Innovative Classical Composer Blends the Best of Two Traditions

Composer Gao Yuan
The man with the magic ears, Gao Yuan makes fine compositions. (Image: shenyunperformingarts.org)

Composer Gao Yuan has been hard at work on new compositions. His compositions are heard in theaters all around the world. His music is performed by the orchestras of Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Composer Gao Yuan

The man with the magic ears, Gao Yuan makes fine compositions. (Image: shenyunperformingarts.org)

But the type of music he creates may not be that of your average classical composer. Yuan’s work combines classical music with the long-standing traditions of Chinese music.

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra sets a unique tone with Chinese instruments embedded among the classical orchestral instruments.

Chinese Musical Instruments

From left to right the chime bowl, pipa, and erhu. (Image: shenyunperformingarts.org)

The compositions rely on Chinese theories of thought, healing, and natural philosophies. Extensive use is made of the pentatonic scale.

Chinese traditional music is soothing and sweet to the ears.

In Chinese history, the 5-tone pentatonic scale is thought to correlate to the five elements which make up matter and life. The five elements are metal, water, fire, earth, and wood.

Five Elements

The five elements are fundamental to many Chinese cultural aspects. (Image: “Wu Xing” by ParnassusOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The pentatonic scale and the characteristic sound of Chinese music are interwoven throughout the performances.

The orchestra performs as accompaniment to Shen Yun’s Chinese dance performances, as well as having featured shows of orchestral music and original compositions. Their tour starts next month.

 

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