W I N N E R Sir James Galway
Growing up in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, I had all of Jimmy’s records. It was fantastic for me to have this source of reference for the pieces I was learning – he was setting his own distinctive, vibrant sound as a new standard for flute-playing. He was the man with the golden flute and the one to make me dream of what I could be.
The Berlin Phil ’s Principal Flautist Emmanuel Pahud on his inspirational mentor and he would announce that there was a young talented flute player in the audience and dedicate an encore to me. I would go backstage to meet him, and visit him at his home in Lucerne to talk, cook and play duets together (we’re going to meet up again in a couple of weeks’ time) – it was an inspiration to be next to him and hear how he breathes and drives the phrase.
Along with Jean-Pierre Rampal and Aurèle Nicolet, Jimmy brought flute-playing to a new level. With his amazingly intense and vibrant sound, he made us forget about the flute’s limitations – that it’s a wind instrument and you need to breathe. In his hands, the flute was a violin – a star instrument, an instrument that sang. Many flute players tried to imitate him but the imitation is not like the original – what Jimmy has been doing, and continues to do, is something unique.
I first played for him when I was 17 – I went to his hotel in Paris with another student from the Paris Conservatoire. He was very supportive and enthusiastic – it was quite something to meet the greatest flute player and get positive feedback from him! Since then, he has been so gentle and kind. When I was starting out, as the new kid first in Munich and then in Berlin, I’d be at his concerts
Mrs Joan Jones
The first time I went to visit, he showed me his flute collection that he’d built up during his career and I was able to understand the steps he had taken, and how he had always pushed the flute to the limit. His Albert Cooper flute, which he played at the Berlin Phil and then at the start of his solo career, allowed him to play with this intense, glowing sound; because of him, flute makers evolved, adapting the Cooper scale and making headjoints that would allow other players to produce sounds of the same vibrant intensity. And it’s because of him that the standard flute repertoire has expanded – some of the pieces he commissioned, like the Rodrigo and the Liebermann, are fantastic.
Jimmy really deserves this recognition. It’s yet another sign of how important he is to the evolution of flute-playing. His enthusiasm, energy and commitment make him a very special artist.
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14 GRAMOPHONE AWARDS 2014
CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS 2014