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Shen Yun Chinese Music “is coming from the heavens”, says San Francisco Doctor of Music

Posted by Author on January 6, 2010

By Leigh Smith, Epoch Times Staff, updated Jan 6, 2010 –

SAN FRANCISCO—Shen Yun Performing Arts continued its run at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House on Tuesday evening, Jan. 5.

Dr. Valerie Samson, is a composer, ethnomusicologist, and performer who became involved with the Chinese-American community in San Francisco in the 1970’s. Her video documentary Sheng: Bamboo Mouth Organs won the John Lennon Award. And her documentation of music as a protest strategy at Tiananmen Square, 1989, is also well known.

Dr. Samson loved many aspects of the Shen Yun performance. She particularly liked the erhu, which she plays herself as well as many other instruments. She said, “I thought that was a very special touch to have a live musician on stage.

“The piece she chose to play was the perfect length.

“The quality of the piece, very much in keeping with the topic of the evening, which was a spiritual sense, it started off slow, almost melancholy, then sped up, and the technique—the performer is excellent.

“Xiaochun [Xiaochun Qi, the erhu player] is a wonderful player, I wish I could have a heard a whole concert with just her.

“Everyone is always touched by the erhu, it is one of the most famous instruments of China.

“And the pianist did a very good job, too … it’s a very nostalgic kind of piece, almost showing reverence for the soul of China.

“It is traditionally an instrument that is almost like the voice of the people, speaking in a very nostalgic way for something.

“This is a wonderful city for Chinese music, last time I counted 17 opera clubs in the area, so many musicians would have loved to come and I hope they do come, I don’t know who is coming to which performance.

“The musicians should take heart … I know so many are playing to recorded music these days, and it is wonderful to have live musicians with the dancers.”

“I felt that the orchestra was in the surface of dance and normally there is a tug of war between dancers and musicians … This was very cooperative, so smooth, if you weren’t thinking about the musicians you’d just imagine the music is coming from the heavens to support the dancers……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

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