By Mona Seghatoleslami
If you’re a flutist, Sir James Galway needs no introduction. Even if you don’t play the flute and barely know anything about the instrument, you’ve still probably heard of James Galway.
He’s been the principle flute player with several top orchestras, most notably at the Berlin Philharmonic (here’s the famous story about how he got there--I'd heard it before, but couldn't find it written out anywhere but Wikipedia). As a soloist, he has played and recorded most of the standard repertoire, championed new compositions, and branched out beyond the classical world, including working with the Chieftans and playing on the Lord of the Rings soundtracks.
Along the way, he’s also been knighted, had a rose named after him, and earned the nickname “The Man with the Golden Flute.”
James Galway’s new album is a collaborative project with the Cuban ensemble Tiempo Libre, called “O’Reilly Street.” They offer new spins on music of Bach and Claude Bolling and play compositions by Tiempo Libre’s Jorge Gomez. Here's a bit of what it sounds like:
Listen to a sample of Galway and Tiempo Libre playing Bach's Badinerie
For the audio, I’m finally trying something new here. You can listen to the interview as one file, or broken up into sections below (let me know if you have a preference).
James Galway interview
First, we talked about his approach to his various collaborative projects.
James Galway interview part 1
He then told me about the music on the new album, the experience of working with Tiempo Libre, and what it’s like trading the concert hall for the club scene.
James Galway interview part 2
The last part of the interview’s a bit of a grab bag, about Sir James’s charity projects, premiering new pieces, and what he would do if he was not a musician.
James Galway interview part 3
And if I sound a little nervous throughout, I hope you’ll understand…I try not to be too star struck, but this is James Galway (I think my years playing flute as a kid made me especially nervous!)