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  • Kenneth Young

  • Born: 1955


Kenneth Young is one of New Zealand’s leading conductors. He has established himself as a passionate and skilled interpreter of the Romantic and 20th Century repertoire, and twenty five years of practical orchestral playing enables him to establish a specialised rapport with his colleagues. Himself a composer, he has a particular interest in post-Romantic repertoire, and has received recognition for his recordings of New Zealand and Australian orchestral music.

Young took up the position of Principal Tuba with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1976 and his experience as a conductor with the NZSO dates from 1985, culminating in his appointment as the orchestra’s Conductor in Residence early in 1993. In 2001 he resigned from the NZSO in order to pursue his conducting and composing career fulltime.

Young has worked regularly with all the regional orchestras throughout New Zealand, and his engagements with the NZSO and the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra have included highly acclaimed CD recordings of the orchestral works of Douglas Lilburn, Edwin Carr, David Farquhar, Lyell Cresswell, Anthony Ritchie, Gareth Farr and many others, along with opera excerpts recorded with the New Zealand tenor Keith Lewis. He also regularly conducts seasons with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Outside New Zealand, Young has worked with the Queensland Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the City of Osaka Sinfonia, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He has particularly enjoyed the many opportunities to perform Australian and New Zealand repertoire side by side on both sides of the Tasman and has received considerable praise for his recordings of Australian music.

In addition to his work as a performer and a conductor, Young has become one of New Zealand’s leading composers. Numerous commissions from Chamber Music New Zealand, the NZSO, Australian orchestras, BBANZ, the International Festival of the Arts, Auckland Philharmonia, Vector Wellington Orchestra and Radio New Zealand, have been performed nationwide and also in the United States, Europe and Australia. He recently premiered his Symphony No.2 with the NZSO and his Saffire Concerto for Four Guitars and Orchestra with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, both to wide critical acclaim. Since 1988 he has been a member of the music faculty of the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University where he lectures in conducting, orchestration and compostion. In 2004 Young was awarded the Lilburn Trust Citation in Recognition of Outstanding Services to New Zealand Music.

Source: Kennneth Young, 2007


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