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Thomas Wilkins

Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting; Professor of Music (Orchestral Conducting)

Biography

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

He is also music director of the Omaha Symphony through the 2020-21 season, a position he has held since 2005. In addition, he is principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and holds the Germeshausen Family and Youth Concert Conductor chair with the Boston Symphony. Past positions include resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony and the Florida Orchestra (Tampa Bay), and associate conductor of the Richmond (Virginia) Symphony. He also has served on the music faculties of North Park University (Chicago), the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Devoted to promoting a life-long enthusiasm for music, Wilkins is hailed as a master at communicating and connecting with audiences of all ages. Following his highly successful first season with the Boston Symphony, The Boston Globe named him among the “Best People and Ideas of 2011.” He received the prestigious Outstanding Artist award at the 2014 Nebraska Governor’s Arts Awards for his significant contribution to music in the state.

During his conducting career, he has led orchestras throughout the United States, including The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra—both of which he returned to guest conduct in the 2016-17 season. He has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Utah Symphony, National Symphony in Washington, D.C., and at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, among other engagements.

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 in Omaha and Center Against Spouse Abuse in Tampa Bay, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Academy Preparatory Center, both in St. Petersburg, Florida. 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.

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Wilkins is a graduate of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He and his wife, Sheri-Lee, live in Omaha and are the proud parents of twin daughters, Erica and Nicole.