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quin­tet WindSync makes its first ap­pear­ance at Carnegie Hall, six months be­fore the WSO ap­pears at the fa­bled New York City con­cert hall. The co­in­ci­dence only adds to his eu­pho­ria of at­tain­ing at the age of 28 what most mu­si­cians con­sider a crown­ing achieve­ment of their ca­reers. “Carnegie Hall is just one of those names every­body knows, even among peo­ple un­fa­mil­iar with clas­si­cal mu­sic,” says Hud­son, over the tele­phone from Maine, where he is on a tour that will cul­mi­nate next week at one of the world’s most fa­mous per­form­ing venues. “You tell them you are play­ing Carnegie Hall, they un­der­stand you’re pretty darn good.”

WindSync is a rebel cham­ber en­sem­ble made up of Hud­son, fel­low Cana­dian Erin Tsai on oboe, along with the Amer­i­can trio of bas­soon­ist Tracy Jacobson, clar­inetist Jack Mar­quardt and french horn player Anni Hochhal­ter. All are be­tween 25 and 28 and staunchly ded­i­cated to push­ing the bound­aries of wind quin­tet per­for­mance with a youth­ful, pop-rock sen­si­bil­ity. “We walk around call­ing our­selves a band more than a cham­ber en­sem­ble,” says Hud­son. “We think that says more about our im­age, more about our per­son­al­i­ties. We have our foot in two doors.” The five-year-old act’s name is a nod to boy band ’N Sync, whose songs Hud­son used to play along to while lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio in Winnipeg. It re­flects WindSync’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to be rock-star clas­si­cal mu­si­cians. The de­sire to shake up the stuffy clas­si­cal mu­sic es­thetic and cre­ate a unique niche for them­selves drives ev­ery­thing they do. The five per­form ex­clu­sively from mem­ory — not com­mon prac­tice — mak­ing it un­nec­es­sary to as­sume the tra­di­tional seated po­si­tion on­stage be­hind mu­sic stands ar­ranged in a semi-cir­cle. That frees them to move around and of­fer a the­atri­cal­ity through chore­og­ra­phy, cos­tumes and masks. For in­stance, in their ver­sion of Ravel’s Bolero, which WindSync will per­form at Carnegie Hall, they pass each other the drum­sticks while con­tin­u­ously tap­ping out its hyp­notic beat on the snare drum. Mixed in among the clas­si­cal mu­sic stan­dards are their orig­i­nal ar­range­ments of stan­dards of jazz, rock and Broad­way show tunes. Tues­day’s playlist in­cludes the Billy Joel tune And So It Goes with Hud­son — who com­peted in Cana­dian Idol in 2005 as a singer — as lead vo­cal­ist. “We are try­ing, in a way, to build the clas­si­cal mu­sic au­di­ence,” says the 2011 grad­u­ate of Rice Univer­sity’s Shep­herd School of Mu­sic in Houston. “We don’t nec­es­sar­ily feel that just play­ing tra­di­tional quin­tet reper­toire is go­ing to do that. I think it is ap­peal­ing to see a young, en­er­getic group re­ally ex­plor­ing clas­si­cal mu­sic. The younger gen­er­a­tion needs to see that to feel they can re­late.” And they do. The pho­to­genic Hud­son has had Justin Bieber mo­ments, where he is en­cir­cled af­ter con­certs by a throng of young girls clam­our­ing for him to au­to­graph their WindSync T-shirts. WindSync has been praised for its mu­si­cal vir­tu­os­ity, fresh­ness and DYI en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit that has made the act one to watch. The five mem­bers have been gain­ing no­tice — they re­cently won a Con­cert Artists Guild Ad­ven­ture­some Artist Prize. “We are all won­der­ing ev­ery day how far we can take this,” says Hud­son, whose twin brother is a Winnipeg ac­coun­tant. His road to Carnegie Hall started in St. Vi­tal when he joined the band pro­gram at École Louis-Riel and he was handed a flute to play. There wasn’t much thought put into what in­stru­ment he would take up. “I don’t be­lieve it mat­tered what in­stru­ment that was put into my hands,” he says. “What­ever it was would pro­pel me. I would ex­cel just be­cause of the love I had for clas­si­cal mu­sic. It was kind of fate.” Soon, Hud­son started study­ing pri­vately with teacher Lau­rel Ridd, who be­came an early men­tor and first rec­og­nized he was a tal­ent on the rise. She re­mem­bers watch­ing his first pub­lic per­for­mance, in which the Grade 9 stu­dent played a four-move­ment Baroque sonata. “You could see he was some­thing spe­cial,” says Ridd. “He can re­ally reach an au­di­ence.” Ridd or­ga­nizes the city’s an­nual Syrinx Flute Fes­ti­val, at which Hud­son met three teach­ers who led him in 2003 to the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia, where he earned his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in mu­sic per­for­mance. He then at­tended Toronto’s Glenn Gould Con­ser­va­tory for a year be­fore head­ing to Rice. It was there five years ago that he met Jacobson, who was as­sem­bling a cham­ber mu­sic en­sem­ble that be­gan as an ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach en­sem­ble that used its tal­ents to fight bul­ly­ing and sup­port autism aware­ness. Last year, WindSync won the Con­cert Artists Guild Vic­tor El­maleh Com­pe­ti­tion, earn­ing the date at Carnegie Hall. It should open doors for the quin­tet seek­ing rock ’n’ roll star­dom in clas­si­cal mu­sic. “We go to bed ev­ery night dream­ing that will hap­pen for us,” says Hud­son. “That is our goal.”

WindSync amps up its per­for­mances with cos­tumes and chore­og­ra­phy.

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