Music can express what the human language cannot. This is why the pieces played by violinist Fiona Zheng resonate and move people to the core with intense and deep feeling. The artist understands the relationship between the artist’s heart and the technical mastery of music, and how this can impact its audience.
“While studying music, us musicians always find ourselves asking the following question: How can you move your audience? How can you touch them even more deeply? In fact, I think that when you can let go completely and expand your heart, your music expands with it, until it also embraces the audience’s heart. It is only then that you can really move them”, says Fiona, a violinist in Shen Yun Performing Arts’ orchestra, in a video.
“Wandering to avoid persecution”
While Fiona plays “Gypsy Airs” by Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, a melancholic feeling, extending directly from the virtuoso’s heart, permeates the piece. In fact, Fiona has a personal interpretation of this piece, which is unequivocally conveyed through her intensely emotive facial expressions and bow strokes. These are just as captivating as the musical composition itself.
Falun Gong – a religious spiritual practice that flourished in China in the 1990s. Falun Dafa combines meditation and qigong exercises with a moral philosophy centered on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
Seeing how her grandmother’s ailments “miraculously disappeared” through the practice of this incredible spiritual discipline, Fiona and her entire family embraced the practice as well.
Suddenly, without reason or logic, the Chinese Communist Party considered Falun Dafa’s popularity a threat to its authoritarian regime in July 1999. This was followed by fierce persecution of its practitioners. The Communist Party destroyed many families, including Fiona’s.
“In 2006, the police broke into our house, took all our Falun Dafa books and arrested my mother and grandmother. Both my mother and grandmother died because they were persecuted and tortured. Their deaths occurred only 15 days apart”, Fiona recalls in an interview posted on the Shen Yun website.
“Afterwards, my father and I were constantly on the move, just like the gypsies who inspired Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, always moving and wandering around to avoid persecution”.
Fiona was completely horrified when she learned the reason why the Chinese regime tried to eliminate Falun Dafa from China.
“Is there really anything wrong with believing in the principles of Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Tolerance?” Fiona asks. “Why are you persecuting innocent people?”
Although her nightmare seemed to have ended when she moved to the United States, the reality that forced her to flee from her homeland in the first place is, however, still a painful memory. Perhaps this is the reason why her interpretation of “Gypsy Airs” is particularly evocative and touching.
A journey to obtain self-control
During the first six months of being abroad, a tormented Fiona did not dare to meditate in a park. She would choose to practice Falun Dafa in her room with the blinds closed and in total darkness. Every time she saw a police car, her heart threatened to beat out of her chest.
Over time, she learned to calm down, and eventually realized that she was finally safe in the United States – a nation that is not governed by an authoritarian communist regime.
Since joining Shen Yun in 2012, the expert violinist was able to share her musical talent with audiences from all over the world in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York City.
She ventured into the world of music when she was 3 years old, and started playing the violin for the first time when she was five. Fiona admits that it has been a constant journey of self-control and restraint, and her healing journey laid as the cornerstone of everything.
“I think that music is very complex. When something changes in the depths of your heart, the energy that you emit will also be different”.
And the members of the audience can feel it.
“Oh my God! I’ve been everywhere…I’ve been to the opera, I’ve been to everything, and she took my breath away. I think that she’s amazing and very accomplished,” said New Yorker Linda Midas, who attended the morning performance of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra on October 10, 2015. “The violinist simply conquered my heart. That’s how beautifully she played”.
Fiona admits that she still gets “very nervous” before a solo performance, but after she plays that first note and concentrates on her music, all her worries disappear. In addition, she also has the habit of meditating before a performance, which helps immensely.
“It makes my music more powerful, and I can feel the energy that flows from each note”.
For more information on the practice of Falun Dafa or to download the book “Zhuan Falun,” visit the following site: www.falundafa.org. All books, exercise music, resources, and instructions are available for free.
It is currently practiced by more than 100 million people in 114 countries, but this system of peaceful meditation has been brutally persecuted in China since 1999.
Watch the following video to listen to Fiona Zheng’s interpretation of Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen:
Source: Bles.com (http://bles.com/cultura/su-madre-fue-asesinada-por-la-policia-cuando-tenia-12-anos-hoy-ella-es-una-violinista-consumada.html)
(Photos and video courtesy of Shen Yun)