“Thomas Wilkins is on a roll,” writes Mark Stryker in Sunday’s (6/21) Detroit Free Press. “He’s helped the Omaha (Nebraska) Symphony reach new heights as music director since 2005 and this month starts his second season as principal guest conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Of course, we know Wilkins as the beloved and highly visible resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. … A natural communicator, he’s been the go-to maestro for family and education concerts and presided over Classical Roots celebrations of African-American musicians. He’s also led core classical concerts. Wilkins, who conducts the DSO’s annual free Metroparks concerts Friday through Sunday, ends his formal DSO tenure this summer.” Stryker interviews Wilkins, who discusses his pursuit of versatility. “There are not a lot of guys who can do Mahler one week and then Nancy Wilson the next,” says Wilkins, “and who will love both equally. Mahler makes me a better artist in the long run, so I can’t not do that. But I’ve been gifted in a way that allows me to be usable to all kinds of people and audiences. I love turning on a 4th grader to classical music.”

Posted June 22, 2009