“Let’s talk music”, says Simone Young with obvious relish. We’ve been chatting for a while over a glass of wine in a pleasant bar in Balgowlah – the northern Sydney suburb where Young grew up and where her widowed mother still lives.
When Limelightcatches up with her, the acclaimed Australian conductor is back on a fleeting visit to help settle her mum into a new home after a health scare, but has generously agreed to make time for an interview. Given the circumstances, we’ve been discussing our similar experiences to do with aging, ailing parents on the other side of the world.
But Young is flying out first thing the next morning and still has lots to do, so the time has come to cut to the chase and focus on the thing that she is primarily here to discuss – her imminent return to Australia in July to conduct an epic performance of Olivier Messiaen’s massive Turangalîla-Symphoniefor the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) in Melbourne.
While in Australia, she will also conduct concerts for the Queensland, Sydney and the West Australian Symphony Orchestras – the latter, a 20th anniversary celebration of the first time she conducted there.