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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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Acclaimed by critics in the United States
and abroad for performances of stunning virtuosity, refinement and
communicative power, Ya-Fei Chuang's international appearances
include the Berlin Radio Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic, the
City of Birmingham Symphony, the Israel Symphony, the Malaysian
Philharmonic, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra;
performances at the Berlin Philharmonie and Schauspielhaus Berlin,
the Gewandhaus Leipzig, London's Queen Elisabeth Hall, Boston's
Symphony Hall, National Concert Hall in Taipei, and Suntory Hall in
Tokyo. She has performed at numerous international festivals,
including the Beethoven Festival (Warsaw), the European Music
Festival (Stuttgart), the Musikfest Stuttgart, the Bach Festival
(Leipzig), the Taipei International Music Festival, the Ruhr Piano
Festival (numerous appearances), and the festivals of Schleswig-
Holstein, Gilmore, Ravinia, Sarasota, and Tanglewood. She performs
frequently with the Spectrum Ensemble Berlin (Germany), and has
appeared in duo performances with Noah Bendix-Balgley, Martin
Chalifour, Alban Gerhardt, Kim Kashkashian, Mark Kosower, Gabriel
Lipkind, and is a frequent partner with Steven Isserlis and Robert
Levin. Ya-Fei Chuang has appeared at the International Music
Sessions in Prussia Cove, England, and with the New York
Philomusica. Appearances in recent seasons include the festivals of
Verbier, Ruhr, Oregon Bach, Nevada, the Mozartwoche in Salzburg,
the Mozart Festival in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and in Boston, New
York, San Francisco, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan,
Tokyo, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and at the International Grieg Piano
Competition in Norway (where she was a member of the jury in the
2014 and 2016 competitions).
Performances on fortepiano include Boston Baroque, Handel &
Haydn Society, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,
Philharmonia Baroque, and Concerto Köln. She has recorded for ECM,
Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, and New York Philomusica Records.
The Ruhr Festival has released several of her live recordings,
including a solo album distributed as a premium of Fono
Forum Magazine. Reviewing her live recording of the
Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1, Fanfare Magazine hailed her
''delicacy and fluidity of touch ... this version now sits at the
top of the pile of Mendelssohn Firsts, alongside Perahia, [Rudolf]
Serkin, and John Ogdon.'' Her recording of Hindemith chamber works
was awarded a special prize by the International Record Review.
Upcoming CD releases include all-Liszt and all-Chopin
recordings, as well as the complete piano solo works by Ravel for
Le Palais des Dégustateurs, to be released worldwide on Harmonia
Mundi. Reviewing her recent solo recital in Boston in The Boston
Musical Intelligencer, Mark DeVoto wrote, ''Ya-Fei Chuang carries
Chopin's banner today equally with the best of those whose names
are more world-famous - - I think of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Garrick
Ohlsson, and Idil Biret.''
Ya-Fei Chuang's mastery of the most challenging solo and chamber
repertoire is complemented by her commitment to contemporary music.
She has given the world premieres of works by John Harbison,
Stanley Walden, Thomas Oboe Lee, and Pulitzer prizewinner Yehudi
Wyner. She is on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory in Boston
and gives master classes throughout the United States, Europe, and
Asia, and an annual two week master class at the International
Summer Academy at Mozarteum in Salzburg. .
Ya-Fei Chuang, piano