Renowned Violinist Enjoys Shen Yun’s Music, Dance, and Production

VANCOUVER—Renowned Canadian violinist Andrew Dawes enjoyed the visual and aural components of Shen Yun Performing Arts, which when combined seeks to illustrate the beauty of a thousands year old culture said to be inspired by the heavens.

“As a musician, I was very pleased with everything, with music and the dance and the production, it’s great, it’s a wonderful show,” he said.

“I think all these musicians are doing an excellent job, really a great pleasure to hear you all.”

Dawes is known for being first violinist of the Toronto-based Orford String Quartet for almost three decades. He was also Professor of Music at the University of Toronto and is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia School of Music.

The musician has also acted as a juror in several music competitions including the London International String Quartet competition, the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

He attended the performance of Shen Yun at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, Canada, on March 31.

Shen Yun was founded in New York in 2006 with a goal of reviving traditional Chinese culture through the arts. Since then, the company has expanded from one to six contingents that tour the world each year to showcase the wonders of an ancient civilization to modern audiences. Each company travels with an orchestra, uniquely composed of both Chinese and Western instruments.

Dawes was able to hear the sounds of the Chinese two-stringed erhu play on top of the Western instruments, and thought that aspect was very well done.

The composition draws from the strengths of the musical styles from both Eastern and Western traditions. In the East, the ability of individual instruments to express deep feelings was emphasized, while the West focused on creating harmony between multiple different instruments and composition. The result is that Chinese instruments often play as the melody above the resonant orchestral base.

The violinist was also drawn to the dance vignettes, and his favorite was the ethnic Mongolian dance piece depicting Mongolian horseman.

“It was so evocative of horse riding and it was so energetic, but I’ve enjoyed all the dancing and singing,” Dawes said.

The vocal soloists were also very good, said Dawes. The singers use a special style once on the verge of extinction called bel canto. The technique is said to produce a highly pure sound, both clear and resonant.

Lastly, Dawes praised Shen Yun’s mission to rejuvenate traditional Chinese culture, especially because it seems as though we are losing those traditions in this day and age.

“I think it’s a wonderful mission,” he said.

With reporting by Mary Man.

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