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Gheorghe Zamfir
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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 fatherland, 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 plays music with the bandleader James Last, records 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 “Mourir à Madrid” and “Picknick at Hanging Rock” and, for the blockbusters “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Kill Bill” and “Karate Kid”, he has supplied modern film music, the melodies of which still ring today in all ears.

The beginnings
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.

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