Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s Chinese Instruments Woo Public Research Principal

October 19, 2013 Updated: December 27, 2013    

COSTA MESA, Calif.—Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra brought sounds from the East and the West to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Friday, Oct. 18, delighting the audience.

“I loved it. I like the combination of the Chinese lighter melodies, and the Beethovens. I like the combinations of the songs,” said John Fairbank, a principal of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates, a public opinion research firm. Mr. Fairbank is also a senior fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research.

The concert included both original pieces inspired by China’s 5,000 years of culture, as well as classics from the Western repertoire by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

“There is no orchestra like Shen Yun,” explains the orchestra’s website. “It is the world’s only orchestra that combines both classical Western and Chinese instruments as its permanent members.”

Mr. Fairbank was impressed with the unique combination of East and West instrumentation, and was especially intrigued with the erhu, a Chinese stringed instrument. “I thought it was a pretty nice blend,” he said.

As far as the effect the music had on him, Fairbanks said, “Serene, mellow. I like the melodies.” The musicians’ source of inspiration is rooted in traditional Chinese culture.

“Using a Western symphony orchestra to present and revive China’s authentic traditions is no easy task. Interpreting Chinese musical styles on Western musical instruments requires remarkable versatility, informed imagination, and rigorous collaboration on the part of the composer, conductor, and performers,” says the orchestra’s website.

He said he would tell his friends that “It was good, it was interesting, it was different.”

Reporting by Teresa Liu and Robin Kemker

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