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Simone Young

Chief Conductor


Australian-born Simone Young is internationally recognised as one of the leading conductors of her generation and is the Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, having been Chief Conductor Designate since 2020.

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.

This year Simone Young will make her much-anticipated Bayreuth Festival debut conducting Wagner’s Ring Cycle. She also returns to both the Berlin and Vienna State Opera companies, the Berlin, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Oslo and Goeteborg Philharmonic Orchestras, Dallas and Washington National Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.

2023 saw the commencement of Simone Young’s Sydney Symphony Orchestra Ring Cycle with the presentation of Das Rheingold which played to sold out audiences, standing ovations and five-star reviews. A second, feature-length documentary film, Knowing the Score, about Simone Young and her career was also internationally released in 2023.

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, National Symphony Orchestra, Washington and the 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 España, Madrid. In Australia she has conducted the West Australian, Adelaide, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the Australian World Orchestra.

Also a highly sought-after guest conductor at the world's leading opera houses, in recent seasons Simone Young has appeared at the Vienna State Opera (Britten: Peter Grimes and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; J. Strauss II: Die Fledermaus; Henze: Das verratene Meer; Wagner: Lohengrin and Parsifal; Prokofiev: The Gambler; Gounod: Faust and R. Strauss: Salome); Bavarian State Opera, Munich (Janáček: Jenufa and Aus einem toten Haus; Wagner: Tannhäuser and Tristan und Isolde; Beethoven: Fidelio and R. Strauss: Elektra); Berlin State Opera (Puccini: Tosca; Beethoven: Fidelio; Mussorgsky: Chowantschina; R. Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten; Wagner: Tannhäuser); Zurich Opera (R. Strauss: Salome and Elektra; Beethoven: Fidelio; Wagner: Parsifal and Lohengrin); Teatro Real, Madrid (Reimann: Lear) and Royal Swedish Opera, Stockholm (R.Strauss: Elektra). Most recent engagements include returns to The Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera and her La Scala, Milan debut with Peter Grimes.

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.

Simone Young is the recipient of many awards and honours including Honorary Member (Ehrenmitglied) of the Vienna State Opera, 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 and I Lombardi) with the Hamburg Staatsoper, the 2011 Sir Bernard Heinze Award, the prestigious Goethe Institute Medal in 2005, 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.

In February 2024, Simone Young and the Sydney Symphony announced a two-year extension to her contract as Chief Conductor, extending her leadership of the Orchestra until the end of 2026.