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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 16:25 GMT
Knighthood for flautist Sir James
Sir James Galway
Sir James entertained with a penny whistle show
Flautist James Galway has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Sir James, 62, known as the "man with the golden flute", said it had been an eventful 18 months.

He said: "In March last year I underwent heart surgery so to be at Buckingham Palace today, being made a knight, is a tremendous feeling.

"It's not bad for a boy from Belfast."

He said he had been shocked to hear of his knighthood, awarded for his services to music.

"I was asleep in Tokyo when the phone rang and the beautiful English voice on the other end told me I was being made a knight.

Simon Schama
Historian Simon Schama: Awarded a CBE
"I must admit that I thought I was dreaming but when I came to I was delighted."

Sir James, who gave an impromptu penny whistle performance at the investiture, said: "It's been a momentous day - I only wish my parents, teachers and colleagues over the years had been around to be here."

Sir James is the world's best-known flautist after releasing more than 50 CDs and winning numerous awards.

He has played with several of the country's leading orchestras.

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.

Musicians honoured: Sir James with Bert Weedon OBE
Musicians honoured: Sir James with Bert Weedon OBE
He has been praised for his remarkable tonal range and for being able to combine great entertainment with an exceptional interpretation of classical music.

Historian Simon Schama, who made the TV series A History of Britain, said he was thrilled by his CBE - awarded for services to history and art criticism.

"For years I have spent my life talking and writing about history, so now to have made my own tiny piece of history is amazing."

Veteran musician Bert Weedon, 81, who received an OBE for services to music, said the Queen asked him whether he had brought his guitar.

"I've had the honour of playing for the Queen on a number of occasions in the past and I was tickled pink when she asked whether I had brought it along this time."

Weedon has played with a host of stars including Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and Judy Garland.

See also:

16 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Knighthood for 'golden' flautist
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