Detroit Symphony Orchestra Presents Yo-Yo Ma with Its Highest Achievement Award

5/14/2008 2:21:00 PM

Prior to a sold-out concert by Yo-Yo Ma and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra last night, the renowned cellist was presented with the Orchestra's "Changing Lives through Music" Highest Achievement Award. The award is bestowed to individuals in the field of music who provide extraordinary and exemplary leadership, sharing their artistry and knowledge with future generations, and serving as an inspiration to the world on behalf of music.

"Through his performances, groundbreaking musical projects and innovative educational advocacy, Yo-Yo Ma has had a profound impact on the people of Michigan," said Anne Parsons, President and Executive Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. "This award recognizes and thanks him for the visionary role he plays as a musical ambassador, and for his generosity of spirit."

The award was presented to Ma by DSO Music Director Designate Leonard Slatkin, American Honda Vice President Dick Szamborski, and Honda's ASIMO humanoid robot. ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, debuted its ability to conduct immediately preceding the award presentation when it led the orchestra in a short work called "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha by Mitch Leigh.

"Honda shares a passion with the DSO for youth education and we're so pleased to be a part of recognizing Yo-Yo Ma for his dedication to providing children with opportunities to develop their musical abilities," said Gary Kessler, Senior Vice President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Honda is proud of its affiliation with the DSO and would like to welcome others to join us in the nurturing and promotion of the DSO's music education programs."

More information on The Power of Dreams Music Education Fund, including how to participate, can be found online at On Thursday, May 14, video of ASIMO conducting the DSO will be available to be viewed at

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

About Honda

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.