Rising Star Andy Hudson

On Sunday, November 5, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band begins it’s 62nd season of musical excellence with Star Wars: A New Hope.  This premiere program will feature Andy Hudson, a virtuosic rising star on clarinet.  He will be featured on Michael Daugherty’s Brooklyn Bridge, a thrilling aural depiction of the New York landmark.

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Performances by clarinetist Andy Hudson have been hailed as “a treat for the listener” and praised for “an uncommon singularity of purpose, technical virtuosity, youthful vigor and a mature sensitivity.” Based in Chicago and active internationally, Andy has performed at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest, the World Congress of the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Music Teachers National Association Conference, Constellation Chicago, and regional gatherings of the College Music Society, the Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival, and the North American Saxophone Alliance. A frequent soloist,

Andy has recently performed concerti of Weber, Gandolfi, Mozart, David, and Copland among others. Andy has received invitations to perform at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Hot Springs Music Festival, and the Belgian Clarinet Academy. Andy was the grand prize winner at the 2008 MTNA National Senior Woodwind Competition, and has also won the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Concerto Competition, the MTNA Southern Chamber Music Competition, and both the Columbus State University and Northwestern University Concerto Competitions.

A fierce advocate for new music, Andy presented at the 2017 New Music Gathering, has premiered and commissioned dozens of works to date, and has performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNow, F-PLUS, a.pe.ri.od.ic., earspace, 10th & Broadway, and the Zafa Collective. Andy is currently an Instructor of Music at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses in Music Theory, Aural Skills, and 21st Century Music, and a Lecturer in Music at Lake Forest College. Additionally, each summer he joins the Artist-Faculty of the Tennessee Valley Music Festival in Huntsville, AL. Andy is a current DMA Candidate at Northwestern University, where he also earned the Master of Music degree. He previously earned the Bachelor of Music degree from Columbus State University. Andy’s primary teachers have included Steve Cohen, J. Lawrie Bloom, and Lisa Oberlander.



We know that you will enjoy this exclusive NCB interview with Mr. Hudson.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was born into a family with a Choir Director for a mother and a recovering-hippie Bass Guitarist for a father. Because of this, I learned to love a wide variety of musical styles from an early age, and I still maintain a deep love for both the classical and popular music realms! I took up the clarinet and the guitar in elementary school, and I can honestly say I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to still be performing.

What have been some of your musical influences?  I think most often of those who have poured themselves into me throughout the course of my career. I’ve had so many great mentors, people like Mallory Thompson, Steve Cohen, Lisa Oberlander, Eric Mandat, and Lawrie Bloom. I feel a deep desire to honor their investments in me and to pay it forward by empowering future generations of musicians to realize their potential.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  There are too many to count! However, one recent performance I found very meaningful was Northwestern SWE’s performance at the CBDNA National Convention in Kansas City. We performed a powerful program of repertoire that dealt with themes of identity, love, loss, hope, and innocence. To share this moment in a beautiful concert hall, surrounded by people I love, was truly stirring.

What’s on your iPod?  A little bit of everything! Recently, I’ve been listening to Bartok, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Debussy, Brand New, Caroline Shaw, and The War on Drugs. I also love folk music and Americana, but I’m always looking for something new to inspire me. New music is like fresh air!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  Igor Stravinsky. As far as I can tell, The Rite of Spring is musical perfection, and The Soldier’s Tale is one of my all-time favorite pieces. Stravinsky worked in a vocabulary wholly distinct from his contemporaries, and his music still feels remarkably fresh to this day.

What does music mean to you?  Music is not meant to terminate on itself, but rather it must be leveraged to enact as much good in the world as it can. While I take tremendous joy in my own practicing and performance, I feel that music is something I can offer the world. It can bring peace or beauty into a world that desperately needs it, or it can provide a vessel for interacting with and processing the pain we encounter. Music can be a tremendous force for healing and for good. As the saying goes: “Perhaps it is music that will save the world.”


What do you do to relax?  I love to bicycle, run (distances from 5k to the Marathon), and hike whenever possible. I find that enjoying a physical hobby allows me to channel the intensity of the music process in a way that energizes and refocuses me. I also try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and two kids! Together, we love to listen to records, cook, and watch movies – especially Finding Dory.

Do you have any advice for young musiciansLearn to love the grind! Music is a process, and even as we progress, we never really arrive. Each day we must strive to be better than the day before, and if we can learn to love the process – not just the results – then we have a real shot to love and make music for our whole lives.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  The Northshore Concert Band is amazing! During my Master’s Degree at Northwestern many years ago (I won’t tell you just how many!), we had the opportunity to perform a side-by-side of “Dionysiaques” with SWE and NCB. The love of music, excellence in performance, and community dynamic that NCB embodied have made that performance a treasured memory. I’m simply delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Mallory Thompson & the NCB for this upcoming concert!

A special thank you to Mr. Hudson for generously sharing with us his thoughts and experiences! Please visit his website at www.theandyhudson.com to learn more about this rising star!

Don’t miss Andy Hudson’s solo clarinet performance during Star Wars: A New Hope, 3:00 pm November 5, 2017 concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the beautiful Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.  Reserve your seat today!

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Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!


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Jason Lucker plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2015. He is a Musician with the Navy Band Great Lakes and lives in Waukegan, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing in 6th grade because all my friends were joining band, so obviously I went along with them. I chose trumpet because lf the very first note in my favorite movie at the time: Star Wars.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love trying to evoke a real emotional response from the people who here me (hopefully a positive one, if everything goes well). Whenever I hear a great performance that truly means something to me, I am inspired to try to make my next performance of whatever I’m playing, whether it’s Sousa or Husa, just as meaningful to the audience.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  I will never forget playing for what seemed like 2000 children at a school in Manila, Philippines. We played a mix of pop tunes, jazz, classical pieces, and American marches, as well as a couple of Tagalog songs. But no matter what we played, the kids and their teachers gave a great response, smiling, clapping along, cheering, etc. It took a full two hours to get to our changing room after the concert because they all wanted pictures and signatures afterward. The whole experience was incredible.

What are your musical influences? I have many musical influences, but two stand out. First, I absolutely adore Chris Martin and everything that comes out of the end of his bell. I think his sound is the most beautiful trumpet playing I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard him play, I was in a rut when it came to my instrument, and I was entirely ready to give up and move on to other things. But Chris’s sound with the CSO brass section inspired me to get back in the practice room and never turn back. And having gotten to meet him after a NCB concert, he’s a great guy in person, too. Second is one of my best friends and my personal mentor, a middle/high school band director in a small school in Indiana. I’ve never met anyone who cared about or put so much of themselves into their daily job as her and if I can reach even a fraction of that amount of dedication to my instrument and my career, I will consider my efforts a success.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Dr. Robert Grechesky, former director of bands at Butler University. Not only did I learn a great deal about conducting from him, but I learned how to love band music under his baton. Before studying at Butler, I was very much an orchestra snob and thought little of wind bands and wind band music. But it’s literally impossible to dislike band working with a man like Dr. Grechesky and I’m very grateful for getting to work with him.

Does anyone in your family play music? Not in my immediate family. I have a cousin with a doctorate in church music who plays organ very well, but I don’t see him much.

What’s on your iPod? Literally everything from Ludacris to to Sibelius. Because I’m required to play a wide range of musical styles for work, I listen to just about everything so I can have a good grasp of what I should sound like. Plus, it’s easier to like what I’m playing if I can learn to find something to like when listening to it.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? You do not have to practice on days that you do not eat. That is not an excuse to choose not to eat.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Everyone in the group is there because they want to be. And because the musical expectations are set high by Dr. Thompson, everyone works hard to be prepared for our rehearsals and concerts.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Fun. Dedicated. Engaged.

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

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