Radical Woman of the Day: Simone Young

On this day in 1961 was born Simone Margaret Young, Australian conductor, first female conductor at the Vienna State Opera, and first woman to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic. Young studied composition, piano, and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and began working as a répétiteur for the Opera Australia in 1983.

In 1985 Young began conducting for the Sydney Opera House, and she subsequently worked as an assistant to other conductors at the Cologne Opera, the Berlin State Opera, and the Bayreuth Festival. She became the first woman to conduct the Vienna State Opera in 1993 and in 1998 became the principal conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, where she remained until 2002.

In 2005, Young became chief executive of the Hamburg State Opera and chief conductor of the Philharmoniker Hamburg, where she currently remains. That year she also became the first woman to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic. During her time at Hamburg she became the first female conductor to record Wagner’s Ring Cycle and the symphonies of Anton Bruckner.