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. 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 as the excessive expense of her programming ideas.
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. 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.
Young was the first female conductor at the Vienna State Opera in 1993. 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. Her discography includes most of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner (nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8), and the complete Ring Cycle of Richard Wagner, where in both cases, she was the first woman to have recorded these cycles (complete or not).
In August 2008, Young appeared as part of the judging panel in the reality TV talent show-themed program Maestro on BBC Two.
In December 2012 she was voted Limelight magazine's Music Personality of the Year.
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".
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