Wilkins, who has served as guest conductor for ABT since 2000, is currently the music director and principal conductor for the National Ballet of Canada. He will take up his ABT post immediately, while retaining his NBC position through the end of the 2005-06 season.
Born in Australia, Wlkins became the resident conductor of the Australian Ballet in 1982. A year later, he was appointed conductor of the U.K.'s Sadler's Well Royal Ballet. He joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1990. He has appeared as a guest conductor at La Scala, the Royal Philharmonic, and Melbourne Symphony, and other orchestras and ballet companies.
In an interview with Playbill earlier this year, Wilkins cited the late conductor and composer John Lanchberry as a mentor.
"You want [dance and music] to come together in the best way possible," he said. "If you can't convey that to the orchestra, what's the point? You won't get the performance you want. That's what Jack was all about. Dancers he conducted for felt they were getting something extra."
"I'm there to make the musical side of the equation a coequal part of the entire experience," he added.