The Kennedy Center

Sir James Galway


Sir James Galway is regarded as both the supreme interpreter of the classical flute repertoire and a consummate entertainer whose appeal crosses all musical boundaries.

As one of the most televised and recorded classical artist performing today, Sir James has made himself a legend, a modern musical master whose virtuosity on the flute is equaled 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. As an instructor and humanitarian, Sir James is a tireless promoter of the arts.

Belfast born, Sir James went on to study in London and Paris before embarking on his orchestral career in such prestigious orchestras as the Sadlers Wells & Royal Covent Garden Operas, The BBC, Royal Philharmonic and London Symphonies, before taking up the coveted position of solo flautist with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert Von Karajan.

Since 1975, when Sir James launched his solo career, he has continuously performed with the world's leading orchestras and conductors, participated in chamber music engagements, popular music concerts and given masterclasses. From Galways' lips have come definitive treatments of classical repertoire and masterworks by Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart. He also features contemporary music in his programmes, including new flute works commissioned by him and for him by composers such as Amram, Bolcom, Corigliano, Heath and Lieberman. Taking up the baton, and in addition to numerous play/conduct engagements he holds the illustrious position of Principal guest Conductor of the London Mozart Players.

Highlights of this season begin in Asia where Sir James will embark upon an orchestral and recital tour, performing with the Japan and Osaka Philharmonic and National Chinese orchestras. Joined in recital by the renowned flutist, Lady Jeanne Galway and pianist, Phillip Moll, they will delight audiences in cities such as Kobe, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok & Taiwan.

His US presence will see him performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Buffalo & Dayton Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra. He will also perform in recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Sarasota & Clearwater Florida, Kansas City and Ann Arbor Michigan, where Sir James will be presented with the 2008 UMS Distinguished Artist Award at the 13th Annual Ford Honors Program (previous recipients include Rostropovich, Jessye Norman & Van Cliburn).

In Europe, Sir James will be seeing in the New Year with an all star studded concert with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, led by Muhai Tang in the famed Luzern Concert Hall and on New Years day in the Zurich Tonhalle. As well as performing in recital in Germany, Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom and Switzerland, Sir James will be guest soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra and performing with the Ulster Orchestra in his home town of Belfast and in Dublin.

Sir James has played for such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, Presidents Clinton, George W Bush, George Bush Snr, President Mary McAleese, Prince Charles, The Princess Royal, The Empress of Japan, The Queen of Norway, Princess Diana, The Earl and Duchess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Kent 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 & 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.
Alongside his busy performing schedule he finds time to share his wisdom and experience with the generations of tomorrow conducting annual master classes, commissioning new works for the flute, publishing articles, books and flute studies. His website is devoted to all students, educators and flute lovers worldwide.

Sir James devotes much of his free time supporting charitable organizations such as SOS, FARA, Future Talent, Swiss Artistic Foundation, The Caron Keating Foundation and UNICEF, with which he holds the title of special representative.

A discography of over 60 CDs with BMG Sony Classics, a new range of CDs with Deutsche Grammophon and performing on the sound track of, "Lord of the Rings" (Return of the King), reflects his mastery of musical diversity.

With his latest release My Magic Flute, a tribute to Mozart, Sir James' magic continues.

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 Concerti. His 60th birthday was commemorated with 1999's Sixty Years, a 15-CD retrospective of his works for the RCA Victor Red Seal label.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England has honored 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 honored at the prestigious Classic Brits Awards held in London's Royal Albert Hall in 2005, 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.

(Feb. 2008)
Sir James Galway