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Simone Young

Chief Conductor


Australian-born Simone Young AM is internationally recognised as one of the leading conductors of her generation. Her appointment as Chief Conductor Designate with the Sydney Symphony was announced in 2020 and she will take up the post of the orchestra’s Chief Conductor in 2022. 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.

Simone Young is regularly invited by the world’s great orchestras and has lead the New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Stockholm, New Japan, Helsinki, BBC and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras; the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo; Orchestre de Paris; Staatskapelle Dresden; the Bruckner Orchestra Linz; the Barcelona, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Minnesota and BBC Symphony Orchestras; the Bavarian Radio Symphony; the Deutsches Sinfonie, Berlin; the Wiener Symphoniker; the Polish National Radio Symphony; the MDR Orchestra; the NHK Symphony, Tokyo; and the Orchestra Nacionale de Espana, Madrid. In Australia she has conducted the West Australian, Adelaide, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the Australian World Orchestra..

Simone Young is also a favoured guest conductor at the world's leading opera houses and in recent seasons has appeared at the Vienna State Opera: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten), Das verratene Meer (Henze), Lohengrin, The Gambler (Prokofiev), Faust, Parsifal and Salome; Bavarian State Opera, Munich: Jenufa, Tannhäuser, Aus einem toten Haus (Janacek), Tristan und Isolde, Fidelio, and Elektra; Berlin State Opera: Tosca, Fidelio, Chowantschina (Mussorgsky) Die Frau ohne Schatten, Tannhäuser; Zurich Opera: Elektra, Fidelio, Parsifal and Lohengrin; Teatro Real, Madrid: Lear (Reimann); Royal Swedish Opera, Stockholm: Elektra. Upcoming engagements include returns to Zurich, Munich, Berlin, Vienna, The Metropolitan Opera New York and Opera Nationale de Paris.

Simone Young was Music Director of Opera Australia from 2001 to 2003, Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra from 1999 - 2002 and from 2007 – 2012 was Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Lisbon. Since 2017 she has been the Principal Guest Conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.

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 is the recipient of many awards and honours including the 2019 European Cultural Prize Vienna, the 2014 International Opera Awards for best anniversary production for the Verdi trilogy - La battaglia di Legnano, I due Foscari, I Lombardi with the Hamburg Staatsoper, the 2011 Sir Bernard Heinze Award, the 2005 prestigious Goethe Institute Medal, her appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2004, the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France and Honorary Doctorates from the University of Western Australia, Griffith University, Monash University and the University of New South Wales.

She has also been 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, and Lulu, Helpmann Awards for Best Classical Concert with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Best Musical Direction (Andrea Chenier), the Mo Award for “Classical Performer of the Year”, and a Grammy nomination for her recording of La Juive.