Chinese Instruments

The origins of Chinese music can be dated back to distant antiquity. Soloist Xiaochun Qi plays the erhu, a 4,000-year-old instrument with a soulful quality.

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Vocalists

A beautiful and pure tone of voice. A Shen Yun concert isn’t complete without performances by top Chinese classical singers.

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    Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra blends the spirit of Chinese music with the power of a Western orchestra. All-original compositions draw upon five millennia of culture and legends. Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass accentuate the sound of ancient Chinese instruments—like the two-stringed erhu and the plucked pipa. Never before have the exquisite beauty of Chinese melodies and the grandeur of a Western symphony been so seamlessly combined.

    Music of Shen Yun

    The Music of Shen Yun

    • Deeply Rooted in a Grand Culture
    • Distinct Arrangement Methods
    • Pure Energy
    • A Divine Realm

    Shen Yun’s all-original compositions feature the perfect harmony of classical music of East and West. How is this done?

    First, the Western orchestra serves as a foundation, accentuating the distinct sound of Chinese instruments. Second, the bedrock of soul-stirring melodies from the ancient Middle Kingdom is fully brought to life by a Western symphony. This is what makes Shen Yun’s music unique and is a new frontier in classical music.

    Traditional Chinese music emphasizes the expression of inner feelings—the ancients always used musical instruments to relate their states of mind. Western music, meanwhile, focuses on the overall effect of the musical ensemble—and to achieve that, arrangement and harmony are of utmost importance. Shen Yun’s music combines these approaches to capture the essence of both East and West.

    Sample Shen Yun Music

    These audio clip samples are from Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 performance.

  • Snow-Capped Celebration, by Jing Xian, is a tribute to resilience and good cheer that takes its inspiration from Tibetan culture.
  • “A Song from the Ancestors,” text and music by D.F., is performed by soprano Haolan Geng.
  • Capturing Arrows with Boats of Straw, by Jing Xian, brings to life a well-loved episode from the classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
  • Zigeunerweisen, by Pablo de Sarasate, is a masterpiece of lyricism, performed here by soloist Fiona Zheng.
  • Chinese Instruments

    The origins of Chinese music can be dated back to distant antiquity. Ancient Chinese instruments share a deep connection with Heaven and Earth. The delicate notes of the plucked pipa evoke a sense of celestial realms. The enchanting sound of the 4,000-year-old erhu mimics the human voice. Leading the melody amidst a full Western orchestra, they create a profound musical experience that resonates deep in the heart.

    Our Vocal Music:
    A Lost Technique Revived

    Ancient Chinese theater and early European opera shared the same singing technique, believed to produce the most beautiful and pure tone of voice.

    Today, however, bel canto’s genuine high-note technique has been lost in Europe. In China as well, it is now impossible to find a singer who has truly grasped this ancient method. But in bygone days, many Chinese plays featured singing using a natural method that had no fundamental difference from the European bel canto technique.

    Only Shen Yun’s singers are now again using this traditional and ancient technique on the modern stage. Their ability to perform bel canto while retaining perfect Chinese diction is unparalleled.

    All their songs were specially written for Shen Yun performances. Brimming with deep reflection about life, these songs transcend the boundaries of race and culture, resonating with audiences the world over and inspiring hope in people’s hearts.

    Program & Schedule

    2016 Program Highlights:

    • This year’s concert program includes 15 selections, consisting mostly of original Shen Yun compositions, as well as several classical masterpieces and instrumental and vocal solo performances. Here are a few examples:
    • Poets of the Orchid Pavilion, by Jing Xian, tells an ancient story of a group of friends who trek deep in the mountains. Sharing wine and reflecting on the meaning life, they compose epic verse in beautiful calligraphy, capturing something timeless about the human experience.
    • The Mystical Udumbara, by Gao Yuan, relates the legend of a sacred flower. According to Buddhist scripture, the udumbara blooms but once every three thousand years—when the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel arrives. In recent years, this magical flower has been sighted around the world, inspiring this composition.
    • Drums of the Grasslands, by D.F., is the lively composition that accompanied one of the most energetic dances from Shen Yun’s 2016 dance tour. It whisks us off to vast, boundless grasslands, where young Mongolians emerge from their yurts to welcome us with a swaggering drum dance.
    • Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, by Camille Saint-Saëns, is a popular showpiece that premiered in Paris in 1867 with the French composer himself conducting. Known for its short and rapidly animated passages, Spanish flair, and reflective melody, its performance is now a classic hallmark of violin virtuosity.
    • And much, much more.