Professor of Music: Shen Yun ‘a Magnificent, Marvelous, Spectacular Experience’

April 22, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

NEW YORK—Dr. Stanley Cohen has dedicated his life to music and the entertainment and performing arts industries, largely as an educator through his role as President and Professor of Music at Five Towns College.

“You are speaking to someone who has vast experience in the entertainment industry,” he said.

After seeing the Shen Yun Performing Arts Company at the Lincoln Center on April 22, Dr. Cohen was amazed.

“There is nothing like this anywhere in the world, it was just a magnificent, marvelous, spectacular experience,” he said. “The coordination and the skill and the professional level was just marvelous. It was just a delight to experience.”

Shen Yun, a New York-based company, has set out to restore China’s 5,000 years of divinely-inspired culture, which was largely wiped out after 60 years of communist rule.

Through colorful and exhilarating performances of classical Chinese dance and music, Shen Yun presents “traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization,” the Shen Yun website states.

Dr. Cohen was particularly impressed with the 40-member Shen Yun orchestra, which tours with the company.

“The orchestra was magnificent. It was so good that in the beginning I thought it was recorded, but when I went down to the stage to see the size of the orchestra, and the conductor, and the variety of percussion and instruments and the music and coordination between the dancing and the orchestra—it was amazing,” he said. “It was the highest professional level that I have experienced in a long, long time.”

“The singing was marvelous,” he continued. “The piano accompaniment and of course, the costume changes—I have never experienced that. There must have been at least 10, 12, 15 magnificent costume changes. The dancing was extraordinary.”

Shen Yun depicts the legends of Chinese ancient past right up to the contemporary story of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China today.

Stories are told not only through dance and song, but also with the aid of the latest digital technology used to animate the backdrops in unusual and creative ways.

Professor Cohen was impressed.

“The special effects of the filming, where the actors and the dancers disappear into the screen, back and forth, was something I have never seen before and I would advise anyone who hasn’t seen it: it is a must see. It is just marvelous and spectacular, a delightful and wonderful experience,” he said.

Dr. Cohen was accompanied by Dr. Patricia Schmidt, chair of education at Five Towns College.

“I can just second everything Dr. Cohen said,” she said. “I had the most wonderful experience seeing this program today. And the special effects where the actors disappear into the screen and come back off the screen was truly a delightful event and experience to see. It was a wonderful afternoon, and I certainly hope everyone gets a chance to come out and see this wonderful show.”

Dr. Schmidt commented on the Shen Yun Orchestra, which combines Western classical instruments alongside Chinese classical instruments.

“Each culture has a different scale and everything. To put it all together in one seamless event was just terrific,” she said.

Dr. Cohen said he and Dr. Schmidt had “never seen anything like” Shen Yun.

“We are very happy and pleased that we were able to have this marvelous interesting delightful and lovely experience. It is a once in a lifetime,” he said. “I would recommend to everyone, you must see it.”

Reporting by NTD TV, writing by Kristen Meriwether.

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Upcoming performances in the United States include Chattanooga, Tennessee, on April 24, and Columbus, Ohio, on April 26 and April 27.

For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.