Thomas Wilkins talks about his conducting passion

Posted on: January 31, 2013

In Sunday’s (1/27) Arizona Republic (Phoenix), Ed Masley interviews conductor Thomas Wilkins, music director of the Omaha Symphony and youth and family concerts conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, just as he is about to guest conduct the Phoenix Symphony in three concerts this week. “I’ve wanted to be a conductor since I was 8 years old. This is a year before I started violin. My third-grade class got on a bus and went to hear this thing called the Norfolk Symphony. This man comes out and starts to wave his arms and this incredible sound happens. I thought, ‘Gosh, that’s where I want to be is right there in the middle of all that.’ So that became my lifelong dream.… To this day I still love doing children’s concerts.’ ” In 2011, Wilkins became the first African American to hold a conducting position with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he serves as Youth and Family Concerts conductor. Asked what impact race has had on his career, Wilkins says, “To the extent that a little kid who looks like me can look at me and say, ‘Oh my God, that’s also a possibility for my life,’ that’s when it means the most to me. Beyond that, I don’t think about it very much.”

Posted January 31, 2013