WASHINGTON D.C.—The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra brought stirring music from the East and West to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on a Sunday matinee, Oct. 12.
From the East were original compositions with the bedrock of soul-stirring melodies of the ancient Middle Kingdom. The Shen Yun orchestra uses a Western orchestra as its foundation, but also includes traditional Chinese instruments, such as the ancient 2-string erhu, often called the Chinese violin, and 4-string plucked pipa, sometimes called the Chinese lute.
To hear Chinese melodies inspired by China’s five millennia history and culture played by a powerful Western orchestra is a remarkable experience that’s hard to describe.
William Schipper, president and CEO of the American College of Commerce and Technology in Falls Church, Virginia, said that listening to Shen Yun orchestra at the Kennedy Center was a “great experience.” He said the concert was “fantastic, wonderful, unbelievable.”
“Just wonderful, not a moment that was not wonderful,” said Dr. Schipper.
In explaining his comments, Dr. Schipper mentioned the beauty of the music played and its “value to the soul of humanity.”
From the first note played, it’s not difficult to see beauty in the orchestra’s performance. The concert opens with the distinct sound of the gong, which brings us to the realm of the heavens.
The sound energy of the gong “grasps you instantly, sweeping you away to another world,” states the Shen Yun website. It also says, “One strike of the mighty gong sends reverberations to the depth of your soul.”
The spheres of the heavens and the earth are majestically depicted in the opening piece “Grand Descent of the Deities.” According to the orchestra’s website, “In Chinese cosmology, much like in ancient Greek mythology, the heavens and earth are distinct and far apart, yet may be traversable at significant moments.”
Dr. Schipper was also mindful of the technical aspects of the performances. He said, “Just the whole package, the way the whole performance was put together was just professional. All of those musicians memorizing every stroke of every violin motion was unbelievable. The singing was beautiful and precise.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Gary Feuerberg
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is on a seven-city tour with performances in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Toronto, Chicago, Miami, and Sarasota, through Oct. 27. For more information, visit www.shenyun.com/symphony