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     Zamfir, Gheorghe (6th April 1941-Present)

    He is a pan flute player, songwriter and teacher who has been dubbed “Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute”.  He was born in Gaesti, Romania and showed an appreciation and aptitude for music from a young age. 


    He took his further studies at Bucharest Academy of Music from the time he was fourteen after his father had noticed his interest in music. His interests had initially been on playing the accordion but this changed and he concentrated his studies on the pan flute (aka the Pan pipes).  His ability on the instrument was astounding and he graduated from the Academy in 1961.  He then went on to gain further education at the Bucharest Conservatory with degrees being awarded in 1966 and 1968.  He later achieved his doctorate there in 2005.


    Such is his talent that he has expanded the instrument by adding more pipes to it to change the sound, range and the technique of the performance.  He released his first album in 1966 and caught the attention of Marcel Cellier who was a Swiss musicologist and organist very interested in researching the folk music of Romania.   He went to Switzerland to meet him and in 1969 they performed several concerts as a duo.  From 1966 to 1969 he was a member of the folk ensemble Ciocarlia.  From 1969 onwards he embarked on a world tour.


    In 1970 he performed several concerts in Paris where he introduced the four types of pan flute that comprised soprano, alto, tenor and bass, which had been his own creation.  In 1972 he was asked by Vladimir Cosma to perform a solo for the soundtrack he had composed for Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire.  This led to him being asked by many other acclaimed movie composers to perform on their soundtracks.  These include Home Fries, Karate Kid II, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Once Upon a Time in America and Picnic at Hanging Rock.


    In 1973 he signed to the Philips label and began to release his own singles with hits coming later in the 1970s that include the 1976 “Summer Love” and “The Lonely Shepherd”.  He reached an even wider audience when his albums were featured on television commercials aired by CNN across the United States in the 1980s.  In 1982 he emigrated to Montreal, Canada, when he was exiled from Romania having been accused of violation of the Communist doctrine.


    The 1990s were just as active for him with countless concerts in many countries and his performances in Turkey led him to the country naming him  “the most popular composer and artist of the 20th century”.


    His international popularity over the course of his career is such that to date he has sold more than 40 million recordings from the release of more than 200 albums, of which 90 of them have reached platinum or gold status.  The group Animal Collective also sampled his work recently when they used it in their 2009 digitally downloadable song “Graze”.


    As an author and teacher he currently teaches in Bucharest and has published his autobiography and an instructional book on the pan flute.



    1. http://www.gheorghezamfir.eu/biography.html
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gheorghe_Zamfir
    3. http://www.dajoeri.com/index3e.html
    4. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0952621/bio
    5. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0952621/
    6. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:hxfexq9gldde~T1
    7. http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608003615/Gheorghe-Zamfir.html
    8. http://www.cmc.dk/uk_artist.php4?id=46
    9. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music/s?ie=UTF8&field-artist=Zamfir&rh=n%3A229816%2Cp_32%3AZamfir&page=1













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