NEW YORK—”It was unbelievable! Unbelievable!” said Soterios Philippou, a surgeon originally from Cyprus, after stepping outside Carnegie Hall, Oct. 10.
Dr. Philippou had just attended the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s matinee performance and felt compassion from the music.
“The orchestra was able to show compassion in sounds, and the power of it, especially at the end of the piece [The Power of Compassion], you could feel inside you how powerful compassion is,” Dr. Philippou said.
The Shen Yun Orchestra blends ancient Chinese instruments with a full Western orchestra. Performances include classical pieces along with original compositions, Chinese folk tunes, and all-original arias sung using bel canto technique.
Dr. Philippou particularly enjoyed the lyrics by the vocalists.
“Every single verse is so poetic,” he said.
The lyrics are written specifically for Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance company, which has four dance companies that tour the globe every year. The Shen Yun orchestra is made up of members of the orchestras that tour with these companies.
Shen Yun, which is based in New York, was established in 2006 to revive 5,000 years of the divinely inspired Chinese culture.
In keeping with this mission the lyrics are “brimming with philosophical reflections about life,” the program explains, touching on themes found in Buddhism and Taoism. For example, in the song “Fulfilling My Dream,” tenor Tian Ge sings that his soul’s true home is heaven.
Dr. Philippou said the music enhanced the lyrics.
“The orchestra … was voicing the text of the poems perfectly,” he said.
Dr. Philippou was also touched by the sounds of the two-stringed erhu, a traditional instrument known for its ability express a wide array of emotions. In “The Power of Compassion,” the music starts out with a melancholy erhu before it swells into a tale of heroism and divinity.
“[There are] two instruments in my opinion … that can make you feel heartache: one is the oboe, and the other is the Chinese erhu. [They] can be very, very delicate, and very soft. It can really make you feel stronger,” Dr. Philippou said.
Joy, Peace, and Calm
Psychotherapist Eileen Scofield was unfamiliar with the Shen Yun Orchestra before attending the performance, but said afterward it was so delightful she would be tempted to follow them around the world.
“I’m ecstatic. This was so beautiful. They are so talented and professional and wonderful. I’m flying,” she said.
She said different pieces evoked different emotions in her.
“Some were very uplifting … Some were just so beautiful it made me feel like crying, crying from joy and peace. So it was a lovely experience.”
In Chinese, the character for medicine is derived from the character for music. Modern studies and ancient physicians alike, tout the healing benefits of music.
Ms. Scofield said she often uses music to calm her after a day’s work and the performance was a wonderful experience.
“I loved it, I loved it, I loved it,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Catherine Yang.
The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra continues its tour with a performance on Oct. 11 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts inWashington, D.C. and on Oct. 13 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Florida. For information about the orchestra’s October performances, visit ShenYun.com/Symphony.
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. Shen Yun Performing Arts begins its 2016 world tour on Dec. 22, 2015.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time.