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Simone Young AM

Chief Conductor Designate


Australian-born Simone Young is internationally recognised as one of the leading conductors of her generation. From 2005–2015 she was General Manager and Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Music Director of the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg, where she conducted repertoire ranging from Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Wagner and Strauss, to Hindemith, Britten and Henze. She is an acknowledged interpreter of the operas of Wagner and Strauss, having conducted several complete cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Vienna Staatsoper, the Staatsoper in Berlin and again, to great acclaim, in Hamburg as part of the ‘Wagner-Wahn’ Festival, during which she conducted the 10 major Wagner operas. Her Hamburg recordings include the Ring cycle, Mathis der Maler (Hindemith), and symphonies of Bruckner, Brahms and Mahler. Her 2012 tour to Brisbane with the Hamburg Opera and Ballet, (Das Rheingold in concert, and Mahler Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”), won her the 2013 Helpmann Award for the Best Individual Classical Music Performance.

In 2019 Simone Young was awarded the European Cultural Prize in Vienna. The 2019–2020 season sees Simone Young return to the Vienna State Opera to conduct A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten) and Das verratene Meer (Henze); to the Berlin State Opera for Der Rosenkavalier, Fidelio and Chowantschina (Mussorgsky); to Teatro Real, Madrid for Lear (Reimann); to the Bavarian State Opera, Munich for Tannhäuser, and to Zürich Opera for Elektra and Lohengrin. She will also lead the New York, BBC, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras; San Francisco, Cincinnati and Minnesota Symphony Orchestras; the Orchestra Nacionale de Espana, Madrid; the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo; the Polish National Radio Symphony; the NDR Hannover and MDR Orchestras; the Orchestre de Paris and the NHK Symphony, Tokyo. In Australia Simone Young will conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Last season she returned to the Bavarian State Opera, Munich (Jenufa, Tannhäuser, Aus einem toten Haus); the Berlin State Opera ( Die Frau ohen Schatten, Fidelio); and to Vienna State Opera for Lohengrin and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

She also conducted the New York, Los Angeles, Stockholm, and New Japan Philharmonic Orchestras; San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, West Australian, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras; the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Deutsches Sinfonie, Berlin, a Strauss Gala for State Opera South Australia and returned to the Australian National Academy of Music in a special “Side by Side” collaboration with the West Australian Symphony in Perth.

The 2016–2017 season saw Simone Young make her BBC Proms and BBC Symphony debuts, as well as returning to the Berlin Staatsoper for Tannhäuser; Munich for Tristan und Isolde, Fidelio, and Elektra; Vienna Staatsoper for a new production of Prokofiev’s The Gambler, Faust and Parsifal; Frankfurt for Ernani; and Carmen in Paris. She also conducted the Stockholm, Helsinki and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras; Queensland, Sydney and West Australian Symphony Orchestras; at the Grafenegg Festival, and returned to the Australian World Orchestra with the Australian National Academy of Music. 2017 also marked the commencement of her appointment as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.

The 2017–2018 season also saw Simone Young return once again to the Vienna State Opera to conduct Salome. Thereafter, she led Fidelio and Parsifal at the Zurich Opera, Elektra at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, Tosca at the Berlin Staatsoper and a new production of Janacek’s From the House of the Dead at the Bavarian State Opera. Equally in demand on the concert podium, in 2017–2018 Simone appeared as a guest with orchestras in Munich (Bavarian Radio Symphony),Helsinki, Lausanne, Tokyo, Manchester, Monte Carlo, Bern and Australia.

Simone Young was Music Director of Opera Australia from 2001–2003, Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra from 1999–2002 and from 2005–2012 was Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Lisbon.

Whilst Music Director of Opera Australia her development of musical standards in the company received praise from the profession and the public alike. During this time, productions she conducted included Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Otello, Eugene Onegin, Lulu, Lucia di Lammermoor, Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser, Falstaff, Don Carlos, Andrea Chenier, La bohème, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro (from the fortepiano), Katya Kabanova, Un Ballo in Maschera, Der Rosenkavalier and Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci.

Simone Young has conducted the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Dresden, London and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Bruckner Orchestra, Linz, City of Birmingham Symphony, the Monte Carlo, Cincinnati, and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, the Wiener Symphoniker, New Zealand Symphony, and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.

In 2007 Simone was elected to the Akademie der Kuenste in Hamburg, nominated as the Conductor of the Year by Opernwelt magazine and awarded a Professorship at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg. Other awards include Green Room Awards for her performances of Die Frau ohne Schatten ( Melbourne Festival), Tristan und Isolde Lulu; Helpmanns Award for Best Classical Concert with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and Best Musical Direction (Andrea Chenier), the Mo Award for “Classical Performer of the Year” and the 2014 International Opera Awards for best anniversary production for Verdi trilogy – La battaglia di Legnano, I due Foscari, I Lombardi with the Hamburg Staatsoper. She has received Honorary Doctorates from University of Western Australia, Griffith University, Monash University and the University of New South Wales, and has been honoured with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France. In 2004 she was nominated for a Grammy Award for her recording of La Juive and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List. In 2005 she received the prestigious Goethe Institute Medal and in 2011 was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Award.