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Sir James Galway OBE (born December 8, 1939) is a Northern Irelandmarker–born virtuoso flutist from Belfastmarker, nicknamed "The Man With the Golden Flute". Following in the footsteps of Jean-Pierre Rampal, he became one of the first flute player to establish an international career as a soloist.


James Galway studied at the Royal College of Musicmarker under John Francis and then at the Guildhall School of Music under Geoffrey Gilbert. He then studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Gaston Crunelle and Jean-Pierre Rampal and also privately with Marcel Moyse.


After his education time he spent 15 years as an orchestral player. Galway played with the Philharmonia Orchestra as it rose to prominence in the 1950s.

He then played with Sadler's Wells Opera, Covent Garden Operamarker, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He auditioned for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Herbert von Karajan, and was principal flute of that orchestra from 1969 to 1975. To Karajan's surprise and dismay, after a period of some disagreement, "Jimmy" Galway decided that he would leave to pursue a solo career .

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 David Amram, Malcolm Arnold, William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Dave Heath, Lowell Liebermann and Joaquín Rodrigo. The album "In Ireland" by "James Galway and the Chieftains" reached number 32 in the UK album charts in 1987.

He still performs regularly and is one of the world's most well-known flute players.

He is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Mozart Players, based at the Fairfield Hallsmarker, Croydonmarker, South Londonmarker.

Most recently, Galway has performed for the Academy Award-winning ensemble recording the soundtracks of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy, composed by Howard Shore.

In June 2008, Galway was inducted into the Hollywood Bowlmarker Hall of Fame along with Liza Minnelli and B. B. King.

He currently performs on Nagahara flutes, as well as some Muramatsu Flutes.


In the 1970s Galway moved from Berlin to Lucernemarker, Switzerland, the home town of his second wife, Anna (Annie) Renggli, one of the daughters of a well-known local architect. They had twins and a son. In 1978 he recorded for her the famous instrumental version of John Denver's "Annie's Song". After their divorce he moved to Meggenmarker, Switzerland, a village next to Lucerne, where he resides now with his third wife, U.S.-born Jeanne Galway (née Cinnante). They often tour together playing duets, accompanied by Phillip Moll on piano. In addition, they give masterclasses for flutists of all levels.

Galway is also president of a global organisation called Flutewise, a charitable organisation which supports young flute players, run by Liz Goodwin.

In 2003 he formed the Music Education Consortium together with Julian Lloyd Webber, Evelyn Glennie and Michael Kamen to pressure the British Government into providing better music education in schools.

He was made an OBE in 1977 and was knighted in 2001.

Galway's nephew, Martin Galway, is a musician famous for his work on Commodore 64 computer game music in the 1980s.


  • Galway, James. (1982). Flute. Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides. London: Macdonald. ISBN 0356047113 (cloth); ISBN 0356047121 (pbk.) New York: Schirmer Books. ISBN 002871380X Reprinted 1990, London: Kahn & Averill London: Khan & Averill ISBN 1871082137



External links

  • September 15, 2008.
  • August 5, 2008.
  • Full Biography

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