Shen Yun Contralto’s “Pause to Notice”

“In the cold winter wind, I hand you true information, but it’s as if you don’t see me, oblivious and unaware.” Those first two lines of lyrics begin Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company alto Yang Jiansheng’s “Pause to Notice.”

Ms. Yang graduated from China’s prestigious Central Conservatory of Music and was a member of the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China. Later she studied with various renowned Italian opera masters, including Baritone Gino Becki and Basso Nicola Rossi-Lemeni. She decided to remain in Europe and has lived in Germany since 1994.

Since the launch of Shen Yun Performing Arts 2009 World Tour in Atlanta, Ms. Yang has performed across the United States, South Korea, Japan, and is currently in Taiwan.

The lyrics of “Pause to Notice” talk about practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual practice, handing out flyers on the streets in the hot summers and cold winters to tell passersby about the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of the group. Yet some people refuse the leaflets as they believe in the “Party’s lies.”

Ms. Yang said that she composed the melody of the song herself. When she first saw the lyrics, an image of Falun Gong practitioners spreading truth flyers day and night appeared in her mind.

“Every time I sing this song, this image always pops up over and over again,” said Ms. Yang, who began to practice Falun Gong herself in 1999, the year of the Chinese regime’s crackdown on the spiritual discipline began.

Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company alto Yang Jiansheng (The Epoch Times)

Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company alto Yang Jiansheng (The Epoch Times)

Ms. Yang has had many admirers. Among who have watched Ms. Yang perform was Norio Isogai of Japan. In the 19th century, when music boxes, the “automatic music instruments,” were first invented in Europe, they became luxurious treasures for many collectors. Nowadays, arguably only a few people in the world are capable of repairing and restoring these antiques. Among the experts is Norio Isogai.

After watching the show at Aichi Prefectural Art Theater Concert Hall in Nagoya on Feb. 13, he said, “The songs, both the technique and volume, are very high-level. The last alto [Jiansheng Yang] has a very low voice for a woman. Her range is in between a man’s and a woman’s.”

Upon watching the show in Taichung, Taiwan, Dr. Chuang Bihua, who has a doctorate in choir conducting at University of Maryland, said, “I think her ability to temper her voice was perfect. It was very steady, and I could see that her foundation is very strong. When she was singing in the lower range, wow! It’s unusual to hear such a beautiful voice—an absolutely flawless alto. She’s very admirable.”

As the show traveled to Tokyo on the country’s National Foundation Day, Feb. 11, to Hitomi Memorial Auditorium of Showa Woman’s University, a theater where the Japanese imperial family often watched public shows, Ryou Shouji, a respected and renowned lyricist was in the full house. Ryou Shouji has written lyrics for over 4,000 songs.

He said that from what he had witnessed in his 30 years of experience in the musical field, Yang was top-notch.

“As a lyricist, the most moving parts for me were the songs and lyrics. Especially Guan Guimin and Yang Jiansheng; they were absolutely touching. Another vocalist came with me. Both of us think that their voices are incomparable. I cannot understand Chinese, but that’s not important, because their songs were conveyed to the deepest part of my heart. I don’t need any translation. I am already deeply moved.”

Also in Taichung was Lin Po-jun, senior advisor to the president of Taiwan. He said that the vocalist seemed to call us to something higher than “the hustle and bustle of everyday, mundane life repeated again and again.”

Ms. Yang received the silver prize at China’s National Youth Singing Competition and is now listed as one of the seven worldwide best altos by Wikipedia, being the only Chinese on the list.

“Singing is not for listeners to get very crazy and wild from the entertainment—this is evidence of the decline of the arts. It should resonate something in the heart to uplift one spiritually—the purpose of arts. Shen Yun is doing this right now. Mankind’s culture nowadays is extremely degenerated,” she said.

“Actually the path of singing is not easy. Practice is required every day, yet [one is] never satisfied.

“If a vocalist just thinks about himself or herself on stage, the best compliment he or she can receive is something like ‘this person’s skill is pretty good,’ nothing more. Audience members spend lots of money to go to the theater, yet they forget about that singer after a few days—this is a low evaluation. The genuine high evaluation is when the audience can remember the song rather than the vocalist. Take the audience to the realm of your song, and let them rethink their lives, become encouraged and uplifted. Otherwise, it’s useless for a vocalist to sing.

“In the last line of the song, I reach the range of a baritone. The voice in the higher range can pierce through, while the voice in the lower range can penetrate and be absorbed—this power can go straight to the heart.”

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Shen Yun Performing Arts 2009 World Tour. For more information please visit

Last Updated

March 27, 2009


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