The living legend of the flute, Sir James Galway, assisted by Lady Galway, also a renowned International flute soloist, is regarded as both the supreme interpreter of the classical flute repertoire and a consummate entertainer whose appeal crosses all musical boundaries. Sir James has made himself a modern musical master whose virtuosity on the flute is equalled only by his limitless ambitions and vision. Through his extensive touring, over 30 million albums sold and his frequent international television appearances, Sir James has endeared himself to millions worldwide and is a tireless promoter of the arts.
One of the busiest men in classical music, the 2012/13 season sees Galway appearing all over the world in concert – opening the season with concerts with the Grammy award winning Emerson String Quartet in Ireland and Italy; a tour of the UK with the Orchestra of St. John’s, and onto China for a collaboration with guitarist Xuefei Yang at the Beijing Festival and a week long residency with the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra in Hong Kong. Another highlight will be a New Year’s Eve televised concert with the NY Philharmonic “Live from the Lincoln Centre”.
European engagements include a tour of Italy, Switzerland and South America; concerts in Russia with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists. Following this will be ‘The Legacy Tour’ with Sir James and friends, stopping at major cities throughout the US, including New York, Boston, Washington DC and Los Angeles.
Spring will see Sir James performing back in Europe before touring Israel and ending the season back in the UK. Belfast born, Sir James studied in London and Paris before embarking on his orchestral career in such prestigious orchestras such as the Sadlers Wells & Royal Covent Garden Operas, The BBC, Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, before taking up the coveted position of solo flautist with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan.
Since launching his successful career as a soloist in 1975, his busy touring schedule sees him performing with the world’s leading orchestras and most prestigious conductors. From Galway’s lips have come definitive treatments of classical repertoire and masterworks by Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart. He also features contemporary music in his programs, including new flute works commissioned by him and for him by composers such as Adamo, Amram, Bolcom, Corigliano, Heath, Lieberman and Maazel. Upcoming commissioned projects include; a Double Flute Suite for 2 flutes and piano written especially for Sir James & Lady Galway by the Northern Irish Composer, Philip Hammond; a Flute concerto by Tan Dun (to be premiered 2014); a concerto by Bill Whelan (to be premiered summer 2013); and a specially commissioned concerto by Elaine Agnew for the Ulster Orchestra & the Ulster Youth Orchestra and flute commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for the Royal Albert Hall Proms, Summer 2012.
Alongside his busy performing schedule he makes time to share his wisdom and experience with the young through the International Masterclass Series he holds each year with his wife in Switzerland. Through these, and the numerous other classes they hold worldwide throughout the year, they are able to have a hands on mentoring to the students they meet throughout their work.
Due to launch 2013, are the long awaited ‘James Galway Online Flute Tutor Series’. This will be an interactive series of lessons, masterclasses, tips and live concerts direct on the internet for access for flute students and flute lovers of all ages.
In addition, Sir James continues commissioning new works for the flute, publishing articles, flute studies and books (his latest autobiography, entitled The Man with the Golden Flute, a Celtic Minstrel, was published by John Wiley & Son). To celebrate his legacy and commitment to flute players all over the world, he has recently collaborated with Conn-Selmer Inc, in the development of a new, high quality student flute, aptly called ‘The Galway Spirit’, and with Nagahara Flutes of Boston who have released a special ‘Galway Gold Nagahara flute’. His website www.thegalwaynetwork.com is devoted to students and educators.
Sir James has played for such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, President Clinton, President George W. Bush, President George H.W. Bush, President Mary McAleese, Prince Charles, HRH The Princess Royal, The Empress of Japan, The Queen of Norway, Princess Diana, TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Kent, and most recently President Shimon Peres, and shared the stage with an amazing array of entertainers including Stevie Wonder, Henry Mancini, John Denver, Elton John, the Chieftains, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Jessye Norman, Cleo Laine and Andrea Bocelli. He performed with Pink Floyd in their memorable concert at the Berlin Wall, was part of the Nobel Peace concert in Norway and performed at the G Seven summit hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace.
He also devotes much of his free time supporting charitable organizations such as SOS, FARA, Future Talent, Youth Music (UK), The Caron Keating Foundation, Lorin Maazel’s Châteauxville Foundation, Shimon Peres Peace Center educational project and UNICEF, with which he holds the title of special representative.
Among the many honors and awards for his musical achievements are; the Recording Academy’s President’s Merit Award; Classic Brits Lifetime Achievement Award; numerous gold and platinum CD’s and most recently inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. He has been honoured twice by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with The OBE in 1979 and again in 2001 with a Knighthood for his services to music. In December 2009, Sir James was also awarded the honour of being made the first Artist Laureate of the Ulster Orchestra.
A discography of over 65 CD’s with BMG Sony Classics and Deutsche Grammophon ranging from the great classics such as Mozart & Bach, his performing on the sound track of ‘Lord of the Rings’ (Return of the King) a recent release “O’Reilly Street” with the Cuban timba group, Tiempo Libre, reflects his mastery of musical diversity. Recent releases include a 70th Birthday compilation of some of the Maestro’s favourite collaborations; a Vivaldi DVD with I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone and Lady Galway recorded live at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, Italy – Hardy Classics; and a 12 CD Box set titled “James Galway – The Great Flute Concerto Edition” released as part of ‘Sony Classical Masters’ series. Sir James lives with his wife and family in Switzerland and currently plays on the 20K ‘Galway’ Nagahara Flute – especially commissioned for him.