Retired Major: Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra ‘Just Made You Feel Good’

October 5, 2013 Updated: November 14, 2017

NEW YORK—Retired army major Rick Knight thought the concert by Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall was “one of the best things I’ve ever been to.”

“It just made you feel good,” Mr. Knight said, adding that the encore pieces “made you want to listen to the next note and just keep going.”

After a standing ovation, the orchestra performed a four-song encore of short, all-original pieces. The songs were a selection of Chinese inspired pieces—including a drum piece from the Tang Dynasty and a Tibetan dance composition.

“It was a nice short burst, it was moving, it was upbeat,” Mr. Knight said of the encore selection.

Primarily known as the world’s premier classical Chinese dance performance, Shen Yun’s three dance companies have toured in over 30 countries since 2006 when the artists came together with the mission to revive China’s traditional culture. Created from 5,000 years of history, the company uses historical legends and themes and draws on styles from China’s over 50 ethnic minority groups.

Last year the symphony orchestra debuted in Carnegie Hall, distinguishing itself as the only philharmonic orchestra in the world to include traditional Chinese instruments and music as a permanent feature of its concerts.

Both China and the West have a long history of artists integrating spirituality into their work, according to the Shen Yun website. Today, Shen Yun’s artists follow this tradition, drawing inspiration from the spiritual discipline of Falun Dafa.

Mr. Knight noted the transcendent aspects of the concert.

“I thought it was very spiritual. It just made you relax and think that life … had a very meaningful purpose,” he said.

Reporting by Alec Wang and June Fakkert

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