Entertainment

Belfast-born flute player performs with Lizzo at Met Gala

Sir James Galway, originally from Belfast, played alongside the pop star at the 2023 Met Gala.
Sir James Galway, originally from Belfast, played alongside the pop star at the 2023 Met Gala. Sir James Galway, originally from Belfast, played alongside the pop star at the 2023 Met Gala.

A flute player originally from Belfast has performed with  Lizzo at the 2023 Met Gala.

Sir James Galway, nicknamed ‘The Man with the Golden Flute’, performed a duet of Flight Of The bumblebee with the pop star at one of the most popular fashion events of the year in New York City.

Each year the fundraising gala, held for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York, invites an artist to perform for the A-list audience.

Lizzo, known for integrating classical flute playing into her performances, invited her “idol” Sir James to join her on stage.

Sir James said he hopes the performance will inspire other young artists to cross traditional boundaries of music genres.

Belfast flautist Sir James Galway, who performed with Lizzo at the 2023 Met Gala (Impact Communications/PA)

“Lizzo and I share a joint love and passion for the classical flute so for some time now a meeting between us has been something we were both hugely interested in,” he said.

“Over the last few weeks, my wife and I have been in New York visiting friends, family and students so I was thrilled that Lizzo’s team reached out to invite me to join her on stage to perform at this year’s Met Gala.

“It really was an opportunity I wouldn’t have missed.

“Educating and inspiring young musicians has become a great passion of mine. Therefore, I hope my duet with Lizzo will inspire young artists, showing them that it is possible to cross the boundaries and bring music genres together in extraordinary ways.”

Sir James first became aware of his chart-topping fan when Lizzo talked about her love of his music in an interview with David Letterman in 2020.

“James Galway, who I love. I would listen to his CDs and try to sight read and play along with him,” she told Letterman.

After the interview, the pair had several interactions on social media, most recently when Sir James sent Lizzo a personalised Christmas greeting.

The Met Gala performance was their first in-person meeting.

Sir James has collaborated on film soundtracks such as The Lord Of The Rings and played alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell and Sir Elton John.

For years, Sir James and his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, have worked to teach the next generation of classical musicians through their Galway Flute Academy.