Sir James Galway is Northern Ireland’s most successful musical export, having sold over 30 million records during his solo career.

‘The Man with the Golden Flute’ spent two decades playing with international orchestras all over Europe, before going solo in 1975.

His populist touch, warm personality and talent has ensured massive crossover success, and Sir James has become a much-loved musical legend. Every year, he invites young flautists to his annual masterclasses at his home in Switzerland, and is a patron of many charities. Two of Sir James Galway’s Northern Irish protégés are Gary Arbuthnot, a prize-winning flautist who plays recitals all over the world, and Gareth McLearnon, flautist and composer.

Belfast’s Barry Douglas is an acclaimed concert pianist and conductor. He is one of the only non-Russians to have won the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, and has played with every major international orchestra throughout his career. In 1999 he set up the chamber music ensemble Camerata Ireland. Cathal Breslin is another acclaimed Northern Irish concert pianist. Camerata Ireland regularly holds recitals and concerts across the world but they often return to Northern Ireland for performances.

This culminates with the annualClandeboye Festival each August. The festival designed by Barry Douglas, feature performances from the Camerata Orchestra as well as the Maestro himself, and is held in the beautiful country estate near Bangor, Co Down.

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Phil Coulter’s career as a composer and songwriter spans the worlds of classical, traditional, folk and pop music. He produced many albums for the traditional band Planxty, co-wrote many pop and Eurovision hits of the 1960s and 70s, including most of The Bay City Rollers’ hits. Recently, he penned the hugely successful Irish rugby anthem ‘Ireland’s Call’. Coulter’s 1990 album ‘Sea of Tranquility’ is one of the biggest selling albums in Ireland and made him an international solo star. He continues to tour the world and has played prestigious concerts in the White House and Carnegie Hall.

Angela Feeney, an opera singer from Belfast, made her career singing with international opera companies. She set up the Belfast Classical Music Bursary scheme, and has been honoured for her contribution to the arts.

The Ulster Orchestra was established in 1966 and is one of the UK’s major symphony orchestras. It has concert seasons at The Ulster Hall and Waterfront Hall in Belfast, and tours internationally. The orchestra can be heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Ulster, and has released over 70 recordings. The company plays a range of classical music to suit all tastes; and offers lunchtime recitals as well as evening performances.

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Opera Company NI was established in 2010, and plans to reinvigorate opera in the country, staging local productions and bringing operatic stars to perform in Northern Ireland.