He is "The Master of the Pan Flute" standing as the leading figure within the history of Romanian folk music.

An iconic artist, whose name is synonymous with the instrument.
“Chevalier des Arts et Lettres de France” and “Most Popular Composer and Artist of the 20th Century” Awards in France.
Soundtracks include but not limited to “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Kill Bill”, “Karate Kid”, “Mourir à Madrid” and “Picknic at Hanging Rock”...
As the Master of the pan Flute", he introduced the folk instrument to a modern audience and revived it from obscurity. In the United States his commercials were widely seen on CNN in the 1980s.

He performs his music and his incomparable tonal world symphonically and with chamber orchestras, but also does “more intimate” concerts in duet with organ or piano, small folklore and percussion groups... Also the “pop musician Zamfir” is on the road again...

What reads like the biography of a rock star is the story of the legendary iconic pan flutist in the world, Gheorghe Zamfir. An artist, whose name is synonymous with the instrument. The press and the people have appointed him as the “true virtuoso”, as the “maestro” and the “King of the Pan Flute”. Euphorically celebrated as the “Reincarnation of the God Pan”, he has been considered for decades around the world as an icon and already today as a living legend. With Zamfir, music lovers and music critics are in agreement: He is one of the most important representatives of a wind instrument that for a long time played only a minor role in music until Zamfir brought it to the great stages of the world and displayed his multi-faceted magic there.

In the meantime, the legendary pan flutist can look back upon 50 years on the stage. For Gheorghe Zamfir, a half century of completely spectacular career stations. Since the 1960s, extensive tours have lead him with various ensembles and revered musicians around the world. Whether in North or South America, in China, South Africa or Australia, everywhere he finds an enthusiastic public that learns to appreciate the special character of the pan flute, its unique tonal “language” that absorbs the sometimes elegiac, sometimes temperamental pastoral tones like a new musical discovery into itself. In the German-speaking world, the concertgoers like to particularly recall his successful programme “Pan Flute and the Organ”, with which Zamfir was to be heard in the 1970s and 1980s in all the great churches and cathedrals of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The repertoire
And praised again and again: The artistic breadth of the virtuoso. His repertoire is like a link between the different musical worlds. Zamfir’s love for the music of the gypsies, to the folklore of his motherland, finds expression in his repertoire as does his appreciation for the classical works of Puccini, Verdi, Mozart or Schubert, which he often “interprets in a strange and bizarre dialect and thus obtains from them a subtlety that the tired originals had long since lost” (Christian Seidl in the Süddeutschen Zeitung [Southern German Newspaper]). Precisely this multi-dimensionality and creativity are what have brought the artist worldwide plaudits and awards. Zamfir received, among others, the distinctions of “Chevalier des Arts et Lettres de France” and “Most Popular Composer and Artist of the 20th Century”.

Even his excursions into popular music, the expression of Zamfir’s pronounced love of experimentation, have been positively received by critics and fans. He played with the bandleader James Last, recorded the well-known title “The Lonely Shepherd” with him. More and more active as a composer – Zamfir: “Being creative is the most important thing to me” – , he regularly focuses upon film music. He writes the soundtracks to the films “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Kill Bill”, “Karate Kid”, “Mourir à Madrid” and “Picknic at Hanging Rock”.

The beginning
Everything had begun with a rejection: In 1941, in Gaesti near the Romanian capital city of Bucharest, the 14-year old Gheorghe received no free spot in the accordion class of the Music Lyceum in Bucharest. Almost forced to move over to the pan flute class, the talented pupil developed not only a deep love, but rather also an outstanding talent for the classical instrument that – according to the Greek saga – the god of shepherds Pan once carved out of a reed in order to impress the beautiful nymphs. Zamfir quickly impressed not only his instructors at the conservatory, but the 18-year-old already won his first prize at a national contest.

Also trained in the piano, in contrapoint and ensemble conducting, the artist perfects his tools and the instrument. In order to expand the repertoire for the pan flute, Zamfir expands the original 20-pan-piped wind instrument to 22, 25, even 30 bamboo panpipes. And thus opens dimensions for the pan flute that the rather simple instrument never previously possessed. Zamfir obtains from it special powers of expression between weighty depths and jubilant, spring-like exhilaration. An ever-increasing public has profited from his musical pioneer spirit, his innovative urgency and his pure passion for the range of sounds of the pan flute since the last 1960s. This public has enthusiastically received Zamfir and his ensembles, first in Germany, later in Switzerland, France and China.

Zamfir conquers the world
Already in 1966, Gheorghe Zamfir had released his first record, upon which the famous pieces such as “Doina de Jale” and “Doina ca de la Visina” are to be heard. The 1970s and 1980s see an artist who tirelessly changes sound studios, great concert halls and continents. In 1974, he composes the first “Mass for Peace” for the pan flute, choir, organ and orchestra. In 1976, his single “Été d’Amour” becomes one of the hits of the year. Zamfir makes stylistic and exemplary recordings with organ accompaniment, small ensembles and large orchestras that produce self-composition, classical and religious works, ethnic and popular music with the yearning tone colour of the pan flute. He gives legendary concerts in New York’s Carnegie Hall, in Royal Albert Hall in London, in Paris’s Olympia, in Shanghai, Tokyo and Cape Town. He is to be found upon the “great parquet”, is received by the Japanese empress and heads of state throughout the world, chitchats on the talk shows of David Letterman and Johnny Carson and gives the pope a sampling of his art form at the Vatican.

Zamfir's big break in the English-speaking world came when the BBC religious television programme "The Light of Experience" adopted his recording of "Doina De Jale", a traditional Romanian funeral song, as its theme. Popular demand forced Epic Records to release the tune as a single in 1976, and it climbed to number four on the UK charts. It would prove to be his only hit single, but it helped pave the way for a consistent stream of album sales in Britain.

After nearly a decade-long absence, Romanian pan flute virtuoso Gheorghe Zamfir returned to Canada in January 2006 for a seven-city tour with Traffic Strings Quintet. The program included a world premiere: Vivaldi's Four Seasons for PanFlute and string quintet arranged by Lucian Moraru, jazz standards, and well-known favourites.

One of his most notable contributions was to the soundtrack for the classic Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock. His first appearance in 1972 as soloist interpreter in a movie soundtrack was in Vladimir Cosma's "Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire" with a very famous and successful melody known all over the world. His music has also been heard on the soundtracks of many Hollywood movies.

He was asked by Ennio Morricone to perform the pieces "Childhood Memories" and "Cockeye's Song" for the soundtrack of Sergio Leone's 1984 gangster film Once "Upon a Time in America". His music is heard throughout the 1984 film The Karate Kid, and his piece "The Lonely Shepherd", recorded with the James Last Orchestra, is featured in Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill Vol.1. The melody "The lonely shepherd" first released on his album "Memories from Russia", released 1977 (Polydor Germany).

Back to the roots
In the recent past, Zamfir was less frequently upon European stages. Reason: Ongoing tours and en-suite concerts in the USA, Canada, Australia and Asia that become victory parades with virtually gigantic successes with the public. Nevertheless, the soloist, conductor and composer – he has given up his previous residence in Canada, lives in the meantime in Paris and Bucharest and has a teaching position for the pan flute in the Romanian capital city – again wishes to concentrate on giving more performances in Europe.

The “King of the Pan Flute” promises a colourful mastery of the music. He presents himself and his incomparable tonal world symphonically and with chamber orchestras, but also gives “more intimate” concerts in duet with organ or piano, small folklore and percussion groups. Also the “pop musician Zamfir” is on the road again...

The icon of the pan flute is alive – and the legend continues…