Gheorghe Zamfir (in Romanian; born April 6 1941) is a Romanian pan flute musician who has received 120 golden and platinum disc awards and sold over 40 million albums . He is widely known as "Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute".
Zamfir is known for playing an expanded version of the traditional Romanian-style pan flute ("nai") of 20 pipes to 22, 25, 28 and 30 pipes to increase its range, and obtaining as many as nine tones from each pipe by changing the embouchure.
Zamfir came to the public eye when he was "discovered" by Swiss ethnomusicologist Marcel Cellier
who extensively researched Romanian folk music
in the 1960s. Largely through television commercials
where he was billed as "Zamfir, 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.
One of his most notable contributions was to the soundtrack for the classic Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock
. 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 classic 1984 gangster film Once Upon A Time In America
, his music is heard throughout the 1984 film The Karate Kid
, and his song "The Lonely Shepherd", penned by James Last
and recorded with the James Last Orchestra
, is featured in Quentin Tarantino
's film Kill Bill Vol. 1
Zamfir has written an instructional book, Traitė Du Naï Roumain: méthode de flûte de pan
, Paris: Chappell S.A., 1975, ISBN 88-8291-286-8, and an autobiography Binecuvântare şi blestem
("Blessing & Curses"), Arad: Mirador, 2000, ISBN 973-9284-56-6.
Zamfir was born April 6 1941
, in Găeşti
. Although initially interested in becoming an accordionist, at the age of 14 he began his pan flute studies. He continued his education at the Bucharest Academy of Music
where he was a student of Fanica Luca
at the Conservatory of Bucharest
in (1968). He currently resides and teaches pan flute in Bucharest
He has a 22 year old son who currently resides in Montreal, Canada, also a musician.
The artist in Poland (Cracow) in 2008