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Contrabass, double bass, string bass, stand-up bass, and bass viol are all names for a particularly misunderstood and underappreciated musical instrument whose versatility is rarely fully exploited. Italian virtuoso Scodanibbio has emerged in the last decade as one of the foremost performers on this giant of the string family, and his collaborations with the likes of Iannis Xenakis, as well as prominent Italian composers such as Giacinto Scelsi and Luigi Nono, have expanded the instrument’s repertoire and the perceived notions of its seemingly unlimited range of expressive power. Tonight, courtesy of the Italian Cultural Institute, Scodanibbio performs his work Postkarten, a duet for reciter and contrabass, with the poet (and former member of the Italian senate) Edoardo Sanguineti. English translations of the text will be available for those who don’t have time to brush up on their Italian. At 5 p.m. at the Church Street Theater, 1742 Church St. NW. Free. For reservations call (202) 387-5161 x3. (Amy Domingues)