Sir James Galway
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Sir James Galway


Sir James Galway, known as "the man with the golden flute," is widely regarded as both a supreme interpreter of the classical flute repertoire and a consummate entertainer whose appeal crosses all musical boundaries. As the most televised and recorded classical artist performing today, Sir James has made himself a legend, a modern master whose virtuosity on the flute is equalled only by his limitless musical ambitions and vision. Through his extensive touring, over 30 million albums sold and frequent international television appearances, Sir James has endeared himself to millions worldwide. As an instructor and humanitarian, Sir James is a tireless promoter of the arts. In addition to keeping a busy touring schedule in which he gives recitals and performs with the world's leading orchestras, Sir James conducts annual master classes. He devotes much of his free time discharging his duties as president of Flutewise, a volunteer-based non-profit organization which encourages young flute players and donates instruments to low-income students and young people with disabilities.

Sir James tours extensively in the US, Asia and Europe. A highlight of his 2006-7 season was a US recital and orchestral tour--including selected guest appearances with his wife, the renowned flautist Lady Jeanne Galway--visiting twenty cities including Phoenix, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Boston and Washington, D.C. The season also included performances and master classes in Salzburg, Interlaken, Dublin, Trento and London.

In conjunction with the tour was the release of My Magic Flute, distributed by Deutsche Grammophon. The album is a Mozart extravaganza recorded with the Sinfonia Varsovia and featuring Sir James, Lady Galway and superstar harpist Catrin Finch--three top virtuosos unveiling their beautiful sound and breathtaking technique all at once. The recording includes a new version of Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp, plus all-new arrangements of some of Mozart's most popular instrumental and vocal compositions. Other tracks on the album are the Rondo alla Turca, Ruhe sanft mein holdes Leben from Zaide and the Andante from Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major, devised and specially arranged for two solo flutes and orchestra by David Overton.

Sir James was invited to give a special performance at the White House in March, 2006. That spring also saw his completion of a 22-city US tour performing as soloist and conductor with Lady Jeanne Galway and the Polish Chamber Orchestra, as well as engagements with the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of Chicago.

His European presence is never ending. Sir James has performed at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Salzburg Festival, the Royal Albert Hall in London, Windsor Castle, The Vatican and the National Concert Hall in Dublin, as well as in Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Tawain. Sir James has played for such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, President Clinton, Prince Charles, the Empress of Japan, the Queen of Norway, Princess Diana, the Earl and Duchess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Kent. He has shared the stage with an amazing array of entertainers including Stevie Wonder, Henry Mancini, John Denver, Elton John, the Chieftains and Cleo Laine. He played with Pink Floyd in their memorable concert at the Berlin Wall, was part of the Nobel Peace Concert in Norway and performed at the G7 conference hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace.

Most recently, Sir James has taken up the baton, and in addition to playing and conducting engagements around the world, he holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the London Mozart Players.

His album Ich war ein Berliner--James Galway and the Berlin Philharmonic--was released by Deutsche Grammophon in February, 2006. The title is modified from JFK's famous quote from his speech in front of the Berlin wall: "Ich bin ein Berliner", and the album pays homage to Sir James's time as Principal Flute of the Berlin Philharmonic. Wings of Song, Sir James's first release after signing a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, reached number one on the classical charts immediately after its release in August, 2004. Sir James also has a discography of over 60 CDs with BMG/RCA Classics, reflecting his mastery of repertoire ranging from the traditional masters to Japanese and Irish folk, jazz and cinema music. Even contemporary releases reveal the breadth Sir James brings to his music making; he performs on two tracks of the soundtrack of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in a score composed, orchestrated and conducted by Academy Award-winner Howard Shore. In December, 2004, Sir James starred in James Galway at the Penthouse: Live From Lincoln Center, in New York, with a viewing audience of eight million in the USA alone.

Born in Belfast, Sir James began playing the penny whistle as a small child before switching to the flute. He continued his studies at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, followed by the Paris Conservatory. He began his career at the Sadlers Wells Opera and the Royal Opera Covent Garden, which led to positions with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, where he played piccolo, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra where he was Principal Flute. In 1969, he was appointed Principal Flute of the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1975, Sir James launched his career as a soloist, and within one year had played over 120 concerts, including appearances with all the London orchestras.

Since then he has travelled extensively giving recitals, performing with the world's leading orchestras, participating in chamber music engagements, popular music concerts and leading master classes. From Sir James's lips have come definitive treatments of classical repertoire and masterworks by Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart. In addition to his performances of the standard classical repertoire, he features contemporary music in his programs, including new flute works commissioned by and for him by composers including Amram, Bolcolm, Corigliano, Heath and Lieberman.

As an instructor and humanitarian, Sir James is a tireless promoter of the arts. Alongside his busy performing schedule he finds time to share his wisdom and experience with the generations of tomorrow. He is the author/editor of several flute books, including a series of performance editions of flute works by G. Schirmer and Theodore Presser. He recently published a critical essay on the Twelve Studies of Boehm, Op.15. He is also developing a new website, The Galway Network, devoted to advanced students and educators. Sir James supports various charities, in particular FARA, SOS and UNICEF, with which he holds the title of special representative. Sir James and Lady Galway are patrons of Future Talent, a charity headed by the Duchess of Kent, and the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation, a Montreux-based charity directed by Baroness Heather de Haes and dedicated to supporting emerging young artists.

Sir James Galway was named the 1997 Musician of the Year by Musical America and has received Record of the Year awards from Billboard and Cash Box magazines, as well as the Grand Prix du Disque for his recordings of the Mozart Flute Concertos. His 60th birthday was commemorated by Sixty Years, a 15-CD retrospective of his works for the RCA Victor Red Seal label.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England has honoured him twice: in 1979 with an Order of the British Empire and in 2001 with a Knighthood for services to music. In 2004, Sir James was given the President's Merit Award from the Recording Academy at the Grammy's 8th Annual Salute to Classical Music. He has also been honoured at the prestigious Classic Brits Awards held in London's Royal Albert Hall, where he received the coveted Outstanding Contribution to Classical Music award in celebration of his 30 years as one of the top Classical Musicians of our time.

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