Thomas Wilkins is principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Artistic Advisor, Education and Community Engagement. He holds Indiana University’s Henry A. Upper chair of orchestral conducting, established by the late Barbara and David Jacobs. At the end of the 2020–21 season he concluded his long and successful tenure as music director of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.
Other past positions include resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Florida Orchestra (Tampa Bay), and associate conductor of the Richmond (Virginia) Symphony. He has served on the music faculties of North Park University (Chicago), University of Tennessee (Chattanooga), and Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond).
Devoted to promoting a life-long enthusiasm for music, Mr. Wilkins brings energy and commitment to audiences of all ages and is hailed as a master at communicating and connecting with audiences. He has led many orchestras throughout the United States and abroad; recent engagements have included returns to the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, DC), to name a few.
His commitment to community has been demonstrated by his participation on several boards of directors, including the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Charles Drew Health Center (Omaha), Center Against Spouse Abuse (Tampa Bay), and the Museum of Fine Arts and Academy Preparatory Center (both in St. Petersburg). He currently serves as chairman of the board for the Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund and as national ambassador for the non-profit World Pediatric Project headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, which provides children throughout Central America and the Caribbean with critical surgical and diagnostic care.
In 2014 Mr. Wilkins received the prestigious Outstanding Artist award at the Nebraska Governor’s Arts Awards for his significant contribution to music in the state, and in 2018 he received the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society conferred by Boston’s Longy School of Music.
A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Thomas Wilkins is a graduate of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.