A native of Northern Ireland, James Galway began his flute studies in Belfast. At the age of 16, he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, followed by studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Paris Conservatoire. At the age of 21, he embarked on his orchestral career in London’s major opera and symphonic orchestras. He took up the coveted position of solo flautist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Herbert von Karajan in 1969, before becoming one of the very first flautists to establish an international solo career in 1975. He has a vast discography with 98 albums to his name, having enjoyed recording contracts with Sony Classics and Deutsche Grammophon and most recently the RTE Label, featuring his recording of “Linen and Lace” by Bill Whelan. He has also collaborated on film soundtracks such as The Lord of the Rings, and partnered such popular artists as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell and Sir Elton John.
Galway's uniquely expressive interpretations of the flute literature span an extensive range of genres, from classical masterworks to high profile commissions, and provide the benchmark standard for all modern flautists. He maintains his busy international touring schedule, continuing to appear at major venues and festivals with many of the world’s top orchestras and conductors. Recent highlights include major recital and concerto tours of Europe (UK, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland & France) and the United States.
A strong supporter of the arts and charitable causes, Galway devotes much of his free time to furthering music education, sharing his wisdom and experience with the musical generation of tomorrow. The Galway Flute Academy, Sir James and Lady Galway’s educational platform, enables them to nurture and mentor flutists of all levels through their various programs (www.galwayfluteacademy.com). Current teaching residencies include the Royal Irish Academy Dublin, Ireland; The Royal College of Music London and The Birmingham Conservatoire, UK; and The Frost School of Music - University of Miami, USA, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate of Music and presented the commencement address in May 2018.