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Akron Roundtable inspires and promotes community dialog and networking by presenting speakers who inform and educate listeners on diverse topics of importance to the region, the nation, and the world. You can hear a broadcast of this forum every fourth Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. on WKSU.

Christopher Wilkins: A Presentation on Akron's Julia Perry, How Does a Shadow Shine?

Pictured is Christopher Wilkins, Music Director & Conductor of the Akron Symphony
Christopher Wilkins, Music Director & Conductor of the Akron Symphony

About the Speaker:

Christopher Wilkins became Music Director of the Akron Symphony in the fall of 2006. Since then 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.

In recent seasons, Mr. Wilkins and the orchestra have developed programming with an emphasis on underrepresented voices. The 2021–2022 season begins a multi-season exploration of the work of Akron-based, mid-20th century composer Julia Perry, as one example. They have also invited a broad range of community members to share the stage as performers. 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.

Mr. 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. Mr. 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. Mr. Wilkins was winner of the Seaver/NEA Award in 1992. He served as the associate conductor of the Utah Symphony, assisting his former teacher Joseph Silverstein; 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.

More information at akronrountable.org.

J. Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.