DETROIT, April 23, 2008 – Honda’s ASIMO 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 music education programs, and particularly the 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 in Orchestra Hall, where a select group of music students will receive personal music instruction from Yo-Yo Ma. In attendance will be students from the Detroit School of Arts (DSA), Detroit Renaissance and Cass Technical high schools, as well as from schools across metro Detroit and 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:
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. More information on this initiative, including how to participate, can be found online at http://ww.detroitsymphony.com.
About Detroit Symphony Orchestra
The Detroit Symphony Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) program is Michigan’s most comprehensive pre-professional training program for orchestra, chamber, wind and jazz musicians. One of the cornerstones of the DSO’s educational mission, the program now boasts nine different classical and jazz ensembles. Nearly 500 students weekly ages 8 to 24 come from dozens of Southeast Michigan schools and colleges to participate weekly. Members of Civic rehearse at the Jacob Bernard Pincus Music Education Center (located inside The Max) and each ensemble performs a three-concert season at The Max. Participants enjoy unparalleled access to DSO musicians who interact closely with students by leading sectionals and coaching the chamber groups. Students also frequently benefit from master classes and rehearsals with guests artists and conductors including such luminary stars as Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Pincus Zukerman, Regina Carter, Wycliffe Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Neeme Järvi, Thomas Wilkins and Hugh Wolff. More information about DSO and its educational programs is available online at http://ww.detroitsymphony.com.
Honda engineers began developing a humanoid robot in 1986 for the purpose of someday helping people in need. After years of research and development, they created an advanced humanoid robot able to function in real-world environments. ASIMO made its U.S. debut February 14, 2002, when it rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and the latest version of ASIMO, which includes the ability to run, debuted in North America at the Consumer Electronics Show, January 2007, in Las Vegas. ASIMO is permanently installed in Disneyland’s Innoventions attraction where the live 15-minute Say ‘Hello’ to Honda’s ASIMO demonstration take places several times daily in the Honda ASIMO Theatre. The program gives visitors a glimpse into a not-too-distant future when humanoid robots, such as ASIMO, will assist humans in their homes. ASIMO also stars in “Step to Safety with ASIMO,” a pedestrian safety program that teaches children safe ways to cross the street. This DVD video program is available free of charge to educators, police officers and safety advocates across the nation through ASIMO’s Web site at asimo.honda.com.
Honda is the world’s largest engine maker, producing a vast array of products, including automobiles, motorcycles, power equipment and, soon, jet aircraft – all designed to advance mobility and improve the lives of people through continued innovations in technology and design. Based on its belief in The Power of Dreams, and in the ability of individuals to create a new and better future for society, Honda also supports a variety of initiatives aimed at advancing education and creating experiences of discovery that help people to see and achieve their own dreams. For more information on Honda’s philanthropic efforts and other innovative business initiatives, please visit http://www. honda.com.