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Spring Awakening

At the Children’s Music Festival, established musicians back up the prodigies.


If it were just a kids’ recital, the Children’s Music Festival would draw mostly excited parents toting cameras, no matter how talented its prodigies. But the producers of the CMF—the end-of-season concert by the students of Midori & Friends, a public-school music program founded by the Japanese violinist—have been surprised to learn that half their audience members are outsiders. That’s most likely because they’ve called on high-profile grown-up musicians to join the kids, and the result is a real party onstage. This year’s festival stars some 150 public schoolers (up from 100 last year, ranging from third through twelfth grades), alongside Latin-jazz great Arturo O’Farrill, violin hip-hoppers Nuttin’ But Stringz, and the African call-and-response performers ForestDance. To up the interactive ante, executive director Judi Linden will distribute some 1,700 tambourines, shakers, and other percussion instruments to turn O’Farrill’s piece “Mambo Pizza” into a great big interactive audience to‑do. Midori, who’s on tour in Japan, won’t be there, but host David Gonzalez will tell musical stories between segments. And speaking of touring, for the first time this show will play two venues this year: Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture in the Bronx and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Next stop, Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice …

6/3 at 3 p.m.; Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, 450 Grand Concourse, at 149th St., the Bronx; 6/9 at 3 p.m.; Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., nr. Greenwich St. (212-767-1300 or ­; free.


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