Simone Young

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Simone Young (2010)

Simone Margaret Young AM (born 2 March 1961) is an Australian conductor. She was born in Sydney, of Irish ancestry on her father's side and Croatian ancestry on her mother's side.[1] Young was educated at the Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney. She studied composition, piano and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.


Commencing in 1983, Young worked at Opera Australia as a répétiteur under various conductors, including Charles Mackerras, Richard Bonynge, Carlo Felice Cillario and Stuart Challender. Young started her operatic conducting career at the Sydney Opera House in 1985. In her early years, she was assistant to James Conlon at the Cologne Opera, and to Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera and the Bayreuth Festival. From 1998 until 2002, Young was principal conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway.

From 2001 to 2003, Young was chief conductor of Opera Australia in Sydney. Her contract was not renewed after 2003, with one given reason being the excessive expense of her programming ideas.[2]

Young made her first conducting appearance at the Hamburg State Opera in 1996. In May 2003, she was named both chief executive of the Hamburg State Opera and chief conductor of the Philharmoniker Hamburg, posts which she assumed in 2005.[3] In 2006, she became Professor of Music and Theatre at the University of Hamburg. Critics of the magazine Opernwelt selected her in October 2006 as the Dirigentin des Jahres (Conductor of the Year). In December 2011, it was announced that Young would conclude her tenures with both the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Philharmonic after the 2014/2015 season.[4]

Young was the first female conductor at the Vienna State Opera in 1993.[3] She conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra when they performed "Advance Australia Fair" at the 2000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Sydney. In November 2005, she was the first female conductor to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic.[5] Her discography includes most of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner (the Study Symphony, and nos. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8), and the complete Ring Cycle of Richard Wagner; she was the first woman to have recorded either of these cycles (complete or not). She has also recorded the complete cycle of Brahms' symphonies.

In August 2008, Young appeared as part of the judging panel in the reality TV talent show-themed program Maestro on BBC Two.[6]

In December 2012 she was voted Limelight magazine's Music Personality of the Year.[7]

In the major operatic anniversary year 2013, Young conducted the entire 'Bayreuth canon' of ten Wagner operas at a festival entitled 'Wagner-Wahn' in Hamburg, along with three rarely performed Giuseppe Verdi operas from his 'galley years' as a trilogy in September to November - La battaglia di Legnano, I due Foscari, I Lombardi alla prima crociata, which the Opera magazine reviewer considered major highlights of the year.[8]

In March 2016 Simone Young was appointed Member of the Board of the European Academy of Music Theatre.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Young is married and has two daughters. Young has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne. She has been appointed a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France. On 26 January 2004, in the Australia Day Honours, Young was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) "for service to the arts as a conductor with major opera companies and orchestras in Australia and internationally".

Selected discography[edit]



  1. ^ Prof. Dr. Darko Žubrinić, "Simone Young Australian conductor of Croatian mother and Irish father". Croatian World Network, 16 September 2010
  2. ^ Katrina Strickland (27 May 2005). "OA turns corner on debt". The Australian. Retrieved 6 April 2008. 
  3. ^ a b John Carmody (16 December 2005). "Sensitive autocrat in a season of content". The Australian. Retrieved 6 April 2008. 
  4. ^ "Simone Young will 2015 an der Staatsoper aufhören". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). 8 December 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Simone Young to conduct Vienna Philharmonic". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2007. 
  6. ^ "Eight passionate amateurs bid to become BBC Two's Maestro" (Press release). BBC. 23 May 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2008. 
  7. ^ Limelight Awards: 2012 Winners Announced!, 17 December 2012; Retrieved 11 April 2013
  8. ^ Canning, Hugh. Report from Hamburg. Opera, February 2014, Vol 65 No 2, p185-7.
  9. ^ Simone Young new Member of the Board, 16 March 2016; Retrieved 16 March 2016

External links[edit]

Media related to Simone Young at Wikimedia Commons

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Dmitri Kitayenko
Principal Conductor, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by
Andrew Litton
Preceded by
Richard Bonynge
Music Director, Opera Australia
Succeeded by
Richard Hickox
Preceded by
Ingo Metzmacher
Music Director, Hamburg State Opera
Succeeded by
Kent Nagano