Seeing Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, Japanese Company Director Delighted at How East Meets the West

September 16, 2016

TOKYO, Japan—As Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra marked the end of its stopover in Japan with two performances, one person in the audience walked away appreciating the essence of what the symphony orchestra brought—the perfect harmony between the East and West.

“The grace of the East was accentuated by the magnificent power of the Western instruments. It’s indeed extremely exquisite,” said Dr. Takao Toda, director general of Human Development Department at the International Cooperation Agency of Japan (JICA). He saw the second and final performance at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall on the evening of Sept. 15.

According to Shen Yun’s website, the Symphony Orchestra brings to life “soul-stirring melodies” with Chinese instruments in the lead and a Western symphony as a foundation. This unique combination aims to create a new frontier in classical music.

“It was not about randomly putting together instruments from both the East and West. It is about the co-existence of the unique features of all instruments,” explained Dr. Toda.

What made the performance even more extraordinary, he said, was how the musicians were able to perform equally well both the Chinese melodies as well as Western classics, including a Hungarian dance tune.

“Never did I imagine that such distinct Eastern and Western melodies could be performed by these same musicians. I am truly amazed at their high level of professionalism.”

The Hungarian dance tune that Dr. Toda was referring to was the Hungarian Dance No. 5 in F minor.

Every year, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra treats audience to different Western classics. Last year, the classics were Tchaikovsky’s “Marche Solennelle” and Sarasate’s “Gypsy Airs.”

Dr. Toda took notice of the people making up the orchestra—both Westerners and Asians. And he was impressed that all of them had a “perfect grasp” of the unique features of both Eastern and Western music.

Erhu soloists play at Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra's concert in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept. 15, 2016. (Epoch Times)
Erhu soloists play at Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s concert in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept. 15, 2016. (Epoch Times)

One Chinese instrument stood out among all others for Dr. Toda, who spotted how the erhu, a Chinese violin with two strings, could, despite its distinctively different sounds, blend so well with the symphony orchestra.

“There isn’t the slightest clash between the two. This is truly unbelievable,” said Dr. Toda, while emphasizing that “Being Japanese, I enjoyed it very much, and it’s still lingering in my mind.”

Erhu, an instrument which dates back 4,000 years, has an enchanting sound that can mimic the human voice, according to Shen Yun’s website. This powerful instrument, with the Western orchestra acting as the bedrock, can resonate deep in the heart.

Dr. Toda considered himself lucky to have had the opportunity to see the symphony orchestra at the best theater in Japan.

“Wow! It was truly a refreshing experience!”

Reporting by Niu Bin, Frank Fang and Billy Shyu

New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. For information about the October performances, visit:

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.