Honda’s ASIMO Robot to Conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Humanoid Robot’s Appearance at Yo-Yo Ma Performance to Highlight DSO’s Youth Music Programs
Honda’s ASIMO (http://asimo.honda.com) humanoid robot will focus attention on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) nationally acclaimed music programs for young people in Detroit by conducting the orchestra as it performs “Impossible Dream” to open a special concert performance with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma at 8 p.m, Tuesday, May 13. Honda hopes ASIMO’s appearance will draw attention to the DSO’s nationally acclaimed youth music programs, and particularly DSO’s effort to encourage and support involvement of children in Detroit.
In addition, ASIMO will demonstrate its unique capabilities for hundreds of area school children at 10:45 a.m, May 14 prior to a specially arranged master class at the DSO, where a select group of music students will receive personal music instruction from Yo-Yo Ma. Students from the Detroit School of Arts (DSA) will participate in the master class on-stage in front of the audience of area children, which will include a group of young students from neighboring Windsor, Canada.
ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, is designed to help people and will someday assist the elderly and disabled in their homes. But while Honda continues to develop and enhance ASIMO’s capabilities, the robot is being used today to encourage and inspire young students to consider studies in math and science. The addition of music education to ASIMO’s repertoire is a natural extension of these efforts.
As recently announced, Honda is providing the DSO with a gift of more than $1 million to create The Power of Dreams Music Education Fund. With the Detroit Public Schools drastically reducing or eliminating music programs due to financial constraints, many students are denied the opportunity to learn to play instruments, read music, and participate in bands or orchestras. Honda has partnered with the DSO to develop an innovative, multi-faceted program to promote and support music education as well as to promote diversity in the field of classical music. In addition to sponsorship of the YoYo Ma performance and Master’s Class for students in May, over the next five years the Honda partnership with DSO will include:
o Launch of a new initiative called The Power of Dreams String Project to provide introductory music education/string training to children in metro-Detroit communities where opportunities are non-existent or unaffordable.
o Establishment of The Power of Dreams Music Scholar program to provide private lessons to aspiring students with financial need in the String Project, DSO Civic Ensembles and/or DSA, enabling them to fully develop their musical capabilities.
o Support of DSO Civic Youth Ensemble performances; the DSO’s educational partnership activities with the DSA; and the DSO’s spring Educational Concert Series for metro area school children in Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.
o Support of the 2008 Classical Roots Gala which raises funds for programs such as the DSO’s African-American Fellowship Program.
As part of this initiative, Honda is working with the DSO to solicit contributions from donors. More information on this initiative, including how to participate, can be found online at http://ww.detroitsymphony.com.
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