James Galway is regarded as both the supreme interpreter of the classical flute repertoire and a consummate entertainer whose appeal crosses all musical boundaries. A living legend, his 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 and is a tireless promoter of the arts. Born in Belfast, Ireland, he went on to study in London and Paris. After embarking on an orchestral career with various orchestras in London, he took the coveted position of solo flutist under Herbert von Karajan.
Despite Sir James's busy performing schedule, he makes time to share his wisdom and experience with the young; conduct annual master classes; commissions new works for the flute (by composer such as David Amram, John Corigliano, William Bolcolm, and Lorin Maazel); and publishes articles, flute studies, and books. Working with flute companies, he has developed a new student flute, the "Galway Spirit" by Conn-Selmer. He has been privileged to perform for presidents and royalty, and has a passion for charitable work, in which he raises funds for the arts and organizations such as UNICEF, Youth Music UK, FARA, and SOS.
James Galway is the recipient of numerous awards such as being named Musician of the Year by Musical America (in 1997); receiving The Recording Academy's President Merit Award (2004), Classic Brits Outstanding Contribution to Classical Music Award (2005), and Ford Honors (2008); being elected to Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame (2008); and being named the First Artist Laureate of the Ulster Orchestra (2009). Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has honored him twice with an OBE in 1979 and a Knighthood for Services to Music in 2001.
A discography of more than 65 CDs, many of the platinum and gold, reflects Sir James's musical diversity. He performs on a 20 K "Galway" Nagahara Flute especially commissioned for him.