Choral Conductor Praises Shen Yun’s Blending of Western and Chinese Instruments

October 17, 2014

TORONTO—The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever performance in Canada was received with enthusiastic standing ovations and requests for encores at Roy Thomson Hall on Oct. 16.

The orchestra is composed of musicians from the four touring companies of the renowned Shen Yun Performing Arts, a New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company that has been putting on performances around the globe including Canada since 2006. 

Manfred Petz, a choral conductor for over 20 years, said he enjoyed the evening’s performance tremendously. 

“I’m very glad that I got alerted to it and then invited. I wish I brought a lot more friends,” Mr. Petz said, noting that the orchestra was “full of energy, and yet the discipline is astounding.”

The Chinese words Shen Yun translate as “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” according to the website of Shen Yun Performing Arts. 

The mission of Shen Yun, which was established by accomplished classical Chinese artists living outside China, is to revive the Middle Kingdom’s millennia-old divinely inspired culture.

Mr. Petz said he felt the divine inspiration was clearly present in the music he heard that evening. 

“This orchestra made that obvious that it’s something that goes straight to the heart,” he said. 

The veteran choral conductor also had high praise for the blending of classical Western and Chinese instruments in the orchestra.

He noted that what stood out the most for him was “the skill with which two different cultures have been interwoven.”

In the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, a classical Western orchestra is used as the foundation, accentuating the distinct sound of traditional Chinese instruments such as the two-stringed erhu and the pipa, or the Chinese lute. 

“They very skillfully blend the different elements that it’s almost like a new creation out of the two. Very, very beautiful and very commendable the work that they are doing,” Mr. Petz said.

“My knowledge got expanded and enriched,” he said. 

With reporting by NTD Television

New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time.

The orchestra’s North American tour runs through Oct. 27. For more information, visit

Toronto, Canada
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra