WASHINGTON—Despite the fact that the original compositions played by Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra are clearly Chinese in both the sound of their instruments and in the flavor of their melodies, there are always times when listeners say the pieces evoke a feeling of home—wherever they happen to be from. An Afghanistan liaison to the Defense Departmant, Ahmad Katawazai, had just such a feeling after attending Shen Yun’s Kennedy Center concert on Oct. 26.
“I find a connection between the music that we have in Afghanistan and this,” he said.
The universal quality of the music might be because the symphony plays Western classics alongside traditional Chinese music, thus going beyond just one musical tradition.
“It was a good mixture of Western and Asian music,” Mr. Katawazai said, “which gave it a different and unique task.”
Or it could be a deeper reason that brings a sense of familiarity to people.
Mr. Katawazai also said the music brought him “back in the mountains of Afghanistan, and the music that we listened to over there, … it touches the bottom of the heart.”
“Heart-touching music,” he called it.
Shen Yun’s mission, as an orchestra touring on its own or as the accompaniment to Shen Yun Performing Arts dances, is to restore the traditional arts of China which emphasized a harmony between the earth and the heavens.
Audiences hearing, “The Mystical Udumbara,” for example, telling the legend of a sacred flower that only blooms once every three thousand years—when the Holy King arrives on Earth, can relate to the the universal themes of divinity and man awaiting salvation.
“It was fantastic,” Mr. Katawazai said of the whole concert.
With reporting by NTD Television and Sharon Kilarski
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. For information about the last October performance, 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.