Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra left audience members at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, in a state of awe.
Charlene Rivera, a retired professor and former executive director at George Washington University, attended the performance and said it transports the audience to a panoply of destinations, both cultural and spiritual.
“The music is beautiful, it makes you think about the history of China which I don’t know a whole lot about; I know a little bit, but not huge amounts. It was very, very beautiful; beautifully done,” said Rivera. “Also the way the music is described in terms of bringing you to the garden—there are reminiscences of dancers and taking you to the creation scene, and demonstrating all of the different emotions that go through people’s minds, so it’s a lovely performance. It just made you feel good.”
According to its program book, the highlights of this year’s program include new pieces, such as “Homage to the Great Tang Dynasty,” which tells the story of Emperor Taizong. He brought the Middle Kingdom to the heights of civilization in what is now considered China’s cultural golden age.
“The picture that it draws, and the connections musically that it makes, different landscapes, and the dynasties—the culture of it is very fascinating. Music always tells a story and that’s what you aspire to hear and understand and listen to,” said Albert Sargenti, a musician. “That’s what the musicians bring to it—their soul, their ability to transcend that music and make it understandable in a way for us, which is a challenge. It’s beautiful.”
“This has been breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking. It’s such a magical blending of both styles of music [Western and Eastern]. I’ve been to regular symphonies before, but you just don’t get this. This is something incredibly special,” said Michael Mobley, senior manager at Hughes Network Systems.
“I was surprised because I didn’t expect you to play Wagner, I didn’t expect to hear ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ and they did a fabulous job. The finesse is perfect,” said Roger Hart, a musician. “The conductor is a pleasure to watch. He’s a fabulous conductor, and the violin soloist was unbelievable.”
NTD News, Bethesda, Maryland