Free and Easy: Classical performers from Italy, Austria and Russia

April 21, 2013

Catch-Pop String-Strong performs at the Embassy of Austria. (Diverted Music)

The Going Out Gurus recommend free things to do for every day of the week:

MONDAY

African Earth Day

On Earth Day, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art opens a new exhibition, “Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa.” To celebrate the opening, French-Gabonese artist Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro will perform her piece “The Uncomfortable Truth.”

2 p.m. National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Ave. SW. 202-633-4600. africa.si.edu.

TUESDAY

Science Cafe

Are you paying attention? If so, Sarah Shomstein, a neuroscientist at George Washington University, wants to know how and why. Join a discussion with Shomstein, who has dedicated herself to the study of our ability to focus on one thing when there are so many other stimuli — cell phones, nearby conversations, noisy air conditioners — and how we can suddenly interrupt that focus when we actually need to interact with our environment.

6:30 p.m. Busboys and Poets, 1025 Fifth St. NW. 202-789-2227. www.busboysandpoets.com.

WEDNESDAY

Music therapy

The Orchestra Sinfonica Esagramma, part of an Italian community for intellectually and physically disabled people, is visiting the United States for the first time, presenting a workshop about their particular combination of musical and clinical practice. Afterwards, they’ll be performing and interacting with disabled members of the community.

Workshop at 10 a.m.; performance at 2 p.m. Gonda Theatre, Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University, 37th and O streets NW. 202-687-2787. guevents.georgetown.edu.

THURSDAY

Catch-Pop String-Song

The young Viennese string duo of Jelena Popržan and Rina Kaçinari performs at the Embassy of Austria, presenting a range of music — classical to Balkan and Scottish folk to free improvisations. The pair also plays original material and ties its act together with humor. Tickets are free, but reservations are required.

7:30 p.m. Embassy of Austria, 3524 International Ct. NW. 202-895-6776. www.acfdc.org.

FRIDAY

‘Harvard Square’

Egyptian American author and professor Andre Aciman, who wrote the acclaimed memoir “Out of Egypt” in 1995, discusses his new book, “Harvard Square.” The novel follows a young Jewish immigrant who is eager to assimilate into American culture and who befriends a loud-mouthed, Arab cab driver with a different perspective on mainstream American culture.

7 p.m. Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-364-1919. www.politics-prose.com.

SATURDAY

Russian piano virtuoso

Twenty-year-old Russian-born Nikolay Khozyainov, who has won awards around the world for his piano playing, performs in Bethesda. Most recently, he took first place at the 2012 Dublin International Piano Competition.

8 p.m. Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ, 1 Westmoreland Cir., Bethesda. 301-320-2770. www.washingtonconservatory.org.

SUNDAY

‘Springtime in Japan’

The University of Maryland Koto Ensemble and the Washington Toho Koto Society perform a program of spring-inspired works. The ensembles primarily play the traditional Japanese koto, a nearly seven-foot wooden instrument with 13 strings, but some songs also feature shakuhachi, a bamboo flute, and shamisen, a three-string, banjo-like instrument.

2 p.m. Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park. 301-405-2787. claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

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Alex Baldinger · April 19, 2013