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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Galway: Man with the golden flute
James Galway
Galway: Launched solo career in 1975
James Galway has played for royalty and presidents, had songs written for him by Sir Elton John and even had a rose named after him.

Now the Belfast-born flautist, 61, who had already been made an OBE - has been knighted.

Known as "the man with the golden flute", Galway has become the world's best-known flautist after releasing more than 50 CDs and winning numerous awards.

His career began after he picked up his father's spare flute, took lessons from an uncle who lived in the next street and joined a band.

Enthusiastic beginnings

"I was playing the flute all day," he has said.

"You know how kids are now with their computers? That's how I was with the flute."

He was the winner of all three classes of the Irish Flute Championships at the age of 10, which earned him a BBC radio session and a spot in the Belfast Youth Orchestra.

After studying at the Royal College of Music, London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Paris Conservatory, he played with several of the country's leading orchestras.

James Galway
Galway has supported the Irish peace process
In 1969, he became principal flute with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and launched his solo career six years later.

His recording of the Mozart Concerti won him the Grand Prix du Disque, and in 1997 he was named the Musician of the Year by Musical America.

He has been praised for his remarkable tonal range and for being able to combine great entertainment with an exceptional interpretation of classical music.

But part of his appeal is that he has not stuck to classical music - many of his CDs include works by contemporary composers or covers of modern pop songs.

His 1978 version of John Denver's Annie's Song was an international hit, and he has even had one piece written for him by Sir Elton John.

Performances

Galway got his own TV series, James Galway's Music in Time, in 1983, and took part in 1991's legendary performance of Pink Floyd's The Wall in Berlin.

Other notable appearances include performing for the Queen and G7 leaders in 1991 and at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 1998.

He has supported the peace process in Northern Ireland as well as causes including the British Red Cross, which have benefited from his charity appearances.

His latest release, Hommage Rampal - for which he was joined by wife and fellow international flautist Jeanne - was released earlier this year.

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31 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Cross-community concert in Portadown
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