Listening to Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, Taiwanese Orchestra Director Finds Himself Brought Back in Time

October 1, 2016

TAICHUNG, Taiwan—With a history going back to 1945, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra has long had the mission to promote classical music on the island. On Sept. 29, its current director, Liu Suan-yung, was at awe at the journey he took while listening to Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra.

“When I heard the sounds of the erhu and pipa, I had a feeling that I had been taken back to the world 200 years ago,” said Mr. Liu, who was in attendance for the second of two performances at Taichung Chung Hsing Hall.

Mr. Liu was very clear about what made this great journey back in time possible—the excellent skills of the conductor, the composers, and the musicians, who brought together the two vastly different musical traditions of the East and West.

The symphony orchestra, with its headquarters in New York, has amazed people around the world with its ingenuity in creating harmonious music by combining Western instruments, such as percussion and woodwinds, with Chinese instruments, like the erhu, a Chinese violin, and the plucked pipa.

“Traditional Chinese instruments have their own distinct sounds, especially the string and wind instruments,” Mr. Liu said. “It is not easy to have these instruments work with Western instruments.”

This difficulty, however, was taken care by the skillful Shen Yun composers, said Mr. Liu, explaining that the combination was not only aptly done, but the characteristics of each individual instrument was also retained and well presented.

“The composers must have fully understood the characteristic of both the Eastern and Western instruments.”

Speaking from his own professional background, Mr. Liu likewise was also full of praise for Milen Nachev, the conductor of the symphony orchestra. “He is a conductor with profound skills, and his interpretation of every piece of music is wonderful,” said Mr. Liu.

What struck Mr. Liu the most about the conductor was “how easily he was able to interpret the different music,” and for him to do what he did, he could only be “extremely talented.”

Like many Taiwanese audience members who have already watched the performance, Mr. Liu had a soft spot for the piece “Green Mountain,” a piece which sheds light on the spiritual devotion of people living on Ali Mountain.

“With the blending of traditional instruments, including the pipa, the song has a completely different flavor,” Mr. Liu said. “This is the first time that I have heard such a musical arrangement.”

Mr. Liu, who came to listen to the performance with his friends, said it was so great to see so many young musicians so devoted and so dedicated to their music. He added that he would recommend the performance to others.

“If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss this opportunity.”

Reporting by 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.

Taichung City, Taiwan, Asia
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra