Origin of the DAJOERI Panflute and School Print E-mail
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Until the end of 1968, the panflute was virtually unknown in Western Europe. At that time, people certainly heard South-American melodies like "El condor pasa" which were played first with the Kena and later with the Siku flute. These were instruments which, to an untrained ear, sounded somewhat like a panflute.

Panflute enthusiasts may be interested in finding out how this instrument became known in Western Europe in the late 1960's and who contributed to its dissemination.

Who is Marcel Cellier and Gheorghe Zamfir?

It was already back in 1960 that Marcel Cellier, a Swiss music-lover, started to broadcast radio shows every Saturday on the westschweizer Radio which he called "From the Black Sea to the Baltic". Of the 1000 or so shows which aired during the next 25 years, hundreds were dedicated to panflute artists such as Damian Luca, Constantin Oprea, Simion Stanciu "Syrinx", Gheorghe Zamfir, Nicolae Pirvu and Radu Simion.

Marcel Cellier took his tape recorder with him as he traveled throughout the Balkans in search of genuine folklore. While visiting Professor Tiberiu Alexandru at the Institute for Folklore in Bucarest, he listened to recordings by young musicians and came across studio recordings featuring a young music-student named Gheorghe Zamfir and his panflute teacher Fanica Luca. Enthused by what he heard, Cellier expressed an interest in meeting this young artist. Professor. T. Alexandru arranged for a meeting which Fanica Luca also attended. Subsequently, Cellier was able to make a few recordings, which he included in his radio shows.

In 1969, he invited Gheorghe Zamfir to visit him in Switzerland and surprised him one evening by taking him to the church in Cully where he sat down at the organ and started to play Rumanian Doinas. Zamfir was quite nonplussed at first, since he had never before heard "his" Rumanian melodies played with organ. Up until then, he had only heard them in their original setting with panflute, cimbalom, accordion, fiddles and bass. He got so excited that he grabbed his soprano panflute and, as though in a trance, started to improvise as he accompanied Cellier on his organ.



Thus Cellier's idea of playing "Panflute and Organ" renditions of Rumanian melodies was born. According to Cellier, the two instruments are surprisingly closely related as far as morphology is concerned. It is hard to imagine another pair of instruments that harmonically go together so well. The panflute is the forerunner of the pipe-organ, even though the one came into being thousands of years before the other. The panflute looks exactly like a small chamber organ.

When Marcel Cellier speaks about their interaction, he likes to call it a "love-affair between two instruments". As Marcel Cellier was not only a connoisseur of Rumanian folklore, but also knew what his listeners liked, he put together a program, against Zamfir's will, which consisted of the wonderful Doinas which later made both of them known worldwide. He then put on a concert in the 460-seat church in Cully. It was the world premiere of "Panflute and Organ" with Zamfir playing a panflute and Cellier playing an organ.

Over 750 people flocked to the concert where they stood clustered about the front of the church. Many even sought places to sit on the steps, in the choir loft around the organ, and around the altar and some also sat down on the floor. Never in its history had the church accommodated so many people and the concert was a tremendous success.

A few months later, Marcel Cellier organized another concert in the 2000-seat Victoria Hall in Geneva which was completely sold out. On the following day, the newspaper, "La Suisse" reported: "From the first to the last note there sounded a prelude to a fabulous musical adventure."

More concerts followed and Cellier also made Zamfir known, first in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, later in France, in Germany and then also as far away as Australia. The Australian concert was recorded live. The result was the Disque d'or "Flute de Pan et Orgue". For that same live recording, Zamfir and Cellier were presented in Paris with the 1984 "Grand prix audiovisuel de l'europe" of the "Academie du disque francais" by former French President Chirac.

In 1990, Hollywood honored Marcel Cellier with a GRAMMY AWARD, the music business's highest distinction. Lord Yehudi Menuhin was also fascinated by Celliers recordings.

Wherever the two musicians played, they always played to packed churches and concert halls where they were always celebrated and acclaimed. Thus, the international firm Philips took notice of Zamfir. In 1974, Mr. Hazan, Philips's president at the time, paid Marcel Cellier a personal visit at his home. There he was introduced to Zamfir whom he signed up under contract. This historical meeting, intitiated by Marcel Cellier, marked the beginning of Zamfir's rapid rise to fame. Philips made Zamfir known worldwide by producing his records and organizing concerts and having him play with renowned artists like James Last.

Attracted by this success story, other Rumanian panflute-players likewise came to Marcel Cellier, requesting his support.

In the 70 ties the pan flute teacher Joeri Murk came to Marcel Cellier, who allowed him the contact with the record company 'Disques Office Fribourg'. The business manager took this under contract. From then on he lived in western Switzerland.

In between, Zamfir was heard again and again in the ensemble of the Rumanian group 'Benone Damian' as a panflutist at various concerts. When this occurred in panflute Adliswil, Joeri Murk met him and was informed by him in the pan flute playing.

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