NEW YORK—After seeing Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra perform at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 5, Ms. Dale Robertson said everyone should experience it.
“It’s almost beyond words,” said Ms. Robertson, a management consultant for private equity. “It was magnificent. It was a banquet of music in the highest order in terms of divinity.
“It makes you celebrate humanity,” she added.
The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra seamlessly blends Eastern and Western classical instruments, creating a fresh, harmonious sound. Its performance in New York is part of a U.S. tour, with upcoming performances in Boston, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
“From Beethoven, to Tchaikovsky, to the traditional ancient Asian sounds, and the trumpets, and the sopranos, I mean it was just magnificent,” Ms. Robertson said. “There isn’t anything that I came out feeling like I wish I had heard a little bit of this or a little bit of that.”
She said the orchestra will go on to do great things because it is so moving. “Somehow it transcends all cultures, all languages. It is a language of the emotions. And it is so deep. It is rich; the compositions are so rich.”
Reading the program book, Ms. Robertson learned about the background of the various pieces. She particularly liked the sound of the gong—the large percussion instrument, which is traditionally struck to mark the entrance of an emperor or the beginning of a significant occasion.
“There really is a lot of depth, complexity, and sensitivity,” Ms. Robertson said. “That’s what I love so much about it.”
Ms. Robertson, who attends classical music performances “as often as possible,” was particularly pleased to find that the main theme of the performance revolved around spirituality.
“The themes all seem to evolve around spirituality, divinity, heaven, creation,” Ms. Robertson said. “That’s what makes it so lovely.”
For thousands of years, spirituality, originating from Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, was the essence of Chinese culture. Shen Yun’s composers draw on China’s 5,000 years of divine culture to compose vast musical landscapes. In the first half of the performance, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra evoked this theme in compositions like “Dancing for the Divine,” “Sewing the Flowers of Heaven,” “Creation,” “The Emperor Journeys to the Moon,” and “Heavenly Secret.”
“The message is I think a very high divinity. It is like music from the gods. It is all about divinity, and creation, and the divineness of mankind, and the gift that we have been given. Somehow the music illustrates all of that,” said Ms. Robertson.
Before debuting at Carnegie Hall last year, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra performed as the musical accompaniment to Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. For its concert performance, the orchestra rounded out its repertoire with Western compositions.
The orchestra’s four co-conductors are from all over the world, from Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and Bulgaria. “They offer such a variety of style,” commented Ms. Robertson. She added that the conductors’ talent and level of education is amazing.
In the Western school of music, Ms. Robertson is particularly drawn to chamber orchestra music, which is also spiritually inspired. While reading the program book, she was looking forward to Yohei Sato, a Japanese conductor who has experience conducting chamber orchestras.
Reporting by NTD Television, Amelia Pang, Ivan Pentchoukov, and Ananda West
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is on a seven-city tour with performances in Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, from Sept. 27–Oct. 22. For more information visit: Symphony.Shenyun.com