The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has named pre-eminent Australian conductor Simone Young as its new Chief Conductor. She will take up the position at the start of 2022 when the orchestra returns to its home at the Sydney Opera House following the two-year closure of the Concert Hall for a major upgrade, including an acoustic refurbishment. In 2021, she will be the orchestra’s Chief Conductor Designate as she puts the 2022 program in place.

Young – who was voted Australian Artist of the Year by Limelight‘s critics in 2018 – will be the SSO’s 13th Chief Conductor, the third Australian to hold the title following Sir Charles Mackerras (1982 – 1985) and Stuart Challender (1987 – 1991), and the first woman.

Simone Young. Photograph © Nic Walker, stylist Virginia Van Heythuysen, hair and makeup by Desiree Wise, courtesy of Sydney Symphony Orchestra

She first conducted the SSO in 1996. “In those 25 years I’ve seen the orchestra go from being very good to being a truly great orchestra today,” she tells Limelight. “This is a fantastic world orchestra, and we just have a very empathetic response to one another that has really developed...