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Thomas Wilkins conducts Hailstork, Sierra, Price and Ellington with saxophonist James Carter

Thomas Wilkins conducts Hailstork, Sierra, Price and Ellington with saxophonist James Carter

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Thomas Wilkins, the BSO's Germeshausen Youth and Family Concerts Conductor, makes his subscription series debut with this concert, which features music of three African-American composers along with the Puerto Rico-born Robert Sierra. Sierra wrote his Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra for eminent jazz saxophonist James Carter, including opportunities for improvisation within his dynamic and soulful score. Also in the jazz spectrum is Duke Ellington's lush, impressionistic tone poem A Tone Parallel to Harlem. Florence Price graduated from Boston's New England Conservatory in 1906 as a pianist and organist; she also studied composition there. She wrote her Third Symphony in 1940 on a commission from the WPA; Thomas Wilkins has arranged sections of the four-movement work into a tone poem he calls "Symphonic Reflections." The brash, optimistic concert-opener An American Port of Call was written in 1985 for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra by Adolphus Hailstork, inspired by his bustling home city of Norfolk, VA, where he is a professor at Old Dominion University.

Featured Performers

Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Thomas Wilkins, conductor View biography in full page >

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 James Carter, saxophones James Carter, saxophones
Program Notes Audio
Adolphus HAILSTORK - An American Port of Call
Roberto SIERRA - Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra
PRICE - “Symphonic Reflections” from Symphony No. 3
ELLINGTON - A Tone Parallel to Harlem (Harlem Suite)
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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