Music Producer Lauds Fusion of Chinese and Western Orchestral Music

NEW YORK—As the curtain closed on the final performance from Shen Yun Performing Arts Sunday, the audience meandered out of Lincoln Center looking relaxed and content.

They had just witnessed traditional Chinese culture told through story, dance, and music—all imbued with divine beliefs that were at the heart of that ancient society.

Alex Houton, a 30-year veteran of the music scene, and now a producer, thought the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra that accompanied each dance was great.

“I love the way they fused together Chinese traditional music with a lot of Western music and instrumentation,” he said at New York’s Lincoln Center after the performance. “It’s very entertaining.”

The Shen Yun Orchestra combines the “spirit, beauty, and distinctiveness of Chinese music with the precision, power, and grandeur of the Western symphony orchestra,” according to the company’s website.

“Ancient Chinese instruments, such as the soul-stirring erhu and the delicate pipa, lead the melody on top of a full orchestra of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass.”

“For me as a musician, it’s always fun for me to hear a lot of the Chinese […] scales and technical parts put together in the show,” Houton said. “That’s been fun for me.”

Houton was a session guitarist, sideman, and singer/songwriter for many years before turning to producing and helping develop artists, according to his website, AHM Media.

He said the dances depicting modern China were an eye-opener for him.

Houton refers to a couple of dances that show scenes from China today, where those who practice the spiritual practice of Falun Dafa are persecuted. Falun Dafa involves meditation, and a teaching of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

“It certainly helps people see—or at least think about—that there is a different side to what they might be hearing and seeing about China—so that’s a good thing.”

Reporting by Ivan Pentchoukov and Charlotte Cuthbertson

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The next performances in the northeastern United States are in Philadelphia May 3-5. For more information, visit

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.