Violin duo Les Deux at Live Lunch Break

Clare Elena Semes, left, and Chelsea Starbuck Smith are the alt-classical duo Les Deux.
Clare Elena Semes, left, and Chelsea Starbuck Smith are the alt-classical duo Les Deux.

The thing about violin prodigies: they can make a person feel foolish.

"Get over it," I say, reminding myself that, when I was 22, I built a plastic model replica of the Frankenstein monster and painted him a posthumous blue-green!

Thus buoyed, I'm looking forward to the inaugural Live Lunch Break of the summer season at noon today in New London's Telegraph Record Store - featuring Les Deux. The violin duo comprises the precociously and charmingly talented Clare Elena Semes and Chelsea Starbuck Smith - both Juilliard graduates whose work together involves not just fluid instrumental chops but their own astounding transcriptions of classical and contemporary favorites. Area classical music fans will remember Starbuck Smith from her dazzling 2013 solo debut, when she performed Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra.

Given their scope and skill, then, any Les Deux program might range from "Norwegian Wood" and "Stars and Stripes Forever" to Chopin piano preludes, Rachmaninoff or even variations on Bernstein's "West Side Story."

The Les Deux concert was supposed to be first of the 2014 Live Lunch Break outdoor shows in the Hygienic Arts Park. Last summer's performances there became an anticipated Thursday noontime Mecca for downtown New London, but today's weather forecast, calling for heavy thunderstorms, moves Les Deux inside the Telegraph.

Next week's Lunch Break, featuring The Rivergods, remains scheduled for the Art Park. Captain's Pizza will return as the series' official sustenance-provider.


Les Deux, noon today, The Telegraph, 19 Golden St., New London; Live Lunch Break Summer Series; free; (860) 443-8001.


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