In today's world of computers, smart phones and digital music effects, live, old-fashioned, classical music is still a force to be reckoned with says Sir James Galway.
"It's got a magic about it that other things don't have," Galway says.
Known as "The Man with the Golden Flute," Galway is an internationally recognized master of classical flute playing. He's sold more than 30 million albums and has released a grand total of more than 60 CDs. Though he's played with some of the world's most esteemed orchestras, his music maintains a populist appeal and he performed on the soundtrack of "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
Joined by his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, who is also a virtuoso flute player, he continues to spread the gospel of live classical music to younger generations of music fans. On Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. the Galways will perform with the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Connecticut.
During a joint phone interview the Galways discussed their upcoming Connecticut show while speaking from their home in Switzerland.
Jeanne Galway says the show is designed to help introduce new audiences to classical music.
"For someone who hasn't been to our concerts before, it brings them into the classics of music. With the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Joann Falletta conducting, this is not an intimating program. Our job is to build an audience more than ever before."
She adds that because it's the Irish Chamber Orchestra "people might expect a lot of Irish jigs and I think they might be a bit disappointed."
Born in Belfast, Ireland, James Galway studied the flute in London and Paris before embarking on his orchestral career in prestigious orchestras such as the Sadlers Wells & Royal Covent Garden Operas, The BBC, Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, and then taking up the position of solo flautist with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan. Earlier this month he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Concert Hall in Ireland.
"It's a very great honor," he says of the award. "Whereas some awards go to lots of people every year, this award is only given to one person every year." He adds, the grand program planned at the Concert Hall when he received the award was a surprise to him. "My wife did this behind my back, I'm never going to trust her again I tell you."
Jeanne Galway is a native of New York and a graduate of New York City's Mannes College of Music. The couple has been performing together for more than 30 years and they haven't grown tired of each other's company just yet.
"I learned a long time ago who the boss is and it's not me when it comes to the flute," Jeanne Galway says. "I have tremendous respect for my husband, when he plays I still sit up and listen and I always ask, how does he do it?"
She adds that being on tour as a couple allows them to spend a lot of time with each other, "we travel together, we eat together, we play backgammon together."
Later this fall James Galway is launching a new online flute learning system through his new music education website www.firstflute.com. The site will feature video lessons with James Galway.
"Very few people have a good foundation for playing," says James Galway, who hopes to help rectify that with this learning system.
Jeanne Galway adds "my husband knows how to manage his time with practice; he knows the foundations of playing and how to set a young player on the right path from the very beginning. If you learn correctly from the very beginning you don't run into problems later."
Asked just how much an aspiring flutist has to practice, Sir James Galway displays some hip-hop speaking-in-the-third person swagger as he answers.
"It depends what you want to, if you just want to play the flute for fun that's fine. If you want to be the next James Galway you have to put in 11,800 hours before the age of 21," he says. He adds you have to avoid distraction and it helps if you were "born in an age when there were no computers and no TV."
SIR JAMES AND JEANNE GALWAY will perform with the Irish Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, at UConn's Storrs campus, 2132 Hillside Road, Storrs. Tickets are $40, $44, and $47. Details: visit www.jorgensen.uconn.edu or call 860-486-4226.