Thomas Wilkins has served as Music Director of the Omaha Symphony since 2005. Additionally, he is Principal Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Artistic Advisor of Education and Community Engagement with the Boston Symphony, and he holds Indiana University’s Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting. Past positions have included resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony and Florida Orchestra, and associate conductor of the Richmond (VA) Symphony. He also has served on the music faculties of North Park University in Chicago, University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
During his conducting career, Mr. Wilkins has led orchestras throughout the US, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, and National Symphony—all of which he returned to guest conduct in 2019. Additionally, he has guest conducted the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, the symphonies of Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, San Diego and Utah, the Buffalo and Rochester philharmonics, as well as at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. Mr. Wilkins makes his San Francisco Symphony debut at these performances.
Devoted to promoting a life-long enthusiasm for music, Mr. Wilkins brings energy and commitment in performances for audiences of all ages. Following his first season with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Globe named him among the Best People and Ideas of 2011. In 2014, he received the Outstanding Artist Award at the Nebraska Governor’s Arts Awards for his significant contribution to music in the state. In 2018, he received the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society by Boston’s Longy School of Music. In 2019, the Virginia Symphony bestowed him with their annual Dreamer Award.
Mr. Wilkins participates on several boards of directors, including the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Charles Drew Health Center (Omaha), Center Against Spouse Abuse in Tampa Bay, and Museum of Fine Arts and Academy Preparatory Center, both in Saint Petersburg, FL. Currently he serves as Chairman of the Board for the Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund and as national ambassador for the World Pediatric Project, which provides children throughout Central America and the Caribbean with critical surgical and diagnostic care.
A native of Norfolk, VA, Thomas Wilkins is a graduate of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He and his wife are the proud parents of twin daughters.