Wilkins was chosen out of an initial field of 180 applicants. Five finalists were chosen to audition with the Akron Symphony this season: Wilkins in September, Jung-Ho Pak in October, John Morris Russell in November, David Briskin in January, and Paul Polivnick in February. Wilkins succeeds Ya-Hui Wang.
Wilkins' tenure as music director of the Orlando Philharmonic also begins this fall. For ten seasons he was music director of the San Antonio Symphony. During Wilkin's tenure in San Antonio, the orchestra received six programming awards from ASCAP, including the first Morton Gould Award for creative programming.
Wilkins was music director of the Colorado Springs Symphony from 1989-1996 and is currently artistic advisor to the Opera Theatre of the Rockies in Colorado Springs. He was assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1983-86, working with music director Christoph von Dohnšnyi.
Born in Boston, Mr. Wilkins received his bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1978. As an oboist, he performed with ensembles in the Boston area including the Boston Philharmonic under Benjamin Zander. He studied at Yale University with Otto-Werner Mueller, receiving his master of music degree in 1981.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Wilkins' audition concert was a hit because he helped the orchestra overcome the dry acoustics of E. J. Thomas Hall and produce a rich, resonant sound.