In the hands of one classical and pop music duo, concerts appear to be disasters. The pianist, Richard Hyung-ki Joo, seems to have his right hand amputated by the piano cover. The violinist, Aleksey Igudesman, almost loses his violin bow to a vacuum cleaner. The show goes on anyway — because these mishaps, cuing laughs from their audiences, are all very intentional.
In fact, mistakes are the basis of Igudesman and Joo’s current show, "A Little Nightmare Music," coming Monday to the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
"We’ve found that audiences listen better when something goes wrong," Igudesman said.
Plus, the humorous accidents on stage are part of their mission to make classical music more accessible to young children and high school and college students, typically an age group not likely to be found in a concert hall where Beethoven’s music is playing. So far, their mission seems to be working.
The comedy and theatrics the duo regularly throw into their adaptations of popular songs — a range from the Beatles’ "Ticket to Ride" to a seamless mash-up of Mozart’s "Symphony No. 40 in G minor" with the James Bond theme song — has attracted both young and old audiences and transformed classical music concerts from "resembling funerals, so somber and stiff, rather than celebrations," Igudesman said.
Both he and Joo want their shows to be celebrations of music. By playing such a variety of songs (even a Justin Bieber tune could end up a piano and violin variation at their hands), they hope to show that all types of music can be fun and enjoyable for just about anyone.
"We don’t make a differentiation between classical and non-classical," Joo said. "If you look at the harmonic sequence of ‘I Will Survive,’ one of the songs we perform, you’ll hear the chords are also the chords in ‘Killing Me Softly,’ ‘Final Countdown,’ Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and so on."
"What we’re trying to say is that all music comes from the same place, and it’s all valid," Igudesman said.
For tickets and more information, visit www.thelongcenter.org.
The Flatlanders at the Paramount. Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock first released music together as the Flatlanders more than 40 years ago, then when their separate ways, on to successful solos careers. The legend of that early group only grew over the years, leading to new music, as well 2012’s "lost" "Odessa Tapes." With Amy Cook. 8 p.m. $30-60. 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org.
— Peter Mongillo
Also playing: The Eastern Sea at the Parish; Rayon Beach, Low Times and La Migra at Mohawk; Clyde and Clem’s Whiskey Business, Mayeux and Broussard, Rosie and the Ramblers, These Mad Dogs of Glory at Holy Mountain; Linen Closet, Some Say Leland and Fellows at the Central Presbyterian Church; the Austin Steamers, Madisons and Victor Holk at Frank.
Austin Classical Guitar Society. A performance by Vladimir Gorbach. 8 p.m. Saturday. $25-$50. Northwest Hills United Methodist Church, 7050 Village Center Drive. 300-2247, www.austinclassicalguitar.org.
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. "Heaven & Earth," works by Fidencio Duran. "The Big Red Bus," retrospective works by Oscar Martinez. Opens Saturday. Opening reception for both exhibits 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Both exhibits through March 30. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. 600 River St. 974-3772, www.austinmacc.org.
Architects of Air: Exxopolis Luminarium. Visitors enter the large sculpture to be immersed in a dreamscape of color and light. Opens Saturday. Weekdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends and MLK Day 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; through Jan 27. $10. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 474-5664, www.thelongcenter.org.
Events & programs
"Weird! True Hollywood Tales." Lashonda Lester hosts her biography/pop culture history lecture series; this month’s theme is "It’s Cold in the D," covering all things Detroit. 8 p.m. Saturday. $10. Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Road. www.weirdtruetales.com.
City-Wide Garage Sale. A vintage and antique flea market. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. $5; children younger than 12 free. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. 441-2828, www.cwgs.com.
MLK Memorial Service Days. Two three-hour volunteering sessions. 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Monday. Free; RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Urban Roots Farm, 7651 Delwau Lane. 750-8019, www.urbanrootsatx.org.
Texas State Trading Card Premiere. A celebration of arcade games, with autograph signings, vendors, presentations and more. Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. $10. Pinballz Arcade, 8940 Research Blvd.
Faerie Tea Party. Dress up with faerie wings and enjoy tea, crafts and goodies. 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. $10; register online in advance. Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Road. 974-3888, www.austintexas.gov/ansc.
Bruises & Bandages 5K. A women’s only 5K presented by Trailhead Running. 9 a.m. Saturday. $40-$70. Russell Park, 2101 CR 262, Georgetown. 585-5034, www.myraceregistration.com/EventView.asp?EVID=186.
Author appearance. Joe Holley speaks and signs copies of his book, "Slingin’ Sam: The Life and Times of the Greatest Quarterback Ever to Play the Game." Only books purchased at BookPeople are eligible for signing. Attending the event is free. 603 N. Lamar Blvd. www.bookpeople.com.