“I am thrilled to take up this role with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra," said Simone Young. "As an Orchestra, it is amongst the world’s finest. Since my first appearances with the Sydney Symphony 23 years ago, I have witnessed its extraordinary artistic growth. It’s a virtuosic ensemble, and it is an Orchestra of which every Australian can be proud."

By Ian Horswill


Posted on December 17, 2019

Internationally renowned Australian conductor Simone Young has been appointed to the role of Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 2022. Young will be Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s 13th conductor to hold the coveted title, the first woman and the third Australian, and the first Australian-born conductor to hold the position since 1991. She will be Chief Conductor Designate during the year prior to her taking up the role.

Fittingly, Simone Young conducted the Orchestra in its final classical performance at the Sydney Opera House in 2019, featuring Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied, before the concert hall is fully refurbished over two years. The start of Young’s tenure will coincide with the Orchestra’s return to the Opera House concert hall in January 2022. In the meantime, the orchestra will be based at the Sydney Town Hall, where it resided from its inception in 1932 until 1973, when the Opera House was officially opened, Sydney Symphony Orchestra said in a statement.

During her three-year tenure as Chief Conductor, from 2022–2024, Young will conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra over eight weeks each year, and will contribute to the Orchestra’s artistic programming while continuing to fulfil her commitments to engagements in Europe and the US.

Simone Young has forged a stellar international career. She was General Manager and Artistic Director of the Hamburg State Opera, as well as Music Director of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra from 2005 to 2015. She is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland and has been a regular guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. She has also worked with such illustrious opera companies as the Wiener Staatsoper, the Bavarian State Opera, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin, and Zurich Opera.

“I am thrilled to take up this role with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra,” said Young. “As an Orchestra, it is amongst the world’s finest. Since my first appearances with the Sydney Symphony 23 years ago, I have witnessed its extraordinary artistic growth. It’s a virtuosic ensemble, and it is an Orchestra of which every Australian can be proud.”

“It is an Orchestra I know and love. I grew up with the Sydney Symphony and its performances provided me with a rich experience of music which I was able to take with me from my high school days to the moment I first stepped on a podium. The Orchestra continues to inspire me.”

simone young

Emma Dunch, CEO of Sydney Symphony, said in a media statement, “Simone Young is one of Australia’s greatest musical exports. That she has agreed to become our Chief Conductor represents a landmark moment in the history of the Sydney Symphony, and for classical music in Australia.”

“Simone comes to the Sydney Symphony with an extraordinary international reputation for artistic excellence and musical success across the symphonic and operatic spheres. Her extraordinary talent and achievements, and her presence here, will have a profound impact on the musical and cultural life of our nation. One of the great artistic institutions of this country led by a brilliant musical mind will be matched by a renewed Concert Hall of international standards. This will be a stunning time for music and for communities.”

Simone Young has enjoyed a long association with the Sydney Symphony since her debut with the Orchestra in 1996, and regular guest appearances ever since. In anticipation of her appointment, she will please Sydney audiences by returning to Australia in 2020 to conduct Visions of Vienna with the Orchestra. She will also conduct Beethoven’s Symphony No7 in the international cooperative project in July/August 2020 celebrating the composer’s 250th birthday, as well as A Viennese Gala and Brahms’ Symphony No4 in November 2020.