Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra

    Chinese Instruments

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

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    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

    • Introduction to 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 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 2017 performance.

  • Dunhuang
  • The Great Khan
  • Mongolian Bowls
  • Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, 3rd Movement
  • “Plum Blossom”
  • 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, the true bel canto technique for singing in the upper register has been lost in Europe. In China as well, it is now impossible to find a singer who has truly mastered this ancient method.

    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 likewise unparalleled.

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

    Program & Schedule

    Past 2017 Program highlights:


    • These selections represent the best of Shen Yun’s recent original works, and were composed for its internationally acclaimed classical Chinese dance performances. Works range from haunting erhu solos to the grandeur of imperial-style marches and the bucolic charm of folk-inspired melodies.

    • SUPPÉ - Light Cavalry Overture This overture has enjoyed a career all its own, well beyond the operetta it was originally set for, with its main theme having been excerpted widely.
    • TCHAIKOVSKY - Violin Concerto, Op. 35, 3rd Movement A triumph of the unlikely, this concerto overcame the sting of initial rejection by critics to become a beloved work lauded for its lyrical virtuosity.
    • DVOŘÁK - Slavonic Dance No. 7, Op. 72 Inspired by Brahms's Hungarian Dances, this work embodies the vibrant culture of the southern Slavic region.
    Program is subject to change.


    • “The music they’ve created is such an excellent combination of traditional melodies.”
      —Dr. Richard Webb, organist, musicologist, and professor, Southern University
    • “Delightful... they blend the Chinese instruments so very well with the Western instruments.”
      —Per Brevig, conductor and professor, The Juilliard School
    • “Magnificent! The singing is always impressive.”
      —Micaele Sparacino, founder of Opera Bel Canto
    • “Really wonderful! I’d be interested in playing some of this music or trying some of it myself.”
      —Charles Castleman, virtuoso violinist and professor, Eastman School of Music