NEW YORK—The afternoon performance of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Oct. 15 ended with three encore performances to a lively and cheering crowd that gave four standing ovations.
Needless to say, the orchestra, which blends classical Western and Chinese instruments, was received well by audience members, who described its performance as beautiful and filled with passion.
“This is an excellent production, and I could stay for a few more encores—for as long as the applause kept coming,” said Reverend Thomas following the performance.
“It was a total enjoyment,” he said, noting “the audience stayed with it, and appreciated everything that’s being done.”
Until 2012, the unique orchestra could only be heard accompanying dance performances of Shen Yun, a classical Chinese dance and music company based in New York that performs in top theaters around the world. Since Shen Yun’s establishment in 2006, audience members had shown increasing interest in its orchestra, and due to requests, the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra was born.
The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra shares the same mission as Shen Yun itself, which according to the program book, is to “present and revive China’s authentic traditions” from a culture that goes back 5,000 years; and it “revives stories and even melodies from ancient times.”
While the performance on Oct. 15 included Western classics from Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvořák, the majority of the pieces were original.
Reverend Thomas described the sounds of the violins and the Chinese erhu as being like “a morning with the fog slowly lifting.”
“With a lot of the East and West intermingled,” he said, “there’s a great beauty in it.”
The venue also lent well to the performance, he said, as “you can see everything, you can hear everything, … It’s a beautiful experience.”
Jeremy Voisim, an electrician, said, “I like the passion they put into the performance.”
With the bel canto vocalists, he said, “you can definitely see it meant a lot to them,” and with the musicians, they created a “depth of motion” where the performers had an air of “trying to reach out to someone with everything that’s in you, and doing what you love.”
Similar sentiments were common throughout the audience.
“It’s wonderful, the sound is excellent,” said Steve Burns, who is now retired after 25 years as a police officer. He attended the performance with his wife, Kim Burns, and his 8-year-old daughter, Violet, who plays piano and the oboe.
Kim Burns, who works in the legal field, said that “it definitely exceeds my expectations. The music was beautiful.” She said the performance by Fiona Zheng, a violinist, who led a rendition of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, by Camille Saint-Saëns, was fabulous.
Danahyah Evans, a high school student and a pianist who has played at Lee Wiley Hall at Carnegie Hall, said she also enjoyed the sound of the Chinese erhu. She shared her feeling that the instruments had a sense of depth of history to them.
Her mother, Nicola Evans, who works at a capital company, said, “It’s quite compelling.”
Steve Danielsen, who works in insurance, likewise enjoyed the Western and Chinese influences in the performance. “I loved it,” he said, noting “the touches with the Asian instruments and the singing was a really nice balance.”
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
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.