DAILY CAMERA: James Galway headlines festival in Boulder devoted to flute
CU’s ‘Once a Flutist’ features James Galway, panel discussions, workshops
At the University of Colorado’s College of Music, the sound of flutes will usher in the season of spring.
Following this weekend’s Eklund Opera Program production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” the instrument itself is the focus of a unique two-day festival, “Once a Flutist,” Tuesday and Wednesday. The culmination comes with the Wednesday evening Artist Series concert by Sir James Galway, considered by flutists to be the greatest living icon of their instrument — which they regard as the world’s oldest. He is joined on the concert by his wife, fellow flutist Lady Jeanne Galway, and both will present master classes as part of the surrounding festival events.
These events — curated by CU associate professor of flute Christina Jennings — include an alumni recital, panel discussions and workshop sessions, in addition to the Galway master classes. Jennings herself gives a Faculty Tuesday Series recital to close the first day.
The Galways now live and work in Lucerne, Switzerland. From there, in advance of his visit to Boulder, Sir James Galway gave an interview about performing and mentoring. The 77-year-old said that his virtuosity is the result of him having “practiced more than anybody else on the planet on the flute.”
“A lot of students think I am incredibly gifted,” he said, “but I make it a point to show them what is possible on the flute, and perhaps inspire them to raise the standard a bit.”
“If you want to be good at anything,” he added, “you have to be willing to commit to the work and the time. You start with little exercises, and then you increase the load to get to the big bit. These days, too many kids want to just start with the big bit straight away.”
Galway said that many flute players aren’t serious enough to be willing to do all the little things that are required. “I’ve done as much exercise with the small muscles in my fingers as a bodybuilder like Arnold Schwarzenegger had to do with the muscles you can see more easily,” he said.
The lifelong commitment shows in his continued ambitious performing schedule. He recently recorded the concerto written for him by fellow Irishman Bill Whelan of “Riverdance” fame. And he constantly tours with his wife, a superb performer in her own right.
“We’ve been married for 32 years, and she comes with me wherever we go,” Galway said. “We have a 24-7-365 relationship, and she’s such a good player that it would be a shame not to play together.”
For the Artist Series recital at Macky Auditorium, Lady Jeanne joins Sir James in the “Rigoletto Fantasy” for two flutes by Franz and Karl Doppler. That will open the second half. The concert starts with the 1933 Flute Sonata No. 3 by Philippe Gaubert, which Galway called one of his favorite pieces. It continues with the Concertino by French composer Cécile Chaminade. “Il Carnevale di Venezia” by Giulio Briccialdi closes the first half.
On the second half, following the Doppler piece with Lady Jeanne, Sir James will play three short character pieces and then close with “Il pastore Svizzero” by Francesco Morlacchi. The pianist for the concert is Cathal Breslin, who, like Sir James, was born in Northern Ireland.