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The WCW Story

Since our founding, Windy City Woodwinds has strived to transform the woodwind mouthpiece industry by creating products that embrace tradition in an innovative and modern way. 

WCW was founded by Kevin Braner and Neil Xu, who were all too familiar with the tedious and expensive process of trying a multitude of different mouthpieces in order to find the perfect one. 


Fed up with the status quo, they set out to create professional quality mouthpieces that are consistent and versatile.

Mouthpiece Design History

The WCW journey started with an extensive research and development phase in which Neil and Kevin explored various techniques and technologies that could apply to mouthpiece manufacturing. Over the course of several months, they prototyped and play-tested dozens of designs, before releasing the first Jazz Classic Alto and Tenor mouthpieces in July of 2020. Since then, they have gone on to produce thousands of mouthpieces for over 20 countries around the world!

Early on, Kevin and Neil were joined by Kevin's brother, Matt, and they continuously worked to improve their current products, while simultaneously researching new products and designs. In June 2024, the team decided to give back to the community by open sourcing their models. They hope that others continue to support their mission of making great mouthpieces accessible to everyone.


Kevin Braner


Kevin Braner is an engineering student at Purdue University. He has played saxophone since he was nine years old and has studied improvisation under the instruction of some of Chicago's most renowned educators. Kevin most recently played with the Purdue Jazz Band as well as various jazz combos and teaches improvisation to beginning students. He founded WCW with Neil in an effort to create innovative mouthpieces that do not sacrifice tradition, and is very excited to be on the cutting edge of mouthpiece technology.

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Neil Xu

VP of Product


Neil is a computer science student at Brown University. He has been playing saxophone since he was ten, and has since performed at various venues all across the Midwest. Neil began designing mouthpieces with the goal of allowing all woodwind students and players to access high quality equipment at an affordable price point. When he's not prototyping WCW's latest mouthpieces, Neil enjoys playing tennis and making artwork.

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Matt Braner

VP of Operations

Matt graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has been playing alto saxophone for over twelve years and also enjoys playing guitar. Matt works behind the scenes at WCW to ensure production moves smoothly, and that all mouthpieces meet WCW's rigorous quality assurance specifications. He also assists on the R&D side of the house as well. Outside of WCW, Matt is an avid golfer and loves watching Chicago sports teams.

Meet The Team

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