however, the Symphony Orchestra tours alone, giving listeners a chance to concentrate on the impressive combination of Eastern and Western instruments.
It’s not that the Western orchestra plays the Western pieces and Chinese instruments play the Chinese pieces. In the arrangements of the original Chinese works, the Western instruments provide a rich foundation for the Chinese instruments, such as the pipa (Chinese lute) and the erhu (two-stringed violin) to carry the melodies and give the pieces their unique Chinese flavor.
“Everything was impressive to me. [The program] was well-chosen; every single song had a different spirit and a different quality and it was very, very pleasurable listening to the medley of all these,” Mr. Zanecki said.
The Chinese pieces particularly touched him—works like “Poets of the Orchid Pavilion,” which tells the story of the origin of one of China’s most important literary works, ” Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion”; and the energetic “Drums of the Grasslands,” which shares the spirit of the Mongolian people.
“It is a very wonderful, touching performance” that expressed the Chinese appreciation for their country, he said, and felt he now understood better how the Chinese want to protect and save their homeland.
Based in New York, Shen Yun has a mission to revive China’s culture and arts. The company was formed by prominent classical Chinese artists from around the world in 2006.
“Very touching. Very impressed,” Mr. Zanecki said about Shen Yun.
Mr. Zanecki felt that his friends must come and see Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, he said, but “they should come talk to me first, and I will convince them.”
With reporting by Lisa Fan and Sharon Kilarski
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. For information about the last October performance, visit: ShenYun.com/Symphony
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.