World Renowned Violinist Says Shen Yun Makes One Reflect Deeply

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—World-renowned violinist Charles Castleman had watched Shen Yun Performing Arts last year; this year, he brought a friend as he wanted her to also enjoy Shen Yun’s “wonderful” performance.

“It’s spectacular and wonderful,” Mr. Castleman said after watching the performance at the Rochester Auditorium Theatre, on April 29.

Throughout his long and distinguished career as a violinist, Mr. Castleman has performed as a soloist with different orchestras including those of Philadelphia, Boston, Moscow, New York, and Shanghai, to name but just a few. He has also been a professor of violin at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester since 1975.

Commenting on the Shen Yun Orchestra, which plays original scores to accompany the dances on stage, Mr. Castleman said the music is beautiful.

“It’s very good, it sounds very fine, very well put together. Good conductor. Everything is very good,” Mr. Castleman said.

“I hear a lot of wind instruments, and I think that they’re very unusual, classic instruments played beautifully,” he said.

The Shen Yun Orchestra is unique in that it combines traditional Chinese instruments with a Western orchestra. “Is it possible for the disparate sounds of East and West to find harmony?” states the Shen Yun website. “Many have tried and failed. But the ability to seamlessly blend these two systems to create one fresh, harmonious sound is what makes the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra unique.

“This is how the effect is achieved: A Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.”

Mr. Castleman commented that the music fits the dances on the stage very well.

“They use them very well,” he said, adding, “and the dancers are wonderful, obviously, very well-trained, very creative and very fluid, excellent dancers.”

Mr. Castleman said he also enjoyed the integration of animated digital backdrops in the performance, which set the stage with breathtaking scenes, and interact with the dancers on stage.

“I loved the way that the animation is mixed in with the live action … It’s very clever, very imaginative, very creative.”

‘Think about things more deeply’

Shen Yun, Mr. Castleman said, is a beautiful production, and also makes one reflect on deeper issues.

“The show, that’s very beautiful in itself, but it makes you think about things more deeply,” he said.

“It just makes you think about your own thoughts. You examine yourself and about what you believe in and what you really want yourself, and this inspires you to do that, I think, which is very wonderful.”

Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed by a group of leading classical Chinese artists with a mission to revive China’s divinely inspired culture.

Mr. Castleman said Shen Yun’s mission is “quite remarkable,” and that he learns something new every time he watches Shen Yun.

“I know a little [about Chinese history] from last year, but I’m learning every time that I come,” he said.

“[The stories in the dances] give a good feeling of the culture as a whole.”

He also noted that the performance is very spiritual, and “very inspiring and also very beautiful.”

“I think one has a sense of … how important the culture is to all the various people and how it feeds them and enriches them very much,” he said.

With reporting by Tracy Zhu and NTD Television

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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