Shen Yun Is a Marriage of East and West

Chicago audience finds music interesting, beautiful, and magnificent
October 19, 2015

CHICAGO—”The marriage of the Western and the Asian/Eastern is magnificent to see,” said Ted Evans, a customer service director, about the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra performance at the Symphony Center in Chicago on Oct. 18.

“It is classic Asian or Chinese culture, and it is timeless,” Mr. Evans said.

“Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra blends the spirit of Chinese music with the power of a Western orchestra. Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass accentuate the sound of ancient Chinese instruments—like the two-stringed erhu and the plucked pipa,” states the Shen Yun website.

The concert features all-original pieces by Shen Yun composers along with classical works by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Pablo de Sarasate. In addition, bel canto solo vocalists sing original compositions in Chinese.

Audience members claim the effect to be wonderfully moving, well reflected in Chicago, which gave the performance two standing ovations. Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra reciprocated with two encores.

“It is a powerful experience,” said Robert Sherrell, a retired vice president of AT&T. “The emotions that I feel are not just ‘words’ from a musical instrument. You can feel it—the powerful meaning from all of the performers,” he said.

John Schwandke heard about the performance from a representative of the orchestra who spoke to the Rotary Club of the Financial District of Chicago. It was his first experience with a live, professional orchestra. “I chose the right one to come to,” he said. “It was absolutely fantastic.”

He was deeply impressed by the violinist: “She brought me to tears because of the talent it would require to play a tune like that. The whole orchestra is just fantastic … I am so excited. I’m glad I came.”

A Cultural Experience

Brian and Leanne Schuette with their children enjoy the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert at the Symphony Center in Chicago on Oct. 18, 2015. (Andy Darin/Epoch Times)
Brian and Leanne Schuette with their children enjoy the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert at the Symphony Center, in Chicago, on Oct. 18, 2015. (Andy Darin/Epoch Times)

Brian Schuette said he and his wife, Leanne, had a goal “to expose the kids to the fact that music is international, and I think they got that today. As far as the performance, it was wonderful.”

Ms. Schuette said, “It was great. I travel to China a lot and for [the family] to get a feel for the culture, this was a great way to do it.”

Their son Luke said that he and his sister just wanted to come to an orchestra. “This seems like the perfect choice because it blends two different types of music and wow! It was very good.”

Most Beautiful Thing I have Ever Heard

Jack McKernin (L), Karen McKernin and Bob Kemp (R), attend the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert at the Symphony Center in Chicago on Oct. 18, 2015. (Andy Darin/Epoch Times)
Jack McKernin (L), Karen Wallerstein and Bob Kemp (R), attend the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert at the Symphony Center, in Chicago, on Oct. 18, 2015. (Andy Darin/Epoch Times)

Bob Kemp, retired from the army special forces, has attended symphony performances for 30 years. He said, “I’ve never been to a Chinese performance before [of] classical music. This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard here, and I go here all the time. This is such beautiful music. The melody, the orchestration, the strings at the right time, the horns at the right time; everything was so perfect.”

“Enchanting, I felt at times I was in a different world when listening to that music,” he said.

Beautiful and Interesting

Anna and Mason Moore enjoy the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert at the Symphony Center in Chicago on Oct. 18, 2015. (Andy Darin/Epoch Times)
Anna and Mason Moore enjoy the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert at the Symphony Center, in Chicago, on Oct. 18, 2015. (Andy Darin/Epoch Times)

Mason Moore, who attended the performance with Anna Moore, found the infusion of the Chinese instruments into a traditional symphony to be both beautiful and interesting. “I didn’t know anything about this before I came.”

“I would say bringing the Western and Eastern music together is very interesting, and it works really well,” Ms. Moore said.

Interviewed at intermission, she was eager to hear more of the Chinese instruments when the performance resumed. “It was just beautiful, absolutely beautiful.”

Ms. Moore is looking forward to attending the Shen Yun Performing Arts dance and music performance in the spring of 2016 when it comes to Chicago. “I think that’s going to be fabulous,” she said.

The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra continues its tour with a performance on Oct. 21 at the Symphony Hall in Boston, Oct. 25 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Oct. 27 at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, and Oct. 31 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. For information about the orchestra’s October performances, visit ShenYun.com/Symphony

Reporting by Andy Darin, Stacey Tang, and Cat Rooney

New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. Shen Yun Performing Arts begins its 2016 world tour on Dec. 22, 2015.

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.