Sir James Galway is regarded as an outstanding interpreter of the classical flute repertoire and a unique entertainer whose great artistic personality transcends all musical boundaries. Through his extensive touring activities, over fifty RCA Victor bestsellers and his regular international television appearances, Sir James has earned an audience of millions worldwide. Born in Belfast, Sir James Galway began playing the penny whistle as a young child before switching to the flute. He continued his studies at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, followed by the Paris Conservatoire. His career began at Sadlers Wells Opera and Royal Opera Covent Garden, which led to a position as piccolist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, then principal flute with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1969 he became principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1975 Mr Galway began his solo career, playing 120 concerts in his first year, including appearances as soloist with all the London orchestras. Since then he has travelled extensively, playing recitals and performing with all the world's leading orchestras, as well as participating in chamber music projects, giving pop concerts and masterclasses. Beyond his regular performances of the standard classical repertoire, he particularly includes contemporary music in his programmes, including new works for flute commissioned by or for him. In 1993 he gave the world premiere of the David Heath Concerto at the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra London, the Lowell Liebermann Flute Concerto with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra and then in October 1994 gave the premiere of George Nicholson's work, Concerto and the Jindrich Feld: Concerto for Flute, Piano and Orchestra, with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. Recent premieres have included Lowell Liebermann's Concerto for Flute and Harp and Lorin Maazel's Music for Flute and Orchestra, which he recorded in February 1997 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer. Sir James has performed at some spectacular events, most notably a show at Buckingham Palace in July 1991 for HM The Queen, members of the Royal Family and the Group of Seven Heads of State during the London Summit, the one-off performance "The Wall" in Berlin which was televised internationally, and a performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in February 1996. He has also performed at the White House on several occasions at the special invitation of the President of the United States of America. In December 1998, Sir James Galway played for a select audience at the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. The award ceremony and a subsequent gala concert were broadcast worldwide to millions of viewers. In 1999 Sir James Galway celebrated his 60th birthday and gave a private performance at Buckingham Palace in the presence of Prince Edward in May as part of his sold-out solo tour of England. In recent years Sir James has also taken up the conducting baton, adding conducting to his extraordinary talents. In addition to his work with the London Mozart Players (who made him their Principal Guest Conductor in 1997), Sir James undertook a tour of Germany with the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra in the 2000/2001 season and a tour of Asia with the Polish Chamber Orchestra. He has also appeared as conductor and soloist with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and NSO Washington. Sir James Galway tours extensively throughout the USA, appearing in recital and with major American orchestras. He also visits Japan and Hong Kong regularly, and is in great demand at the most important music festivals in Europe. He also devotes much of his time to charitable causes, performing in numerous benefit concerts in Europe and the United States. Sir James Galway's growing discography on BMG Classics/RCA Red Seal includes a wide range of classical works and an equally wide range of crossover recordings. His latest release, Music for My Little Friends, is a mix of orchestral and recital works dedicated to the thousands of children Sir James has inspired throughout his career and who continue to see him as their musical idol today. Last year saw the release of an album with the London Mozart Players, which includes Cimarosa's Concerto for Two Flutes, which he performs with Lady Galway. Other recent releases include "Winter's Crossing", a joint project with Phil Coulter, Lowell Liebermann's Music for Flute and Orchestra op. 11 and his Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, "Music for my Friends" with Phillip Moll and Jeanne Galway and "Tango del Fuego", a jazz project with Mike Mower. In 1993, the recording "Masterpieces: The Essential Flute of James Galway" became number 1 in the classical music charts, and in 1995 "I Will Always Love You", which contains the premiere recording of a piece written especially for James Galway by Elton John, won a Grammy Award. Other recordings such as Mozart's Flute Quartets with the Tokyo String Quartet, "James Galway at the Movies", "Dances for Flute", "Lark in the Clear Air", "Celtic Minstrel", "The French Recital" with works by Fauré, Widor and Debussy and "Legends", a Celtic album with Phil Coulter, round off his discography. His recordings have won numerous awards, including the Grand Prix du Disque for his recording of the Mozart concertos and the Record of the Year Award from Billboard and Cash Box magazines in the USA. In June 2001 Sir James was raised to the peerage in recognition of his services to music.