Shen Yun Orchestra Touches Atlanta’s Soul

October 28, 2015

ATLANTA—Art, when it’s potent enough, can change people. It can reach down and reverberate through people’s bodies and touch their souls. Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra had this effect on attendees at the orchestra’s penultimate performance this year.

Valan Martini, the president of a small company, had wanted to attend a Shen Yun performance for years but always had scheduling problems. This year he finally attended the orchestra as it travels solo—without Shen Yun Performing Arts’ company of dancers—at Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall on Oct. 27.

Both the full company and the Symphony Orchestra share the same purpose—to bring 5,000 years of China’s culture, considered semi-divine, to the stage as a means of both sharing and preserving it.

Much of traditional Chinese culture had been decimated during the Communist party’s decades of rule, and the arts were usurped for the party’s own purposes. But Shen Yun aims to change that and bring back China’s glorious culture.

Symphony Orchestra Conductor Milen Nachev explains on Shen Yun’s website that the orchestra is doing more than playing music: ” We go deep inside the meaning of the music, even past the emotional side—most orchestras go to the emotional side, but we go beyond that—to illustrate the deeper meaning.’

“This is something that is really, really special, really special; you have to be here to experience it. It will change who you are,” Mr. Martini said warmly.

Technically, Symphony Orchestra manages to accomplish the difficult feat of uniting the two different scale systems of the East and West, for underlying the characteristic Chinese melodies is a full orchestra of Western instruments.

“The music [is] the language that passes the reasoning mind and talks straight to the heart,” he said. “This is a way of speaking to the heart across the continents, across countries, across cultures … It really is special,” Mr. Martini said.

He noted the accomplishment of the orchestra managing to blend the two sounds, as well as the wonderful volume of the singers.

The orchestra tours with award-winning three vocalists as well as featured instrumentalists.

“Whatever you have to do to make the time—even in bad weather that we have here tonight, it’s really, really a special thing to see,” Mr. Martini said, speaking to any potential audience members.

“It is a very special sound, and something not to be missed. If there’s any way to make it, you ought to be here,” he said.

Deborah Elizabeth Merriman also attended the Atlanta performance of Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 27, 2015. She felt the musicality
Deborah Elizabeth Merriman also attended the Atlanta performance of Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 27, 2015. She felt the musicality “vibrates, it vibrates in your soul!” (Courtesy of NTD Television)

Deborah Elizabeth Merriman also attended the performance that evening. The author of “Hiding Places,” enjoyed the unique quality of the Chinese instruments and the singers, but spoke in more philosophic terms.

“Music is universal, a universal language,” which she could feel with every fiber of her body: “I feel the violas, I feel the violin, I feel the male vocals, I feel the female vocals, and I’m at home.”

She was very impressed that Shen Yun is keeping alive China’s traditional music. She said that the Chinese have had to fight to keep to their instruments. Shen Yun did whatever it took to accomplish that, saving the beauty of music.

“It vibrates, it vibrates in your soul,” she said.

Reporting by NTD Television and Sharon Kilarski

The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra finishes its tour on Oct. 31 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. For information about the orchestra’s October performances, visit

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.