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Thomas Wilkins is Music Director of the Omaha Symphony; a position he has held since 2005. Additionally, he is Principal Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Boston Symphony’s Artistic Advisor, Education, and Community Engagement, and Indiana University’s Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting established by the late Barbara and David Jacobs as a part of that University’s “Matching the Promise Campaign.” 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 life-long enthusiasm for music, Thomas 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 while in 2018 Thomas Wilkins received the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society conferred by Boston’s Longy School of Music. And in 2019 the Virginia Symphony bestowed Thomas Wilkins with their annual Dreamer Award.
During his conducting career, he has led orchestras throughout the United States, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony and the National Symphony—all of which he will return 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, and the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, as well as at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.
His commitment to community has been demonstrated by his participation on several boards of directors, including the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Charles Drew Health Center (Omaha), the Center Against Spouse Abuse in Tampa Bay, and the Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Academy Preparatory Center both in St. Petersburg, FL. Currently, he 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, VA, 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 Sheri-Lee, are the proud parents of twin daughters, Erica and Nicole.
Thomas Wilkins, conductor
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Eighteen-year-old American pianist Amir Siraj is a
2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. In the past year, he
has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
in Washington, D.C., Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion in
Chicago, the Atlantic Council Awards in New York, the New World
Center in Miami, JBLFest in Las Vegas, and Carnegie Hall. Siraj has
been guest soloist with orchestras including the Boston Pops
Orchestra, the New England Philharmonic, the Quincy Symphony
Orchestra, the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra, and the Midwest Young
Artists Symphony Orchestra. He received the Grand Prize at the
Fidelity Investments Young Artist Competition, First Prize at the
Harvard Musical Association, and Second Prize at the Kaufman
International Youth Piano Competition. Siraj has also been honored
as a guest of NPR's "From The Top" at Jordan Hall and selected as a
winner of the National YoungArts Competition. In addition, he has
appeared at venues including Boston's Symphony Hall, Bowdoin
International Music Festival, American Liszt Society, and the Max
Reger Foundation of America, among many others.
Siraj believes in the power of music and channeling it for
social good and healing. He has performed in and directed many
benefit concerts and outreach programs for Music For Food,
Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,
Goddard House, NewBridge on the Charles, Golda Meir House, and
Golden Living Center. He also performed as part of Christopher
O'Riley's new piece "This Land/Our Land" with other young musicians
with immigrant stories.
Siraj recently recorded with Lang Lang on Deutsche Grammophon.
He is currently studying piano with Wha Kyung Byun and studying
astrophysics at Harvard, where he also sings with the Krokodiloes,
Harvard's oldest a cappella group.
Amir Siraj, piano