Emotional Shen Yun Symphony Performance Inspires Compassion in Boston

October 22, 2015

BOSTON—For Nick Blazis, a photographer, painter, and musician, art is a sheer necessity of life. A day after his first showing as a visual artist, he and Ms. Ashley Bergquist attended Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra at the Boston Symphony Hall as a late birthday present for him.

“Whether it’s dance, music, painting, you’re looking to inspire emotion, and that is what they do,” Mr. Blazis said in awe after the performance on Oct. 21. He had intently watched the musicians, the conductor, and even the audience members, who he saw swept away by emotion. Some were even brought to tears during different parts of the performance.

Several audience members, like Mr. Blazis, noted what an emotional experience the concert was. Concertgoers from all walks of like reported that they felt passion, emotion, and compassion transmitted from the musicians to the audience.

Mr. Blazis recalled the faces of the musicians he watched, and how one violinist looked almost meditative while she performed. He also recalled the energy he felt from the performers.

“It’s hard to sit there and not feel—being present for that,” Mr. Blazis said. “I think that’s the power of art in music.”

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is a relatively new ensemble, and a completely new sound, but it draws from 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.

Formed in 2006, Shen Yun Performing Arts began touring the world to revive the divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture through music and dance. The company created a unique orchestra that could seamlessly harmonize ancient instruments like the erhu into a full Western symphony. Audience members were enchanted with Shen Yun’s music, so four years ago, the Symphony Orchestra had its debut at Carnegie Hall.

It absolutely takes your breath away.
— Nick Blazis

What happens on stage, Mr. Blazis said, is possibly the coolest thing he’s ever seen: the large ensemble, the conductor commanding the players of both Chinese and Western instruments, the interaction between the musicians, the sounds, and the sheer energy of it all.

“It absolutely takes your breath away,” Mr. Blazis said.

Emotional Experience

Compassion was the common theme.

“I can feel compassion, for sure,” said Heather Koning, who had a smile on her face the whole performance.

Jamie and Patricia Gonzalez, surgeons who came from Mexico for a conference, said the experience was spectacular because they could feel the compassion and emotions transmitted from the musicians to themselves.

“They can transmit to you what they are playing,” said Angela Chrispim, a music teacher of 20 years. “I can feel it inside my heart.

Samantha Bates and her friend had a joyful experience at Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, at Boston Symphony Hall, on Oct. 21, 2015. (Qin Chuang/Epoch Times)
Samantha Bates and her friend had a joyful experience at Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, at Boston Symphony Hall, on Oct. 21, 2015. (Qin Chuang/Epoch Times)

Samantha Bates, a vocalist who studied at U.C. Berkeley, said the performance brought her joy.

“There’s a word in Spanish called ‘duende,’ and it’s the emotion that’s evoked when you experience a piece of art, and I would say that at some points it’s definitely a lot of emotion that came forth, when I could see especially the performers coming out and really enjoying what they’re doing,” Ms. Bates said.

Ms. Bergquist, who attended the performance with Mr. Blazis, has played cello and violin herself, so she took special note of violin virtuoso Fiona Zheng during her solo performance of Pablo de Sarasate’s “Gypsy Airs.”

It made Ms. Bergquist smile, she said, because “she has so much passion [in] what she does.”

“It’s a good feeling to see someone … let their heart and soul [be] completely put into music,” Ms. Bergquist said.

“It is absolutely emotional and, yes, compassionate,” Mr. Blazis said.

Reporting by Stacy Chen, Qin Chuan, and Catherine Yang

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 and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.