Sir James Galway is a Northern Ireland–born virtuoso flutist from Belfast, nicknamed "The Man With the Golden Flute". Following in the footsteps of Jean-Pierre Rampal, he became one of the first flute players to establish an international career as a soloist.
James Galway studied at the Royal College of Music 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. He played with Sadler's Wells Opera, Covent Garden Opera, 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.
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 is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Mozart Players, based at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, South London.
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 Bowl Hall of Fame along with Liza Minnelli and B. B. King.
He currently performs on Nagahara flutes, as well as some Muramatsu Flutes.