DAJOERI Biography

The origin of the DAJOERI-Panpipe and Panpipe School

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 the French president. 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. Who is the teacher of Joeri? It was in the 1970’s that Joeri’s teacher came to Marcel Cellier who put him in touch with a Disquecompany. Its director signed him up as artist. From then he lived in Switzerland. From time to time, he performed in various concerts as a panflute-player with the ensemble of his fellow countryman Benone Damian. When he performed in a concert in Adliswil, Joeri Murk made his acquaintance and was given lessons in panflute-playing by him. His career became very successful in the 1980’s, when he tackled classical music. With his iron discipline and indomitable will, he mastered the unparalleled achievement of using the panflute to play classical pieces. Success was not long in coming. He was soon performing with well-known artists all over the world. A great number of CD’ s are testimony to his extraordinary talent.

In 1993, he started to teach seminars at the DAJOERI Panflute School where he instructed the teachers and took part in seminars for amateur players. He became a Swiss citizen in 1994 and now lives in Geneva. The SMPV (Swiss Music Teachers Association) accepted him as a member in 1997. In the Spring of 1998 , he decided to open a Panflute Academy in Zurich, where he provides young panflute players with professional training. A young lady is his employee since the opening of the panflute academy. She started her panflute class at the DAJOERI panflute school which at this time was teaching through MIGROS club school in Zurich. Soon Joeri Murk recognized her talent and encouraged Peter Rizzi to give her private lessons. Since Peter Rizzi was her principal teacher, she was sent to Rumanian panflutists with the purpose to assimilate additional skills. Later she participated at a DAJOERI panflute seminar in Arosa, Switzerland. Murk’s teacher was also teaching there and convinced her to concentrate herself mainly to the study of the panflute.

Who is Joeri Murk? Thanks to his sister’s initiative, Joeri Murk first heard a panflute on an LP in 1970. Instantly fascinated by the sound of the instrument, he began to build a panflute using only a photograph of one as a guide, since there were no reliable diagrams or instructions on how to construct a panflute at the time. Murk made Zamfir’s acquaintance in 1971 and introduced himself as an apprentice panflute-maker. He there upon received a hearty welcome in Cellier’s home. Subsequently, Zamfir supported Murk’s panflute-making for several years. Zamfir needed instruments for a panflute school that he wanted to open in Switzerland. There was practically no one left in Rumania who still made panflutes, for it was no longer a popular enough instrument for someone to be able to make a living playing it. But Zamfir could not bring his project to fruition because he was constantly traveling around the world from one concert to another. Due to Zamfir’s influence and advice, Jöri Murk produced high-quality concert panflutes, which he called DAJOERI. Not only was his work awarded a prize from the Swiss Federal Department of Internal Affairs, but Zamfir valued it so highly that he himself obtained several flutes from the DAJOERI workshop.

Even the teacher of Murk ask him to make an exact copy of his own panflute, so as to have a new mouthpiece adapted to it. This alteration made it possible to attack halftones during fast passages without unwanted harmonics. After this correction was successful, Murk’s techer also allowed Murk to do the changes on the original flute. As Zamfir never found time to open a school in Switzerland, but the demand for one was growing, Murk approached various Swiss music schools, asking them to train music teachers to play the panflute so that they could meet the demand for instruction.

Everywhere his request was turned down, the reason being that the panflute was considered to be an instrument that was only a fad. So Murk decided to learn to play the instrument himself and soon passed his knowledge on to small groups of people around Zürich. Back then he obtained his knowledge from his teacher, who later became a friend, and also from Zamfir’s method, a teach-yourself course for learning the panflute which was written in French and published in 1975. Combining his acquired knowledge with his experience in therapeutic pedagogy, he developed a German-language course for playing the panflute.

The History of the first Panflute School in Switzerland – The DAJOERI-Panflute School In Zürich in1976, Joeri Murk founded the first Swiss panflute school and called it the DAJOERI-Panflute School. On a Swiss Radio show, one Saturday morning, the announcer Maria Cadruvi introduced Murk as a panflute-maker. This interview brought numerous requests for information and soon filled his classes with students. In 1977 he opened panflute classes in the two music-schools of Stans and Sachseln respectively. His interest in this new field of endeavor in Zürich and Central Switzerland grew to the point where he decided to dedicate his free time to increasing the popularity of this instrument.

Lacking financial means for wide-scale publicity, he looked for a partner who already possessed well-established marketing channels and could to help him disseminate his idea to the public at large. In 1979, he succeeded in convincing Mr. Lichtensteiger, then head of the Migros Club School in Zürich, to give him an opportunity to set up such courses. After the music schools had turned him down, it was Murk’s intention to directly go to the public at large and let them decide whether the panflute was only an instrument that was a passing fad or whether it indeed was that which Murk was convinced it was: an extraordinarily versatile instrument with a myriad of unimaginable nuances of sound, and a similarity to the human voice that is otherwise only possessed by the violin. The success he achieved with his courses proved him right. In no time at all, he was teaching more than 150 students of all ages in groups at the Migros Club School in Zurich.

Because of the steadily rising demand and the lack of qualified teachers, he trained his most advanced students to be panflute teachers. In 1979, Joeri Murk wrote an “Introduction to Playing the Panflute” because at that time, Gheorghe Zamfir’s method, published in 1975 (Chapell, Paris), was still the world’s only such method available in French. There was still no method written in German, despite a great demand. Murk, himself, declares: “Everything I know about the Panflute, I learned from Gheorghe Zamfir, from my teacher, from my friends Damian Luca, Nicolae Pirvu and Radu Simion. Talking to such virtuosi, going to their concerts and recording videos of their performances, I was able to study and analyze their different techniques, in order to comprehend which were common to them all. The present volume is the result of many years of hard work. It is meant to be a progressive guide for the beginner, helping him as he learns to play the panflute. It is to be followed by Gheorghe Zamfir’s French method, which has been published by Chapell in Paris. I have also written a guide for teachers which shows the most basic techniques. Both this method and Zamfir’s method are meant for the Rumanian 20 -pipe soprano- or 22-pipe alto panflute, that starts on H or G and goes up to G four octaves higher. This instrument should be tuned in G Major.”

In 1980 he encouraged a former student, Robert Schumacher, to open a DAJOERI panflute school in the principality of Lichtenstein and provided him with support. This school later developed into the Liechtensteinische Panflute Choir. In 1981, he organized panflute classes at the Migros Club School in St. Gallen which another former student, Peter Ringeisen, then taught. In 1981, Rita Niederberger started giving private panflute lessons in Hergiswil. She set up and taught panflute classes at the local music school that same year, and others in 1983 at the music school in Stans . In this way, she introduced this instrument to the people in the Canton of Nidwalden and spared no effort to ensure that the instrument would be accepted in the music-schools of Central Switzerland and would attract ever more followers. A trained recorder teacher, herself, she began learning the panflute in 1977 with Joeri Murk in Stans, and was then also trained by him to be a panflute teacher. In 1982, Murk had Dorli Carigiet replace him at the music-school in Sachseln and Peter Schinz at the Migros Club Schools in Zurich and Lucerne. In 1982 Joeri Murk met Joachim Domide, a former Rumanian citizen who had started studying cello in his homeland before emigrating to Switzerland in 1974. When they met, Domide had just started to teach himself to play the panflute. Murk convinced Domide to train to be a panflute teacher.

Only one year later, Joachim Domide was already so advanced that he was able to teach others. Murk then also trained him to run a school by himself. In 1983, Joeri Murk opened DAJOERI panflute schools in Chur, Uster and Zug for Domide to manage. This enabled the young man to dedicate himself entirely to music, something he found even easier to do now that it allowed him to make a decent living. This young, talented artist soon became a successful panflute-player and teacher. He composed new melodies, which he distributed to all the other DAJOERI panflute schools. He put the DAJOERI Panflute School in contact with people he knew back home. He also introduced his cousin, Gheorghe Ciolac, to Joeri Murk. A talented Rumanian musician, Ciolac has been a musical adviser, arranger of Rumanian folklore, accompanist and good friend of the DAJOERI house ever since. Murk is quite thankful to Domide for having acquainted him with this extraordinary man. In 1986, feeling a bit hemmed in within what had become quite a large organization by then, Domide left DAJOERI and changed the name of the panflute-school from DAJOERI to DOMIDE-Panflute School. With his training and experience acquired at DAJOERI and inspired by the example of Zamfir’s school, he designed a new panflute teaching method. He asked his cousin Gheorghe Ciolac to compose appropriate melodies for this method, which were then transcribed by Peter Schinz, who had also started working for himself at that time. In 1984, Elfriede Kamber, a qualified recorder teacher, was also ready to offer to teach the panflute at the music school in Kloten. In 1984, Erwin Dietschi, likewise a former student of Joeri Murk’s, started to offer panflute lessons in Heerbrugg.

In 1985, Murk placed Karin Schorat in the Migros Club School in Zurich and in Zug and in the music school in Schaffhausen. In Horgen and in Adliswil she then opened her own DAJOERI-Panflute Schools. In 1985 Murk founded the Zuerich DAJOERI-Panflute-choir (a musical ensemble) which he directed for eight years before handing it over in 1993 to L.A.Schwander, in order to manage his own school in Lucerne. L.A.Schwander gives concerts and convinces with her musical expression. Trained as a teacher by Murk, she has been teaching evening classes to adult students in Solothurn and Aarau for many years. During the day, she is also involved in computer-assisted music-setting for the DAJOERI School, which is then arranged by famous Rumanian musicians like Constantin Arvinte and Georghe Ciolac. In 1989, Joeri Murk got to know Peder Rizzi. A professional musician, Peder Rizzi used to make his own panflutes out of empty bottles and had become known through his frequent appearances with them on TV. His growing interest in this instrument prompted Rizzi to ask Dajoeri to make him one which bears the name “Rizzi-Master Flute”. Mostly self-taught, but acquainted with many Rumanian panflute players, he nevertheless perfected his own style of playing. He composed his own melodies which he had published by various publishers, and began to teach the panflute at the Zuerich Conservatory. Thanks to him as well as others, it is now possible to study the panflute at this Conservatory. Together with Urban Frei, Franz Winteler, Simion Stanciun and other musicians, he founded a study group which sets the requirements for admission to the Zuerich Conservatory. Caused by Murk’s pioneer work in the field of panflute instruction and panflute craftsmanship he was known jokingly as “the father of the panflute movement” in Switzerland. What happened to panflute-making? During all those years, Murk worked as a primary school teacher during the day and taught panflute for five hours in the evening, from Monday to Friday. Late at night after teaching and on weekends he built panflutes for his students. He did this because high-quality professional panflutes were still not available on the market. Somewhat overworked, he decided to find and train people to help him build his panflutes.

After a time, he was being assisted by men and women such as Christopher Flueck, Walter Wirsch, Thierri Tutellier (who later made Panflutes for Musik Hug), Joerg Frei, Francois Meier, Elisabeth Fischer, Cornelis Ratering, Marcel Frick, Miodrac Mihailovic, Roland Eder and Roman Moeller. As this activity kept growing, he set up DAJOERI AG in 1988, a joint-stock company which he administered. His wife Felicitas took over the business management and runs since then this organization. The founder has become an adviser to the company which is now independently run. Joerg Frei, a former pipe-organ builder and a shareholder of DAJOERI AG, trained as a Panflute-maker and is now in charge of the company’s panflute-making department. Francois Meier, Elisabeth Fischer, Cornelis Ratering, Marcel Frick, Miodrac Mihailovic, Roland Eder and Roman Moeller were all trained as panflute makers under his supervision. Besides learning the art of Panflute making, he also trained with Murk to be a teacher. He has more than 100 adult students in Baden, Basel and Bern where he has been teaching for years. His growing concert activity and his numerous CDs are attracting more and more attention. The panflute is probably already being played by more than 3000 enthusiasts in Switzerland, and more are being added all the time!