Shen Yun Orchestra Impresses Musician

April 12, 2012 Updated: August 14, 2015

LONDON—Shen Yun Performing Arts opened a four-day run at the London Coliseum on Thursday, Apr. 12, enchanting the audience with a beautiful and interesting performance.

Musician Peter Graham attended the performance and shared his experience. Shen Yun’s unique orchestra, melding a Western philharmonic orchestra and Chinese instruments such as the erhu, dizi, pipa, and gong, caught his attention.

“I listen out for different sounds, there’s something almost like a Tibetan horn in there, and there’s different traditional things,” Mr. Graham noticed.

Mr. Graham has made notable achievements in his field. He read music at Edinburgh and London universities, earning a PhD in composition. He enjoys an international reputation as one of the leading composers of music for the British-style brass band. His music has been recorded and performed by the likes of the US Air Force Band, the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, and the Royal Norwegian Navy Band.

Besides boasting a fresh and original orchestra, Shen Yun counts winners of international dance competitions among its artists. Classical Chinese dance, an ancient and extremely difficult system to master is at the heart of its performance, along with ethnic and folk dance.

Mr. Graham on Thursday particularly enjoyed the ethnic dance called In the Mountains. The Amei ethnicity, one of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, are depicted by dancers in elaborate headdresses and often hold hands while shifting formations. “Amei dance, like its people, emphasizes teamwork, coordination, and community,” explains Shen Yun’s programme.

Based in New York, Shen Yun cannot currently travel to China. The communist party fears the internationally-renowned performing arts company, because it shows the true essence of Chinese culture, along with its rich and profound system of values.

Most of all, Mr. Graham felt strongly about Shen Yun’s mission of reviving the 5,000 year-old, divinely inspired Chinese culture after it was nearly decimated by communist rule.

“I feel that’s very essential because we have to overcome 60 years of [a] ridiculous system really trying to destroy spirituality, but without spirituality there’s not really a civilization, and especially with China,” he commented. “We need the spiritual values of China because they’re thousands of years old and can give a lot to the show.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber

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. Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform at The London Coliseum, April 12-15.

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