Thomas Wilkins (conductor)

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Thomas Alphonso Wilkins (born c.1956) is an orchestra conductor. [1] He is Music Director Laureate of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra , [2] principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra , [3] and family and youth concerts conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra . [4] Wilkins lives in Florida with his wife, Sheri-Lee and is a proud father of twin daughters, Nicole and Erica.


Early life and education

Wilkins was born in Norfolk, Virginia and grew-up in a housing project, the son of a single mother and welfare recipient. [4] His inspiration to become an orchestra conductor came from a performance of The Star-Spangled Banner he attended when he was eight years old. [1]

Wilkins received a bachelor's degree in music education from the Shenandoah Conservatory in 1978, and a master of music degree in orchestral conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1982. [2]

Teaching and conducting

Wilkins has taught at North Park University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Virginia Commonwealth University. [2]

He worked as assistant director of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. He also worked as resident director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and The Florida Orchestra. [2]

Wilkins became music director of the Omaha Symphony in 2005, [2] and family and youth concert conductor of the Boston Symphony in 2011. [4] He retired from the Omaha Symphony on June 12, 2021. [5]

Wilkins is Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting and professor of music in orchestral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.


  1. 1 2 Braxton, Greg (2009-09-09). "Hollywood Bowl's Thomas Wilkins a classical case of beating the odds". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Thomas Wilkins, Music Director Laureate". Omaha Symphony. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  3. "About the conductor; Thomas Wilkins". Hollywood Bowl . Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  4. 1 2 3 Johnson, Akilah (2011-12-04). "Raising the baton; The BSO's first black conductor applies his passion to inspiring a new generation". The Boston Globe . Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  5. Freeman, Betsie (June 13, 2021). "Thomas Wilkins takes final bow as director of Omaha Symphony". Omaha World-Herald . Retrieved February 18, 2022.

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