ASIMO Conducts the DSO!

That’s right! Everybody’s favorite little robot debuted conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a live performance of “Impossible Dream” from the 1965 Broadway show Man of La Mancha on May 13! 

(Hm…. ASIMO should have hired this guy to be his concertmaster!!…) 😉

Ultimately, how did it go? According to Ed Pilkington:

Let’s start with the positives. He kept the beat, marking time without a baton and even moving from three beats to six with admirable clarity.

Beyond that, he managed to put some expression into his conducting, moving his torso from violin section to cellos and back again, nodding his head at high points and clenching his fist to denote passion.

He also showed a command of the diplomatic side of the conductor’s role, greeting the audience at the beginning with a “Hello everyone!”…

But the downsides cannot go unmentioned…though Asimo’s movements were remarkably human, it was a bit like being conducted by a metronome…

You can find the rest of this highly entertaining article here.

While some might consider this a mere show of technological wizardry, Honda is actually partnering with the DSO to bring music education (including several initiatives supporting much-needed string education!) to children in the area. According to Honda’s News Release:

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: 

· 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.
· 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.
· 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.
· 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. 

Good news for the survival of Music in our country! Go, ASIMO, go! 🙂

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