Sunday 21 January 2018

The four minute interview with... Sir James Galway

Sir James Galway
Sir James Galway

The renowned musician on why this decade is his best his hidden DIY skills.

What’s been the best decade of your life so far and why?

Right now. Everything has come together in my personal life and career, and our flute school in Switzerland is celebrating 25 years this summer.

What was the worst moment of your life?

1971. I had two broken legs and a broken arm. It took me eight months to mend. A Yamaha 850 ran off the road into me.

What secret skill or talent do you have?

DIY. My wife Jeanne is always asking me to do jobs around the house. I’m not bad.

If there was one song you associated with your youth, what would it be?

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. We used to shout it at Sunday School at the Salvation Army around the corner.

What was the last lie you told?

You know when you bump into someone who says Do you remember meeting me thirty years ago?’ and you go Of course.’

What do you consider the greatest work of art?

Westminster Abbey. Some of my favourite people like Handel and Newton are buried there. Evensong at 5pm is the best music you’ll find in London. And it’s free.

Which local star in any field should the world outside of Britain and Ireland know about?

The pianist Michael McHale. He also has two degrees from Cambridge and is great company.

What is your greatest regret?

That I was not born with perfect eyesight. That books all had the one tiny font when I was growing up.

What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?

Smoking cigars in the afternoon while reading or playing chess.

Who is/was the love of your life?

My wife Jeanne. We met 30 years ago at a flute class. I didn’t see her for a year and a half after that before bumping into her coming out of Carnegie Hall and asking her to lunch.

What is your present state of mind?

Calm.

What are the consolations of getting
older?

Knowing it all works out.

What living heroes or heroines do you have?

Richard Attenborough. He directed many fine films but I think Gandhi was particularly outstanding.

What is your best chat up line?

I’m from the FBI and need to talk to you. It never worked.

What is the best lesson life has taught you?

To be thankful for everything I have.

James Galway will perform with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra at the National Concert Hall, on Friday June 20, as part of the Bill Whelan Gala, at 8pm.

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