ATLANTA—A window to another world opens on Oct. 27 at the Symphony Hall in Woodruff Arts Center as the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra has made Atlanta a part of its itinerary for the first time as it travels around North America this month.
According to the New York-based Shen Yun, the orchestra “breathes new life into themes and musical styles from ancient times. From the elegant and soothing music of imperial courts to lively folk melodies, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra captures the spirit of five millennia of Chinese civilization in a way never heard before.”
Conductor Milen Nachev said, “We want to give the audience not only an emotional pleasure, but the experience of discovering a completely different world behind the music.”
Those who have experienced Shen Yun Performing Arts know that the music “draws on cherished ancient melodies and delightful musical styles to create a brand new, yet wonderfully familiar, experience,” as Shen Yun says.
This year, the concert is features the solo debut of violinist Fiona Zheng, who is performing Pablo de Sarasate’s famed Zigeunerweisen, or “Gypsy Airs,” with orchestral accompaniment.
Zheng has been playing since she was 5 years old, and her father was also a violinist. Speaking of her debut at Carnegie Hall, she said “Whether you’re at Carnegie Hall, or just among family and friends, the most important thing is creating a connection with the audience. That process of sharing your heart’s compassion with others is what I find most fulfilling.”
Shen Yun’s classical Chinese dance and music companies, which were established in 2006, have been visiting Atlanta for many years as part of their world tour, but this is the first time the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, which is an expanded version of the orchestras that accompany the dance productions, is visiting the city.
Matt and Colette Castleberry saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Cobb Energy Centre in Atlanta, in 2013. “The orchestra was wonderful,” said Mrs. Castleberry, a research chemist. “Fantastic. The compositions were excellent.”
“I like the way that they composed the East meets West combination,” said Mrs. Castleberry, who was a ballerina until she was 18 years old. “It really highlighted the blending of all cultures, I thought, because [it] had a lot of the European instruments. But the way that they married with the ancient Chinese instruments really highlighted some of the differences—but also some of the similarities.”
Mr. Castleberry agreed. “I would have to say the orchestra was fantastic. The composition was excellent. I loved the way that the composers were able to put everything together,” he said.
Per Brevig is a Julliard professor and conductor. He heard the orchestra in New York. He said, “That’s compliments to the composers that are able to integrate the two kinds of instruments—delightful.”
Lynne Flater, who plays violin in the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, said in 2012, “I love the music. It was absolutely beautiful and it was wonderful to see such a robust orchestra pit so the violins had a lot to play.
The orchestra began to tour separately in 2013. The 2015 concert includes pieces by the Shen Yun composers and by Mahler, Sarasate, and Tchaikovsky.
The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is rooted in 5,000 years of civilization. It shares in Shen Yun’s mission to revive China’s five millennia of divinely inspired culture.
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: ShenYun.com/Symphony