James Galway

Biography

Born: December 8, 1939; Belfast, Ireland  
Rivaled in fame among contemporary flutists only by Jean-Pierre Rampal, James Galway has earned both runaway popularity and critical respect. He has embraced the flute repertoire of all eras, including contemporary music. Part of his popularity is due to his sparkling, lively stage personality, which occasionally leads observers to compare him to a leprechaun.

In one interview, piqued by this recurrent comment on his Irishness, he pointed
Read more out that he came not from idyllic emerald green surroundings, but from the sooty industrial region of Belfast, within sight of the shipyard where the Titanic was built. He began to play the penny whistle when he was two years old, and he often uses the instrument in his encores. At least one of the concertos written for him also calls for him to substitute whistle for flute in several passages. When he started regular flute lessons, he developed quickly and won three top prizes in a local flute contest just two years later.

At that point Galway decided to make flute playing a career. He studied at London's Royal College of Music and Guildhall School. His first professional job was with the wind band at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. He then spent 15 years as an orchestral player, most notably as first-chair flutist in the Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan (1969-1975). Finally he decided to give up the security of an orchestral job to become a touring soloist and chamber player. In his first season he made 120 appearances. Soon his charm and the rich yet light tone of his gold-plated A.K. Cooper flute were familiar to concert audiences around the world. He also held a teaching position at the Eastman School of Music in the United States.

Galway's success has been due partly to the wide range of his repertoire. He has performed traditional flute repertoire in both orchestral and chamber settings. He is committed to renewing that repertoire through the introduction of new music and has commissioned works from composers including Henri Lazarof, Thea Musgrave, John Corigliano, and Lowell Liebermann. And, though he once stated that he intended to avoid pops or crossover repertoire, he has often released top-selling recordings of this kind. His personality transmits well over television, and part of his unusually wide popularity for a classical musician has come through broadcasts on the BBC and elsewhere. He has participated in Irish music recordings, often with the famous Irish band The Chieftains (as on 2002's Celtic Spectacular, and in the 1980s he collaborated with the U.S. country singer Sylvia on The Wayward Wind. The late 1990s saw the release of such Galway albums as Unbreak My Heart, consisting of flute-and-orchestra settings of top cinematic hits, and Tango del Fuego, Galway's contribution to the growing tango craze.

In 2001, Galway was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2003, his flute was heard on the soundtrack of the popular film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. His wife Jeanne Galway is also an accomplished flutist who has performed together with her husband and on her own. Galway has also contributed much to the cause of flute scholarship in editing old flute works for publication, for example Theobald Boehm's 1848 12 Grand Studies, Op. 15. Read less
Browse 1-8 of 8 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    James Galway Plays Flute Concertos
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 82812 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Stamitz  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Rainer Wolters,  Ursula Duetschler,  John Mayer  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  James Galway,  André Prieur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn,  I Solisti di Zagreb  ... 
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  • 2.
    James Galway - 60 Flute Masterpieces Vol 8 - 20th Century II
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63440 Release Date: 01/28/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Lowell Liebermann,  Carl Nielsen,  Malcolm Arnold,  John Carmichael  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Gareth Hulse,  Rachel Gough,  Philip Eastop  ... 
    Conductor:  Lowell Liebermann,  James Galway,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Louis Frémaux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Mozart Players,  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 3.
    James Galway - Celebrating 70: A Collection Of Personal Favorites
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 742201 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albert Franz Doppler,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Elton John,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip Moll,  Jeanne Galway,  James Galway,  Sarah Cunningham  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt,  Vincent Fanuele,  Henry Mancini,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Galway Pops Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 4.
    Bach Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 742557 Release Date: 03/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Hilary Hahn,  E. Power Biggs,  Andrea Marcon,  Peter Serkin
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Eugene Ormandy,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  I Solisti di Zagreb  ... 
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  • 5.
    James Galway Plays Mozart / Robles, Chamber Orch Of Europe
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 7861 Release Date: 04/18/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  James Galway,  Marisa Robles
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 6.
    Bach: Suite No 2, Concerto, Trio Sonatas / Galway
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 6517 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  James Galway,  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Moray Welsh,  Phillip Moll
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Zagreb
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  • 7.
    The Baroque Era - Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, Stamitz / Galway
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63433 Release Date: 02/06/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Stamitz,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Jeanne Galway,  James Galway,  Phillip Moll,  Malcolm Proud  ... 
    Conductor:  André Prieur,  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Irish Chamber Orchestra,  Zagreb Soloists
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  • 8.
    Vivaldi: 6 Concerti Op 10 / James Galway, New Irish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61351 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  James Galway
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Irish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 9.
    James Galway - My Magic Flute
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000714802 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Overton,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  James Galway,  Jeanne Galway,  Catrin Finch
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
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  • 10.
    The Bach Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 685241 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Peter Serkin,  Stephen Hammer,  Ruth Waterman,  Joel Timm  ... 
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Eugene Ormandy,  Richard Kapp,  Andrea Marcon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Virtuosi  ... 
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  • 11.
    The Handel Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 685242 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Siegfried Ochs
    Performer:  Edward Carroll,  Igor Kipnis,  Lee Soper,  Joel Timm  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Eugene Ormandy,  Richard Kapp,  Edward Carroll  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Virtuosi  ... 
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  • 12.
    The Ultimate Four Seasons - Vivaldi's Greatest Hit
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 64015 Release Date: 02/18/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  James Galway,  Gottfried Von der Goltz,  Kazuhito Yamashita,  Larry Coryell  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Andrew Lawrence-King,  Gottfried Von der Goltz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Guitar Trio,  I Solisti di Zagreb,  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    Christmas Adagios - Holiday Classics To Touch Your Heart
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63972 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Michael Praetorius,  Arcangelo Corelli,  John Henry Hopkins Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Krips,  James Galway,  John De Lancie,  Emily Mitchell  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Robert Salter,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  James Galway  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Canadian Brass,  Guildhall String Ensemble  ... 
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  • 14.
    James Galway - Music For My Little Friends
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63725 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Phil Coulter,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip Moll,  James Galway
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Mozart Players
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  • 15.
    Debussy - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63803 Release Date: 08/07/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott,  Catherine Collard,  James Galway,  Michel Dalberto
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Guarneri String Quartet,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 16.
    Hommage a Rampal - Devienne, Cimarosa / James & Jeanne Galway
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63701 Release Date: 04/03/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Cimarosa,  François Devienne
    Performer:  Jeanne Galway,  James Galway
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Mozart Players
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  • 17.
    Flute For Relaxation - James Galway
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63711 Release Date: 10/10/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Traditional,  John Corigliano,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Kazuhide Isomura,  Sadao Harada,  Kikuei Ikeda  ... 
    Conductor:  David Effron,  James Galway,  Charles Gerhardt,  David Measham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet members,  The Chieftains,  National Philharmonic Orchestra London  ... 
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  • 18.
    The Most Fabulous Classical Christmas Album Ever!
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63712 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Pierpont,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Traditional,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  John Grady,  Osian Ellis,  Benita Valente,  Robert Arnold  ... 
    Conductor:  Morton Gould,  Hans Gillesberger,  Uwe Christian Harrer,  Michael Korn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Canadian Brass,  Vienna Boys' Choir  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 19.
    Galway: Sixty Years - Sixty Flute Masterpieces - Highlights
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63441 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Malcolm Arnold,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Oundjian,  Kazuhide Isomura,  Sadao Harada,  James Galway  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Lowell Liebermann,  Eduardo Mata,  Myung-Whun Chung  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet members,  Zagreb Soloists,  London Mozart Players  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 20.
    Ultrasound - Music For The Unborn Child
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63457 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Brailowsky,  James Galway,  Marisa Robles,  Gerhard Oppitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Arthur Fiedler,  James Galway,  Charles Gerhardt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra,  Boston Pops,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 21.
    Mozart For Relaxation
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63329 Release Date: 03/09/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  James Galway,  Alicia De Larrocha,  Richard Stoltzman,  Tatiana Troyanos  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Sir Colin Davis,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Alexander Schneider  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Tokyo String Quartet  ... 
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  • 22.
    James Galway Plays Nielsen
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 6359 Release Date: 08/30/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen
    Performer:  Brian Hawkins,  James Galway,  Sioned Williams,  Niels Thomsen  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    James Galway - Meditations
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 37731 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Marisa Robles,  Christopher O'Riley,  Phillip Moll
    Conductor:  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata,  James Galway,  Charles Gerhardt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Irish Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 24.
    Greatest Hits - The Wedding Album
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63153 Release Date: 03/10/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Jean Joseph Mouret,  Henry Purcell,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  William McVicker,  Melvyn Tan,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  John Poole,  James Galway,  Robert Salter,  Richard Westenburg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Singers,  Canadian Brass  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 25.
    The Classical James Galway
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 57011 Release Date: 05/24/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Malcolm Proud,  Phillip Moll,  Kyung-Wha Chung  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Rudolf Baumgartner,  David Measham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Irish Chamber Orchestra,  I Solisti di Zagreb,  Lucerne Festival Strings  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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