The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra debuts its Asia Tour at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall with a matinee performance on September 15, 2016. (Photo:

By Louise Bevan | The BL

SShen Yun Symphony Orchestra features the perfect harmony of classical music East and West. The distinct sound of Chinese instruments is accentuated on the foundation of Western orchestra. The perfect arrangement and blend of the beauty and spirit of Chinese music with the power of the Western orchestra has made Shen Yun music unique, bringing a new taste to audiences.

Unique arrangement method

With a mission to revive China’s 5,000-year divine culture that involves Chinese ethnic instruments, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is the first organization to integrate traditional Chinese instruments into a Western symphony. Other orchestras can perform only solo or concerto, but not symphony.

The combination of traditional Chinese and Western instruments in the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra. (

This is because the pipa and erhu are so unique that the traditional symphonic instruments can not replace them. In other words, their sounds are very special and cannot be covered by the sound of other instruments. Therefore, it would be a challenge to combine them with instruments used in the orchestra. Shen Yun has succeeded in this thanks to its exclusive arrangement methods.

For example, there are special requirements that allow instruments to work with erhu or pipa. It is like cooking—not everything can be mixed together to make a dish. Only ingenious selections of various components will yield dishes with great appearance, smell, and taste. Shen Yun is unique when compared to other symphony orchestras.

The orchestra with unparalleled tone

If the notes overlap too much in the same frequency range, resonance effects will push the volume too high, resulting in unbalanced melodies. Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra does not choose some traditional Chinese instruments because they can be replaced with some similar West ones, for example, the guqin (ancient zither) and guzheng (Chinese zither) could be replaced by a harp. Similarly, xiao (a Chinese vertical end-blown flute) and the bamboo flute can be substituted by flute and piccolo. In addition, the trumpet can be used instead of suona.


In orchestral arrangements, plucked instruments, such as the pipa are not used in a standard symphony. The guitar is somewhat similar. The erhu is commonly called a two-string violin, but its tone is very different from the violin. However, it works well with stringed instruments to produce a unique tone.

In addition, erhu can play solo, duet, ensemble, or concerto. Erhu, pipa, and traditional Chinese percussion instruments such as gu (drum), luo (gong), muyu (wooden fish), and qing (sounding stone) not only introduce Chinese ethnic character to the music, but also blend with and complement classic Western symphony music. This makes the combined melody richer, more inspiring, and more powerful.

Moreover, in the selection process of musical instruments, the Music Director of Shen Yun symphony orchestra has taken into consideration all factors related to traditional Chinese culture i.e. the way that the five music notes, the five elements and the five organs connect and influence each other.

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra receives standing ovations, at the Saturday matinee, at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 15, 2016. . (

Bringing the energy of Falun Dafa

Members of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra are mostly Falun Dafa practitioners. Falun Dafa is an ancient Buddhist qigong practice of China that guides people to improve their xinxing and health according to the principles of Truthfulness – Compassion – Forbearance and through five gentle sets of exercises. So the energy produced by the members of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is pure, compassionate, and able to reach the deep soul of the audiences.

Therefore, when listening to the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, we should not limit ourselves to the formats of classical Western symphony or Chinese music. Rather, we need to perceive the cultural content and the messages behind it, so that we can benefit from the divine power of the orchestra.

Let’s enjoy the music of Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra through “Sorrow melts away”:

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra will deliver performance in New York City, Washington D.C, Chicago and Boston from Oct 12 2019. For more information, please visit: