Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Thomas Wilkins on the importance of engaging more broadly with communities

Posted on: November 25, 2020

Thomas Wilkins leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

“Orchestras have realized over the past decade that they were leaving people behind and needed to confront that, the Boston Symphony’s Thomas Wilkins said,” writes Jed Gottlieb in Saturday’s (11/21) Boston Herald. “For Wilkins, the BSO’s youth and family concert conductor and artistic adviser for education and community engagement, that means … more masterclasses in local schools. It means doing classic repertoire and Duke Ellington and expanding the BSO’s collaboration with Boston hip hop band STL GLD. ‘I want to be presenting things that shock two sets of constituents,’ he said with a laugh…. The conductor will debut a new addition of the virtual pro-gram ‘BSO Now’ on Thursday…. titled ‘Music in Changing Times: American Promise,’ [featuring] BSO members on Jessie Montgomery’s ‘Starburst,’ William Grant Still’s ‘Out of the Silence’ and Duke Ellington’s ‘New World A-Comin,’ with pianist Aaron Diehl, and ‘Come Sunday,’ with narrator Charlotte Blake Alston…. Wilkins doesn’t want anyone assuming that what the BSO does isn’t for them. ‘If you’re not proactive about taking what you have and making sure that as many people as possible get it … then of course people will draw that conclusion,’ he said.” Wilkins is also music director of the Omaha Symphony and principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.