Young was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. He graduated from Hampshire College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in music, and then completed his post-graduate work at North Texas State University. In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles. Originally a jazz Drummer, when he heard some of Bernard Herrmann's works he decided to become a film Composer. He studied at the UCLA Film School under David Raksin. He teaches at the Thornton School of Music of the University of Southern California.
Young was honored with the prestigious Richard Kirk award at the 2008 BMI Film and TV Awards. The award is given annually to a Composer who has made significant contributions to film and television music.