Belfast Telegraph

James Galway: Belfast honours its famous flautist son

By Maureen Coleman

He is the virtuoso flautist whose talent has inspired a generation of musicians.

Even before he’d reached his teens, Sir James Galway was winning awards for his musical mastery.

A working-class boy from Belfast, who was taught to play the flute by his father and grandfather, he went on to carve out a successful international career as a soloist, earning himself the nickname ‘The Man with the Golden Flute’.

And tonight Sir James will be back in Belfast for a special reception to mark his illustrious career and the significant contribution he has made to the city.

In his 70th year, the world’s most famous flautist will be honoured by Belfast City Council as part of the first ever Belfast Music Week.

Councillor Conor Maskey, chairman of Belfast City Council’s development committee, which is hosting the reception in the Ulster Hall, said: “We are very proud to be inviting Sir James Galway back to his home city.

“He has made such a tremendous contribution to Belfast, not only in terms of the positive profile which he has brought to the city through his talents, but also the very real sense of inspiration that he has given to generations of young musicians here.

“Belfast’s music has always received high international praise and we’re proud to be celebrating one of our finest musician’s considerable achievements during the first ever Belfast Music Week.”

Sir James, who lives in Switzerland, said he was looking forward to coming home.

“Growing up in Belfast gave me an education which set me on the road to a successful life,” he said.

“I don’t mean Mountcollyer or Saint Paul’s schools, but the city itself. For me Belfast was a wonderful place to grow up in and is a great place to visit.

“It is always a pleasure for me to visit and refresh the memories of my youth.”

Belfast Music Week will see more than 100 gigs featuring the very best in local talent staged at 30 venues across the city from September 12 to 19.

It is understood Sir James could also be in line for an award at the Ulster Tatler People of the Year Awards tomorrow night.

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