Evocative Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra Performance Wows Philadelphia

October 25, 2015

PHILADELPHIA—”The energy was palpable,” said Tom Bostock halfway into the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra matinee at the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 25.

Tom Bostock with Hanita Rosenboin enjoyed the wonderful energy created at the Shen Yun orchestra's concert at Philadelphia's Verizon Hall, on Oct. 25, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)
Tom Bostock with Hanita Rosenboim enjoyed the wonderful energy created at the Shen Yun orchestra’s concert at Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, on Oct. 25, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)

Mr. Bostock, who works in sales, attended the concert with Ms. Hanita Rosenboim, who works in real estate, and both were leaning forward in their seats during the performance, clapping high above their heads after favorite pieces.

“Wonderful, wonderful energy,” Ms. Rosenboim said. “Beautiful music.”

The orchestra played two encores after thunderous cheers and two rounds of standing ovations when the performance ended.

Mr. Bostock, like many other audience members, did not fully know what to expect with a full Western symphony that would play Chinese music, including ancient instruments like the two-stringed erhu. After all, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is the first of its kind.

Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts classical Chinese dance company was established by artists from around the world to revive 5,000 years of the divinely inspired Chinese culture. An orchestra accompanies each of the touring companies, but for limited engagements a combined Shen Yun orchestra performs on its own.

Mr. Bostock noted the energy of the lively violinists in particular, but waxed poetic of the interplay between the various instruments, of the various energies, and the depth and subtlety of it all.

It was “something deep,” he explained. “The depth came out in how they catch their notes, how they phrase their runs … and it just all comes together.”

Mr. Bostock said it was an overall positive feeling, a good feeling that he got from listening to the music. At times it was soft and filled with emotion, and then when the instruments came back in full force, “it was just joyous,” he said.

The range of emotions was also felt by Martha and William Blasberg, retired attorneys, who attended the performance with Stephen Davies, a music student studying composition.

Martha and William Blasberg with Stephen Davies, a music student, enjoy Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra's concert at at the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 25, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)
Martha and William Blasberg with Stephen Davies, a music student, enjoy Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s concert at at the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 25, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)

“The harmony is a little more open,” Mr. Davies said of the original Shen Yun compositions. He noted how the Western instruments were using the pentatonic scale used in Chinese music, and how he liked the open, spacious effect it created.

“The music’s very evocative,” Mrs. Blasberg said. She had been reading along in the program, which explains the stories behind the music, and said she felt all of it.

The music opens with the legend of creation of China, “Following the Creator to Renew All Things,” where 5,000 years of Chinese civilization is set into motion by the Creator. Then it moves on to a scene in an ancient court yard with elegant ladies with long, silken sleeves, before a the orchestra conjures up a buoyant image of a Tibetan dance in the Himalayas.

“Even without reading it you get a sense of [that],” Mrs. Blasberg said.

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.