Simone Young was born in Sydney, Australia, on March 2, 1961. After studies in piano, composition, and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium, Young started her career as a repetiteur at the Australian Opera in 1983. She later worked as an assistant to James Conlon (Cologne Opera House) and Daniel Barenboim (Oper Berlin and the Bayreuth Festival). She rose quickly, soon getting engagements at the world's leading opera houses, including at the Met and Covent Garden.
Meanwhile, she developed her career on the concert stage, taking on the post of principal conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (1998-2002). Young was chief conductor at Opera Australia from 2001-2003. In 2004 she was awarded the rank of Member of the Order of Australia by the country's Governor-General for her artistic contributions. In 2005 she accepted the dual appointment of general director at the Hamburg State Opera and chief conductor of the Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011, she was awarded the Bernard Heinze Memorial Award. Among Young's later recordings are symphonies by Bruckner and Mahler, as well as the music dramas of Wagner, on Oehms Classics.