|Birth name||Gheorghe Zamfir (flute artist)|
|Also known as||Pan Flute Master|
April 6, 1941 |
|Genres||Romanian popular music
|Occupations||Musician, Songwriter, Music teacher|
|Years active||1960 - present|
|Labels||SonArt, Philips, Mercury|
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 eight overtones (additionally to the fundamental tone) 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. The composer Vladimir Cosma brought Zamfir with his pan flute to western European countries for the first time in 1972 as the soloist in Cosma's original music for the movie Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire. This was very successful, and since then, he has been used as soloist in movie soundtracks by composers Francis Lai, Ennio Morricone and many others. 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.
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 performance can be heard throughout the 1984 film The Karate Kid, and his piece "The Lonely Shepherd", recorded with the James Last Orchestra, was the theme from the 1979 television series 'Golden Soak', a British/German/Australian co-production. It is also featured in Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill Vol. 1. The melody "The lonely shepherd" was written by James Last and first released on his album "Memories from Russia", released 1977 (Polydor Germany 2371 856), which also featured Zamfir on the track "Nadjenka". The panflute was played by Gheorghe Zamfir, who had a contract with the Philips record company. An agreement was made that Philips could release "The lonely shepherd" as a single (45 rpm) on the Philips label.
Although Zamfir is considered the most important person to popularize the pan flute worldwide, he has also received significant criticism, mostly for his propinquity with easy listening and kitsch. His personality often put him in disputes with other pan flute players such as Dalila Cernătescu, Simion Stanciu or Damian Draghici.
Personal life 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (November 2010)|
Zamfir was born in Găeşti, Romania on April 6, 1941. Although initially interested in becoming an accordionist, at the age of 14 he began his pan flute studies with Fănică Luca at the Special Musical School no. 1 in Bucharest. Later he attended the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory. He currently[when?] resides and teaches pan flute in Bucharest. His son, Emmanuel Teodor (who resides in Montreal, Canada), is also a drummer/musician.
Cultural references 
- Zamfir is mentioned in the television show King of the Hill in the episode "Propane Boom (Part 1)". Hank claims that Zamfir has sold more records worldwide than The Beatles.
- Zamfir is mentioned in the "Weird Al" Yankovic song Achy Breaky Song, which is a parody of Billy Ray Cyrus's Achy Breaky Heart.
- He is also mentioned in the show NCIS in the episode "Family Secret".
- He is also mentioned in the television show "Sports Night" during an episode.
- He is referenced by Bill Engvall in Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road
- 30 Seconds to Mars often references 'Zamfir pan flutist' as one of their favorite musicians in interviews.
- A parody of Zamfir, "Yablo, Master of the Ocarina", was featured in a television commercial for Sprite.
- A sample of Zamfir's "Ardeleana" from the album Les Flûtes Roumaines is featured in Animal Collective's 2009 EP Fall Be Kind.
- Zamfir is mentioned in the book "The Silence of the Lambs" novel by Thomas Harris.
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 and Curse"), Arad: Mirador, 2000, ISBN 973-9284-56-6.