Novelist Moved by the Music of Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra

October 6, 2013 Updated: November 14, 2017

NEW YORK—The unique blending of East and West by the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra moved novelist Jerry Mavec when he heard it the first time on Saturday night at Carnegie Hall.

“It’s a very fresh approach for me,” said Mr. Mavec. The orchestra blends traditional Chinese instruments such as the erhu seamlessly into a classical symphony orchestra. It is the first of its kind.

Mr. Mavec, who plays the harp himself, said it was interesting to hear the scales. Chinese music uses a pentatonic scale while classical Western music uses 12 pitches. Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra has found a way to blend the two while still honoring the innate characters of the different instruments.

Katie, Mr. Mavec’s friend, accompanied him to the performance as well. She was delighted to see all the different instruments.

“I loved all the rhythms,” she said. “It seemed like a landscape to me.”

The performances included a mix of classical pieces like Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, and original compositions which debuted in the Shen Yun Performing Arts tours like The Emperor Journeys to the Moon by Gao Yuan.

“There was a lot of emotion too, the different contrast in the dynamics,” Mr. Mavec said. “The different pacing in the music was very evocative.”

Reporting by Amelia Pang and Catherine Yang

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is on a seven-city tour with performances in Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, from Sept. 27–Oct. 22. For more information, visit