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Thomas Wilkins

Principal Conductor, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

About this Artist

Thomas Wilkins is Principal Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He has held a titled position at the Hollywood Bowl since 2008, when he was named Principal Guest Conductor; in the spring of 2014, he became Principal Conductor.

In addition, he is the Boston Symphony’s Artistic Advisor, Education and Community Engagement; Indiana University’s Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting, a position established by the late Barbara and David Jacobs; and Principal Guest Conductor of the Virginia Symphony. At the close of the 2020/21 season, he ended his long and successful tenure as Music Director of the Omaha Symphony. Other past positions have included resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony and Florida Orchestra (Tampa Bay), and associate conductor of the Richmond (VA) 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 lifelong enthusiasm for music, Wilkins brings energy and commitment to audiences of all ages. He is hailed as a master at communicating and connecting with audiences. Following his highly successful first season with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Globe named him among the “Best People and Ideas of 2011.” In 2014, 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 March 2018, the Longy School of Music at Bard College honored him with the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. In 2019, the Virginia Symphony bestowed Wilkins with its annual Dreamer’s Award. In 2022, the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Music, the Boston Conservatory awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Arts, and he was the recipient of the League of American Orchestras’ Gold Baton Award.

During his conducting career, Wilkins has led orchestras throughout the United States, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonic orchestras; the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras; the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati, and Detroit; and the National Symphony.

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