Tickets & Events

BSO Family Concert Series
Boston Symphony Orchestra
"Learning By Heart: A Journey of Exploration and Engagement"

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Hall - Boston, MA View Map

The theme for this year's concerts is "Learning by Heart" - A Journey of Exploration and Engagement. The program will include Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, Chabrier's Marche Joyeuse, "Death of Tybalt" from Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet, Intermezzo from Bizet's Carmen, John Adams's Short Ride in a Fast Machine, the fourth movement (Aspiration) from Still's Symphony No. 1, and the fourth movement (Allegro ma non troppo) from Dvorák's Symphony No. 8. 

Seventeen-year-old pianist Amir Siraj, a freshman at Harvard University, was the winner of the 2017 BSO Concerto Competition, and will join Mr. Wilkins and the BSO for a performance of the first movement (Allegro maestoso) from Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat at the two Family Concerts to take place on Saturday, March 10, at 10 a.m. and 12 noon. These concerts will also include Dance of the Clowns from Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream, and are especially designed for children ages 3-8 and their families.

Featured Performers

Thomas Wilkins, conductor
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Thomas Wilkins is Music Director of the Omaha Symphony, a position he has held since 2005. Additionally he is Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and holds the Germeshausen Family and Youth Concert Conductor chair with the Boston Symphony. Past positions have included Resident Conductor of the Detroit Symphony, the 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 considered 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."

During his conducting career, he has led orchestras throughout the United States, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the Utah Symphony and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., to name a few.

He continues to make frequent appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony. During the 2012/2013 season he will make debuts with the orchestras of Phoenix, Sarasota, Naples and Long Beach, CA.

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 he 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 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 resides with his wife Sheri-Lee in Omaha. They are the proud parents of twin daughters, Erica and Nicole.

Thomas Wilkins, conductor Amir Siraj, piano
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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