NEW YORK—Acclaimed composer and guitarist Spiros Exaras has long enjoyed the ancient Chinese instrument erhu, and seeing it embedded into a Western classical orchestra by Shen Yun, he now feels inspired to write something for the instrument himself.
"It's very cinematic," he said at a Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra concert at David Geffen Hall. Mr. Exara attended the evening performance with Yanna Katsageorgi, a journalist. Mr. Exara has performed with several orchestras in Europe and with Grammy award winners, including performing as the guitar soloist in a Mariah Carey hit.
"It lifts you up," Mr. Exaras added. "It has strong emotions, and it really, you know, it travels. Actually, at some point it [transported] me back to the ages. Then, it got me back to today's world."
The New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is unique, known as the only one in the world to permanently combine ancient Chinese instruments with a Western classical orchestra.
The highlight of the program was the original compositions written by the Shen Yun Performing Arts' in-house composers, utilizing ancient Chinese melodies and instruments as well as the grandeur of a full orchestra.
"It's very interesting to see how the cultures blend," he said. "It needs really mastery to create something really interesting, because it's very easy to become ugly if you're not careful."
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra was, he said, "beautiful, stunning."
Ms. Katsageorgi said she also felt uplifted by the music.
"It lifts me up. It's very spiritual music," she added, explaining that it was not like religious music but instead imbued with spirit. "It relaxes you and it's extremely alive for me."