NEW YORK—As Barbara Nelson left Carnegie Hall, she noticed all the other concertgoers were giving voice to what she felt: uplifted.
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra had just played the first of two concerts on Oct. 10, with a wide ranging program showcasing the grandeur of classical Western music and the divine majesty of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.
The program included solo vocalists and a violin virtuoso. The orchestra demonstrated pomp and circumstance with Tchaikovsky’s “Marche Solennelle,” the same coronation theme that was played as the first piece at Carnegie Hall (when it was still named the Music Hall) on the day it opened. It also played several original compositions with a distinctly Chinese sound, blending instruments like the pipa into the orchestra, or having strings and brass mimic the sounds of Chinese instruments heard in folk tunes.
“It felt very spiritual and it seemed to touch all emotions,” Ms. Nelson said. And the performance received a standing ovation and two encores.
The instrumentation was new to Ms. Nelson, who plays the flute herself, and at first she thought the sound of the erhu was a human voice. It is a common first reaction, as the wide-ranging pitch of the instrument allows for incredibly emotive music.
After hearing from other audience members, it seems Ms. Nelson’s spiritual, emotional experience was indeed universal.
For Luis Martinez Montes, a Spanish diplomat at the UN, the music evoked pictures of Chinese landscapes as he listened. Taking a quick look at the program, it is easy to see why. Each song comes with a story. “Snow-Capped Celebration” is a dance in the Himalayas, and “Sleeves of Grace,” paints a scene from the Zhou Dynasty, south of the Yangtze River.
“The quality is the best here,” Mr. Martinez Montes said. “It was a wonderful blend of western and Chinese traditions, and the musicians were absolutely splendid.”
Roxanne Carfora, a physician who brought old friends and family with her to the performance, had a similar experience.
“You felt the music and you could visualize everything with the music,” said,” Mrs. Carfora said. “The combination of the old instruments, old civilization with new civilization, it was fantastic.”
Frank Carfora said he even thought he heard horses in the background in some of the pieces. There were uplifting pieces, songs with stories of legendary battles, and soul-stirring solo vocalists.
“It brought tears to a few people’s eyes, the people we came with,” Mr. Carfora said of the vocalists. “It was really powerful.”
Elena Yaroshenko attended the performance with a group of friends as well.
“It was amazing, and it was very emotional,” Ms. Yaroshenko said. The tenor Tian Ge and soprano Geng Haolan had brought her to tears as well.
“It was beautiful. The music brings so much, all this joy and affection and happiness, it was beautiful,” she said, thanking the Symphony Orchestra members.
Reporting by NTD Television and Catherine Yang.
The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra continues its tour with a performance on Oct. 11 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and on Oct. 13 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Florida. For information about the orchestra’s October performances, visit ShenYun.com/Symphony.
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. Shen Yun Performing Arts begins its 2016 world tour on Dec. 22, 2015.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time.