Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra Imbued With Spirit, Says Psychologist

October 16, 2013 Updated: November 14, 2017

DALLAS—Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra performed pieces both old and new with an enlightened spirit, said Mr. Scott Churchill, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas Tuesday evening.

“The blend of East and West is great,” said Mr. Churchill, a University of Dallas psychology professor and senior media critic for the USA Film Festival.

“But particularly the interpretation of both the Western and Eastern music—it sounds different when hearing it played by this orchestra, even the familiar Polonaise,” Mr. Churchill said, referencing the evening’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from “Eugene Onegin.” “It was a different spirit to it. I couldn’t put my finger on it—it was very enlightening.”

Mr. Churchill said the credit must be given to the performers. “I’m impressed with how into the performance the orchestra is,” he said. “They’re smiling while they’re playing and really putting their spirit and soul into it.”

The selection of pieces Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra performed includes classical pieces by the likes of Tchaikovsky as well as with original compositions like “Creation” by Jing Xian.

“That’s the part that I’m most struck by,” Mr. Churchill said of the original Shen Yun compositions. “It’s still humming in my head after they’re over.”

Mr. Churchill said he was also impressed by the themes he saw in the original pieces like “Creation,” and how effectively the compositions came through in short pieces.

“I think they’re beautiful. I think they’re short and sweet, and they deal with the divine and the heavenly,” Mr. Churchill said.

Mr. Churchill attended the performance with Ms. Elle Schuster, an artist whose photo-illustrations have graced the cover of magazines like TIME.

“They were great. I thought they were excellent,” Ms. Schuster said.

Ms. Schuster said she was glad to hear traditional Chinese instruments, like the pipa and erhu, blended into the symphony. “It’s very Romantic,” Ms. Schuster said of the original pieces. “

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