Toronto’s World Famous Conductor Intrigued by Shen Yun

October 17, 2014

TORONTO—Kerry Stratton, conductor of the Toronto Concert Orchestra and Wish Opera, had seen Shen Yun Performing Arts’ presentation of classical Chinese dance and music before. Captivated by the New York-based company’s blending of Eastern and Western instruments in its orchestra, the internationally recognized conductor came back to see the performance of Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 16 at Roy Thomson Hall. 

“I don’t think I will see two concerts like this all year. How can there be another one? I would have to follow this orchestra,” Mr. Stratton said.

The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra uses a Western orchestra as its foundation, complemented by traditional Chinese instruments such as the two-stringed erhu.

The program for the October tour of the orchestra includes both original classical Chinese compositions as well as Western classics such as pieces by Mikhail Glinka and Hector Berlioz. 

“I like this idea because they had variety, and they had multiple soloists, not one singer, they had three singers, and then three erhu players, and three trumpet players, and then orchestra pieces in between … beautiful mix like that. I like that a lot,” Mr. Stratton said.

Mr. Stratton has conducted for numerous prominent orchestras around the world, including the Czech Philharmonic, the Budapest Concert Orchestra, and the Prague Chamber Philharmonic, just to name a few. 

The seasoned conductor had high praise for the two conductors of the evening, Milen Nachev and William Kuo, both for their mastery of their art and their accompaniment of the entire performance. 

“Both of them are very good at what they’re doing, they know their business,” Mr. Stratton said. “And they accompanied all night long, two hours of the hardest thing, they did it, both good.”

“These conductors … kept the accompaniment just underneath of [the erhu], so they allow the erhu to sing, which is its big strength, it sings, so that’s why I think the combination was successful.”

What particularly impressed Mr. Stratton was the performance of the violin players, as they were very focused and uniform.

“I would like to kidnap them!” he said jokingly. 

With reporting by Dongyu Teng and Allen Zhou

New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time.

The orchestra’s North American tour runs through Oct. 27. For more information, visit

Toronto, Canada
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra