Thomas Wilkins stands out at the Hollywood Bowl

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In the world of classical music, Thomas Wilkins, the principal guest conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, stands out in more ways than one.

Wilkins, who will lead the orchestra Friday, Saturday and Sunday in its Fireworks finale program ‘Blame It on Rio,’ is one of the country’s most distinguished conductors. In addition to his work with the Bowl, he is the music director of the Omaha Symphony and resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony.


But Wilkins is notable for another reason aside from his musical prowess: he is one of the few professional African-American conductors in the country. As the conducting ranks of major orchestras grow more diverse, as illustrated by the debut next month of Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamal as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Asian-American Alan Gilbert at the New York Philharmonic, Wilkins is receiving more recognition.

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-- Greg Braxton