Sir James Galway wins Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award

17 September 2014, 19:33 | Updated: 18 September 2014, 10:03

The flautist joins a long line of prestigious musicians including Julian Bream, Janet Baker and Claudio Abbado.

Sir James Galway, known as the ‘Man with the Golden Flute’, was the first flute player to become an international superstar. After an incredible career, and 30 million album sales, he has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the Gramophone Awards 2014.

On receiving the award, he said: "I'm still a keen reader of Gramophone. Sometimes I read it and think look at this, and an hour later I think 'Jesus I should be practising the flute!'"

He went on to joke: "I've brought out a huge collection of flute music - I sometimes think, I don't know how anyone's going to listen to this!

On a more serious note, he added his thanks to his record companies over the years, with a specific hat-tip to his current record company, Sony. "I would like to thank Sony for making all these recordings available and thank everybody in this room who played their part in my career nearly everybody as a critic, or as a friend, I just want to thank you all."

GALLERY: Sir James Galway - Get to know the Gramophone Awards Lifetime Achievement winner >

Born in Belfast in 1939, Sir James was inspired to take up the flute by his father, grandfather and uncle who were all flautists. As a teenager he studied flute at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music. He went on to spend 15 years as an orchestral player - with the Sadler's Wells Opera, the Covent Garden opera orchestra, the LSO and the Royal Philharmonic. He then landed the top job in the world for any flautist - as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra's principal flute under Herbert von Karajan. Six years later, he departed to pursue a spectacular career as a soloist. His engaging personality and brilliant playing made him a household name.

Presenting his award, Kyung-wha Chung praised the flautist for inspiring young performers through the generations.

The Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award will be yet another accolade to add to the performer's trophy cabinet. He has previously won a Classic BRITs Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous gold and platinum CDs. In December 2009, he was awarded the honour of being made the first Artist Laureate of the Ulster Orchestra. He was knighted in 2001 for his services to music. 

Previous winners of the prestigious accolade include Claudio Abbado, Dame Janet Baker, Alfred Brendel, André Previn and Julian Bream, who picked up the award in 2013.