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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; and in the spring of 2014 became Principal Conductor.  

Additionally, he is the Boston Symphony’s Artistic Advisor, Education and Community Engagement; Indiana University’s Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting established by the late Barbara and David Jacobs, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Virginia Symphony. At the close of the 20/2021 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, 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 March of 2018, the Longy School of Music awarded him the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. In 2019 the Virginia Symphony bestowed Thomas Wilkins with their annual Dreamer’s Award. In 2022 the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award for Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee 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, he has led orchestras throughout the United States, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, and the Symphonies of Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit; and the National Symphony. 

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.