ASIMO that versatile Honda robot that you often see in Honda Commercials will be in Detroit come May 13, 2008 to be the guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the opening act that features world- renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
The 4- foot tall robot which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility (ASIMO) which was first developed by the Japanese automaker in 2000 with the objective of helping humans particularly the elderly doing their daily chores in the future can speak both English and Japanese. In addition, this latest generation robot can now recognize faces, climb up and down stairs, keep up when walking with human companions and serve tea among its many skills and capabilities.
ASIMO will be at the podium for a one song performance, the special rendition of “The Impossible Dream” before relinquishing the baton to the DSO’s resident maestro Thomas Wilkins for the rest of the show. It will be ASIMO’s second high- profile appearance in the United States after the high- tech robot rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Valentine’s Day in 2007.
I hope I could still get some tickets for I really want to see this momentous event not to mention watch Yo-Yo Ma perform in the flesh. I missed his performance in Ann Arbor last year and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will make it this time.
You see, I have always been a fan of classical music which my Mom exposed me at a very young age, never mind that I preferred Johann Strauss during those days together with Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Bach. Nowadays, I usually listen to Debussy, Liszt, Schubert, Wagner and especially Rachmaninoff when I want to relax.
That’s why when I went to New York City last year and saw that the violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman will be having his students’ recital at Carnegie Hall, I grabbed the chance to watch him perform and I really enjoyed the show.
You can only admire his inborn talent and dedication to his craft as well as his courage in overcoming Polio, in fact he labored walking in crutches towards the center of the stage but once he starts playing the first notes from his violin, his music will take you anywhere.
When I was in the Philippines, I remember going to a lot of free events in Puerta Real, Goethe Institute and of course, the Sunday Concert at the Park in Luneta to watch and listen to the Manila Symphony Orchestra with Oscar Yatco, Coke Bolipata, John Lesaca and the like. That’s free entertainment for you in a city as chaotic as Manila.
Of course, I also have my regular complimentary tickets from a dear old friend of mine to the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ events where the likes of Raul Sunico, Andion Fernandez and Cecile Licad holds court in those days as well as some of Repertory Philippines’ shows when they still call the Insular Life Theater in Makati home.
The world- famous Detroit Symphony Orchestra never fails me when I want to have my fill of classical music both on radio and live concert. The DSO founded in 1914 is one of the pioneers in the United States when it comes to performance and innovations. In fact, they performed the world’s first radio broadcast of symphonic concert in 1922 as well as its recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was the first CD to win the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy (the French equivalent of the US Recording Academy).
I last saw them during the 4th of July concert dubbed “Salute to America” at the Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village where they had 13- year old Kendall Pennington as guest vocalist. They also performed Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture among others highlighted with the museum’s real live cannons firing in the background.
Here's the DSO with Kendall Pennington as guest vocalist-
MitSusurrations for more of The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Kendall Pennington.