HOUSTON—Alla Aranovskaya, first violinist of the St. Petersburg String Quartet as well as a professor at Wichita State University, was blown away by the musicians of Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing a difficult to catch performance at Houston Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on Dec. 29.
Graduate of the famed St. Petersburg Conservatory, she started the St. Petersburg String Quartet with Leonid Shukayev in 1985. The group has since earned a Grammy nomination and performed at venues around the world, winning awards at several international competitions.
As a professional musician, she was particularly drawn to New York-based Shen Yun for its one-of-a-kind orchestra. Shen Yun seeks to revive China’s traditional culture and heritage through an artistic performance of classical Chinese dance and music. What makes Shen Yun’s orchestra special is that it combines traditional eastern instruments and a Western symphony to create a refreshing sound never heard before.
Ms. Aranovskaya had wanted to see Shen Yun for a while after first hearing about it from a mother of one of her students. But she had not been able to make the performance at Kansas City where she lives because she was traveling to perform. When she realized her trip to Houston coincided with when Shen Yun was performing here, she quickly acquired tickets.
“For me, it was very interesting—the sound of the classical [European] and Chinese instruments together.” Listening to the Shen Yun Orchestra, Ms. Aranovskaya said she may have found some inspiration for her own work. “Maybe we will be experimenting with that as well,” she said.
She complimented the wind and string players as well as the conductor for their remarkable skills. But what touched her most was the soloist erhu virtuoso. “She was incredible,” Ms. Aranovskaya said. Greatly moved by her performance, she said, “If there is any chance, please send her my appreciation.”
The erhu, sometimes referred to as the Chinese violin, is known for its ability to convey a wide range of emotions with only two strings. As the Shen Yun website states, “The erhu is incredibly expressive … its melodies can be tender or sonorous. In its lowest and middle range, the erhu is especially stirring and somber, a quality eminently suitable for conveying the grand pageant of China’s history and the emotions of its people.”
Ms. Aranovskaya also complimented the singers of Shen Yun for their skill and expression. In reference to the soprano Geng Haolan, she said, “her sound was absolutely beautiful and very strong.” As the Shen Yun website states, their singers are notable for their use of the genuine bel canto tenor and soprano technique, a skill rarely seen today.
Besides the musical skill of Shen Yun, Ms. Aranovskaya also loved the overall effect of the performance. In particular, she was mesmerized by the vibrant, original costumes. She loved them so much, she said laughing, “I wish to have every single dress [from Shen Yun] as my concert dress.”
For Ms. Aranovskaya, the seamless coordination of the music, the classical Chinese dance, the beautiful costumes, and the rich cultural values embedded within the program coalesced into a performance of the utmost caliber. “For me, this show was absolutely incredible, colorful, and spiritual,” Mrs. Aranovskaya said. “It was a really great experience.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Irene Luo
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.