Simone Young was already considered the world’s most successful woman conductor in the mid-1990s. From 2005 to 2015, she was artistic director of the State Opera and general music director of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra. Since 2022, the Australian has been chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She first appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2005.
After early piano and flute lessons, Simone Young received a scholarship at 16 that enabled her to study under composer Martin Wesley-Smith. In her native Sydney, she studied composition and piano, while also making her conducting debut at the age of 21 – with the operetta [H.M.S. Pinafore] by Arthur Sullivan. This was followed by an engagement as répétiteur at the Sydney Opera, where she also soon substituted at the conductor’s desk. In 1987, Simone Young received the Young Australian of the Year award and a subsequent scholarship to Europe, where she worked as an assistant, first with James Conlon in Cologne, and later with Daniel Barenboim in Paris and Bayreuth. Simone Young was kapellmeister at Oper Köln from 1991 to 1993 and kapellmeister at the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden from 1993 to 1995, where she made her debut in 1992. Already during this time, her international opera career took her to major houses such as the Royal Opera House, the state opera houses in Vienna, Berlin, Munich and Hamburg, the Opéra Bastille in Paris and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Since the second half of the 1990s, the conductor has also conquered the international concert stages: with the Vienna and Munich Philharmonic, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and the orchestras of New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Cincinnati. Simone Young was also principal guest conductor of the Lisbon Gulbenkian Orchestra and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, principal conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and artistic director and principal conductor of the Australian Opera in Sydney and Melbourne.