Shen Yun’s Orchestra ‘magnificent,’ Says Conductor

BUFFALO, N.Y.—As a conductor and professional musician, Gail Bauser is an expert at moving her audiences through music. But when she attended Shen Yun Performing Arts on Friday, it was her turn to feel inspired by a whole new musical treasure-trove.

New York-based Shen Yun is a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company. Among its musical highlights is an orchestra that features classical Chinese instruments such as the pipa and gong blended with traditional Western instruments. 

“It’s wonderful to hear a live orchestra and the infusion of the classical instruments and the traditional Chinese instruments,” said Ms. Bauser after the evening performance on Friday at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.

“It’s magnificent, it’s beautiful.”

Ms. Bauser has had a successful career spanning over 35 years both as a professional cellist and an orchestra conductor. She currently conducts singers and musicians in the performing arts group OperaLytes, and performs as a cellist in the Nickel City Opera, ArtPark, and Jim Tudini Big Band. 

Ms. Bauser was impressed with Shen Yun’s artistry and talent, saying it evoked “great joy” in her during the performance. 

“The costuming is just beautiful, the colors, and the athleticism of the dancers is also just so beautifully presented,” she said. 

According to the Shen Yun website, the company’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture through traditional Chinese art forms.  Much of China’s traditional culture has been destroyed through decades of suppression by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Bauser appreciated the story-based classical Chinese dance and also the different folk dances, which she found to be an engaging learning experience. 

“The culture and the history is very interesting to me,” she said. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me to get a little insight into the culture.”

One such dance entitled “The Monkey King Thwarts the Evil Toad,” is an adaptation from the classic novel Journey to the West. The dance tells the story of a Tang Dynasty monk and his disciples, who use supernatural powers to outsmart a toad disguised as a princess—part of an epic journey to obtain sacred Buddhist scrolls.

In addition to vibrant costumes and the orchestral accompaniment, each story-dance features interaction with digitally animated backdrops. 

“The way they bring the [dancers] onto the stage and back up into the screen is just really magical,” Ms. Bauser said.

Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale

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.

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