Christopher Wilkins has served as Music Director of the Akron Symphony since 2006. Under his direction the orchestra’s programming has reflected his strong interest in community-oriented projects. He has developed partnerships with many artists and organizations based in Northeast Ohio, including the Akron Art Museum, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Firestone High School, Summit County Historical Society, YEPAW 365, GroundWorks Dance Theater, Neos Dance Theatre, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Recent major collaborative projects have included fully staged performances of Porgy and Bess, The Rite of Spring, Titanic, South Pacific, A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and Carmina Burana. The orchestra’s community initiatives have been awarded a major grant from the Knight Foundation to support community engagement projects and collaborative programming over a five-year period.
Maestro Wilkins also serves as Music Director of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, a summer orchestra performing weekly on Boston’s Esplanade and throughout the neighborhoods of Boston. As a guest conductor, he has appeared with many of the leading orchestras of the United States, including those of Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. He has also appeared regularly with orchestras in Latin America, New Zealand, Spain and the UK.
He previously served as Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony and the Colorado Springs Symphony, and is currently Artistic Advisor to the Opera Theatre of the Rockies in Colorado Springs. Wilkins also served as resident conductor of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, helping launch that orchestra in its inaugural season, and leading it on tours throughout the Americas.
Wilkins won the Seaver/NEA Award in 1992. He has served as the associate conductor of the Utah Symphony, assisting his former teacher Joseph Silverstein; as assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, as assistant to Christoph von Dohnányi; conducting assistant with the Oregon Symphony under James DePreist; and was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
Born in Boston in 1957, Maestro Wilkins earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. He received his master of music degree from Yale University, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. As an oboist, he performed with many ensembles in the Boston area, including the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and the Boston Philharmonic under Benjamin Zander.