Born in Boston, Christopher Wilkins earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard (1978), where he was music director of the Bach Society Orchestra. As an oboist, he performed with the Berkshire Music Center Orchestra at Tanglewood and with the Boston Philharmonic under Benjamin Zander. In 1979–80 he attended the Hochschule der Künste in West Berlin as a recipient of the John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowship, awarded by the Harvard Music Department. He studied at Yale University with Otto-Werner Mueller, receiving his Master of Music degree in 1981. He was assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1983 to 1986, and from 1986 to 1989 he served as associate conductor of the Utah Symphony, assisting his former teacher Joseph Silverstein. From 1989 to 1996 he was music director of the Colorado Springs Symphony, serving in later seasons as music advisor. He served for eleven years as music director of the San Antonio Symphony, and was named resident conductor of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas by Plácido Domingo during its inaugural season. As a guest conductor, Wilkins has appeared with many of the leading American orchestras, including those of Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Houston, Detroit, and Cincinnati. He has also appeared with orchestras throughout Latin America and in Germany, Russia, Spain, and New Zealand. In 1992 Wilkins won the Seaver/NEA Award, designed to identify exceptionally talented American conductors early in their careers. Currently, Wilkins is music director of the Akron Symphony, and also of the Orlando Philharmonic and Boston Landmarks Orchestra.
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