Joeri Murk, Founder of DAJOERI Panflutes

Joeri Murk is a true inhabitant of the Grisons (mountainous canton in the East of Switzerland), who lived some time in a village in Grisons working as a teacher. There he learned to appreciate to spend his leisure time supporting the community and be culturally active. He remained faithful to this idea until today.

When he came to Zurich over thirty years ago (1968) in order to study Philosophy, Psychology and Education at the University of Zurich (he completed his study as a certified teacher for mentally handicapped children), he missed the cultural activities from his homeland in his evening leisure time.
At the same time, he discovered his love for the panflute and devoted his leisure time to this instrument, which he later developed into recreational activities for adults, as he was used from his homeland.

At that time there was far and wide nobody who could give him any information about the panflute. After intensive search, he was able to make contact to the Rumanian Grandmaster, Gheorge Zamfir, who introduced him in the following four years into the secrets of constructing panflutes.

In order to find good bamboo to build panflutes, he even traveled for several weeks into the Malaysian Jungle, lived with the natives and inquired on the spot the different type of bamboo.

His friends, study colleagues and acquaintances smiled at him for now using so much time developing panflutes. (At that time the instrument was virtually unknown and found favor neither in music-schools nor in any other cultural institution.) However, the panflute fascinatied him so much, that he decided to popularize this forgotten instrument for broad public. He asked music schools to help him to disseminate the instrument by offering panflute instruction in their program. They rejected his offer with the explanation, that the current popularity is only a fashion trend.For that reason, he addressed the broad public directly, so that they could decide if this instrument should be revived in our area or not.

With countless church-concerts by well-known organists, such as Hermann Hirs, Wolfgang Sieber and Ueli Meldau, broad public interest for the panflute was awakened over the years here in Switzerland and abroad.

His hopes came true. Despite all the predictions from experts, the panflute was welcomed by the public with open arms, fully accepted and loved. Through his studies he reached knowledge, which he passed along in his leisure time, with initially free of charge instructions for building and playing panflute.

After these activities found approval, the demand grew so big that he found himself forced to organize the activities. For that reason he established a company named DAJOERI, which is from rhaeto-romanian and means “from Joeri”. As he knew that he would not be able to handle all the tasks of the company himself, he was looking for people who were in agreement with his goals and were willing to take over different functions. It should be a company, whose staff had a common goal “the dissemination of the panflute” and were able to function on its own, which was achieved one day.

His wife Felicitas, who is a professional singer and member of SMPV (official Swiss Union for Music Education), took over the management of the company and is still today in charge of it. Then he trained his past students to become panflute instructors in order to cover the high demand and he taught them how to instruct. For them he developed a course, which made it possible, to instruct successfully the Panflute School by Gheorge Zamfir. For these course however there was a fee to cover the costs.
As a note, Joeri never gave up his profession as teacher for mentally handicapped children and still pursues it. He still earns a living mainly as a teacher and musician.

But his leisure time he devotes to his stated goal, to popularize the panflute in our society, so that this beautiful instrument will never be forgotten again.

In order to realize this dissemination task, he had to count on like-minded people’s help. As his ideas were not subsidized like public music-schools, it was necessary for him to invest considerable finances of his own for training of personnel, research and distribution of the panflute. Only so was it possible, that in the course of time, the DAJOERI panflute was viewed as a first-rate instrument far and wide, and many professional panflute players, such as Zamfir, Syrinx, Pirvu. Luca, Mara, Rizzi and many other well-known artists, from all around the world, were requesting DAJOERI instruments and ordered them built by him.

Over the years he put his pedagogical knowledge into the courses he was offering, therefore making it possible for other panflute instructors to pass on his techniques to other layman in a simple, easily understandable way, so they wouldn’t resign, if this rather complex knowledge would be passed on to them in an incomprehensible way.

As there was no authentic literature available in written form, and the professional trade expecting this, in order to accept the instrument, he searched for and financed Rumanian musicians to write down the folk melodies. These had been passed on only verbally over several centuries, but now they were arranged in a way that these beautiful melodies could be played by us western laymen.

For that reason he provided expensive computers and music editing software, to make it possible, to publish these handwritten melodies professionally. All this led to an acceptance by professionals and was now guaranteed to be available in the future for all friends of the panflute.

He specially trained a person to study these computer programs over a longer time period, in order to produce the expected sheet music. This type of music writing was very new and is even today the most sophisticated music editing software available.

In order to study the different types of play techniques; he engaged the best known panflute players (Damian Luca, Nicolae Pirvu and Simion Stanciu) and studied their techniques by video taping it. This resulted in historical recordings that documented visually the different play techniques. This was done knowing that any time there was an uncertainty regarding a play technique, it would be possible to get back to the visual recordings.

Meanwhile, all these actions helped to popularize this instrument in Switzerland to a point where established music schools started to show interest and saw that it was worthwhile to support it. They decided, to also offer panflute courses and got their instructors trained by DAJOERI or requested to use his already trained instructors.
As Joeri Murk was the first, who supported the dissemination of the panflute, professionals often regard him as the pioneer of the panflute movement in Switzerland.