Edge, Music

Legendary Irish flutist advises UM students on music, career

Sir James Galway, a legendary Irish flutist and mentor to aspiring musicians, built his internationally-acclaimed solo career on 15 years of experience as an orchestral player.

Knighted as an officer of the order of the British Empire, producer of his own ‘Galway Spirit’ line of flutes and recipient of the Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award, Galway has made a more than modest mark on the world of classical music.

But to any passerby at the Shalala Student Center on Oct. 23, Galway could’ve been anyone in glasses and a navy blue bowtie. Audience members from Dublin, Houston, Tampa and Miami gathered to listen to Sir James Galway – offstage and sans ‘golden flute.’

EDGE_GoldenFlute_Bernanke.jpg

“[Galway] isn’t like all the other ‘old-timey’ musicians you think about,” sophomore flutist from Tampa Dilina Weerapperuma said. “He understands the modern music industry.”

Weerapperuma attended the interview hosted by Frost School of Music’s Dean Shelly Berg because he grew up listening to Galway and credits the world-renowned flutist for his own dedication to the art of the flute.

For Berg, the hourlong interview provided an intimate setting for a more insightful conversation with an award-winning artist. It was a one-of-a-kind “look under the hood” for aspiring musicians and interested community members that sought to unravel the inner workings of the musical mind.

With his golden flute at his side and its case wrapped in a sky blue blanket, Galway described his early years of symphonic performance. He recalled his experience working with conductor Herbert von Karajan of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as he primed the orchestra for another take at the piece they were rehearsing.

“How do you expect me to conduct it if you can’t play it?” Galway said. “The second time we played it was much better than the first, though.”

A cellphone ringtone went off in the intermezzo of the lighthearted dialogue between Galway and Berg.

“[The piece] didn’t sound like that,” Galway said, dancing to the tune.

But it wasn’t until Galway quit the Philharmonic that he really began to make a name for himself – eventually selling over 30 million copies of his own recordings of popular pieces, including John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” and the soundtrack to “The Lord of the Rings.”

Galway also mixed and matched traditional classical works with contemporary flute works commissioned by a myriad of composers. His collaboration with the Chieftains lead to a chart-topping success as their album “James Galway and The Chieftains” in Ireland took the 32nd spot in the UK albums chart in 1987.

But Galway acknowledged the rigor and opportunity required to make it as a classical artist in today’s world.

“Times have changed,” Galway said. “For students looking to make a career of it, do as much as you can because you never know who’s going to be there.”

The fundamentals – including the music scales – are the most important things Galway teaches to his students.

“This piece you’re playing is calculus, and you can’t do calculus without knowing addition, multiplication, division and subtraction,” Galway said.

The Frost Symphony Orchestra will be performing alongside Galway on Oct. 27 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

October 24, 2017

Reporters

Anastasiya Plotnikova


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

They’ve earned their first 10-win season since 2003. Now all they need are two more victories for a ...

It became very clear, as soon as University of Miami coaches began recruiting Lonnie Walker IV, that ...

A six-pack of UM football notes: ▪ After UM’s 44-28 victory against Virginia on Saturday, Cavaliers ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game, featuring the Coastal Division champion Miami Hurri ...

As Miami fans await the newest College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night — the Hurricanes c ...

The 41st annual conference on the Caribbean and Central America held a special program at the Univer ...

The Finker-Frenkel Legacy Foundation gift will establish the Business Plan Competition Endowed Fund. ...

C. David Naylor, a UM Presidential Scholar and public health policy expert, provided insight into he ...

A cohort of five religious leaders from Miami, including a rabbi and imam from the University of Mia ...

Hollywood actress and star of the hit BET series Being Mary Jane gets real about gender, race and co ...

Erykah Davenport scored 16 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds, as the Miami women's b ...

Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was selected as one of 15 semifinalists for the Broyles Award ...

Former Miami football players Ronnie Walker and Todd Stanish are grateful to be able to celebrate an ...

The neutral-site game is a homecoming for freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV. ...

The University of Miami volleyball team will travel to Georgia Tech and Clemson this week for the fi ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.