Early life and education
Galway was born in East Belfast near the Belfast docks as one of two brothers. His father, who played the flute, was employed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard until the end of World War II and spent night-shifts cleaning buses after the war, while his mother, a pianist, was a winder in a flax-spinning mill. Surrounded by a tradition of flute bands and many friends and family members who played the instrument, he was taught the flute by his uncle at the age of nine and joined his Fife and drum corps; at the age of eleven he won the junior, senior and open Belfast flute Championships in a single day. His first instrument was a five-key Irish flute, and at the age of twelve or thirteen, he received a Boehm instrument. He left school at the age of fourteen and worked as an apprentice to a piano repairer for two years.
He subsequently went to London to study the flute 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 he spent fifteen years as an orchestral player.
He has 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. To Karajan's surprise and dismay, after a period of some disagreement, Galway decided that he would leave to pursue a solo career.[page needed]
In addition to his performances of the standard classical repertoire, he features contemporary music in his programmes, including new flute works commissioned by and for him by composers including David Amram, Malcolm Arnold, William Bolcom, John Corigliano, John Wolf Brennan, Dave Heath, Lowell Liebermann and Joaquín Rodrigo. The album James Galway and The Chieftains in Ireland by Galway and The Chieftains reached number 32 in the UK Albums Chart in 1987.
ji yan, a faculty at ohio state university