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YuMi the robot conducts Italian orchestra playing Verdi - CNET

Musicians of The Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra as they are conducted by robot for the first time. Miguel Medina / AFP/Getty Images

A classical concert in an ancient Tuscan city is perhaps the last place you'd expect to find a robot taking center stage.

And yet on Tuesday, YuMi the robot did just that, taking on the role of conductor as he directed the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra in a rendition of Verdi in Pisa, Italy as part of the International Robotics Festival.

The two-armed robot was taught all of the movements by the orchestra's human conductor Andrea Colombini. "We basically had to find time to understand his movements. When we found the way, everything was pretty easy," Colombini told Reuters.

Should the orchestra have changed tempos, it would have all gone wrong for the robot, who is unable to improvise. Nevertheless, YuMi conducted three out of 18 pieces played at the concert without a hitch.

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