Yanni (pronounced /ˈjɑːni/ yah-nee), born Yiannis Hrysomallis (pronounced /kriːsoʊˈmɑːliːs/ kree-soh-mah-leess; Greek: Γιάννης Χρυσομάλλης Giannis Chrysomallis) on November 14, 1954, in Kalamata, Greece, is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, and composer.
He earned Grammy nominations for his 1992 album, Dare to Dream, and the 1993 follow-up, In My Time. His breakthrough success came with the 1994 release of Yanni Live at the Acropolis, deemed to be the second best-selling music video of all time. Yanni has since performed live in concert before in excess of two million people in more than 20 countries around the world. He has accumulated more than 35 platinum and gold albums globally, with sales totaling over 20 million copies. Yanni is considered to be one of the top fundraisers of all time for public television. His compositions have been included in all Olympic Games television broadcasts since 1988, and his music has been used extensively in television and televised sporting events. His music is frequently described as "new age", though he prefers the term "contemporary instrumental".
Yanni is a self-taught pianist and musician who began his career by giving recitals for family members though he had no formal training and could not read musical notes. He was also a competitive swimmer in Greece and set a national record in the 50-meter freestyle competition at the age of 14. At the age of 18, he attended the University of Minnesota. As a student, Yanni joined an upcoming local group called Chameleon where he met drummer Charlie Adams. Chameleon earned some modest commercial success touring throughout the Midwest, particularly in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and South Dakota. After receiving a B.A. in psychology in 1976, he sought a life in music. He moved to Los Angeles, in pursuit of movie soundtrack work. In 1987 he put together a small band which included John Tesh and Charlie Adams, and began touring to promote his earliest instrumental albums, Keys to Imagination, Out of Silence, and Chameleon Days.
Dare to Dream was released in 1992. It was Yanni’s first Grammy-nominated album and featured "Aria", a song based on The Flower Duet and popularized by an award-winning British Airways commercial. A second Grammy-nominated album, In My Time, was released in 1993. His music has been used extensively in television and televised sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Wide World of Sports, U.S. Open, Tour de France, World Figure Skating Championships, The Olympics, and ABC News.
Yanni's breakthrough commercial success came with the release of his album and video, Yanni Live at the Acropolis, filmed on September 23, 1993 at the 2,000-year-old Herod Atticus Theater in Athens, Greece, and released in 1994. This was Yanni’s first live album and utilized a full orchestra under the supervision of the Iranian conductor, Shahrdad Rohani, in addition to his core band. Subsequently, the concert was broadcast in the US on PBS and quickly became one of their most popular programs ever, having been seen in 65 countries by half a billion people. It has almost continuously remained on the charts since its release and is the second best-selling music video of all time, selling more than 7 million copies worldwide, A composition from this album, "Acroyali/Standing in Motion", was determined to have the "Mozart Effect," by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine because it is similar to Mozart's K 448 in tempo, structure, melodic and harmonic consonance and predictability. He has appeared on several major PBS Pledge TV Specials such as A Decade Of Excellence, including segments from Live at the Acropolis, Tribute, and Live at Royal Albert Hall, London.
In March 1997, Yanni became one of the few Western artists permitted to perform and record at the Taj Mahal in India. Later that year he performed at the Forbidden City in China. From these two events he created his next live album and video, Tribute, which was released in 1997. Armen Anassian, Conductor, concedes that he had some doubts about the artist's plans to perform at India's Taj Mahal and China's Forbidden City for Tribute: "To be honest, a few years ago when he was talking about it, the idea was so amazing. I myself was very skeptical, understandably so. But the truth is, it happened. We did it." Anassian describes Yanni as "very optimistic" and has observed that "nothing really fazes him." That outlook carries over naturally to his music. "I don't think it's a goal, per se. He's very honest with his own feelings. His music really comes from the heart. He writes music with ease, the music comes out with relative ease. The feel-good portion of the music is a by-product. It coincides with what the people love to hear." Lighting Designers Lee Rose and David "Gurn" Kaniski received an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries or a Special" for both Live at the Acropolis and Tribute .
In 2000, after a two-year sabbatical, Yanni released his first studio album in seven years: If I Could Tell You.
Yanni toured in 2003 and 2004 following the debut of the Ethnicity album, extending his "One World, One People" philosophy. This album sparked what would become the fourth largest concert tour of the year ranked by Billboard Magazine. During an early stop on the tour, in Miami, Florida, he played The Star-Spangled Banner before Game 5 of the 2003 World Series, played at Dolphin (now Sun Life) Stadium.
On May 6, 2004, the University of Minnesota conferred upon Yanni the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
He kicked off his 2004–2005 "Yanni Live!" tour at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, and his next live album and video, Yanni Live! The Concert Event was released in 2006.
In 2008, in collaboration with producer Ric Wake, Yanni showcased vocal artists singing his songs on the album Yanni Voices. On March 24, 2009, Disney Pearl Imprint released Yanni Voices, the artist's first studio album in six years, and its Buena Vista Concerts division produced the tour that began in April 2009.
The Yanni Live in South America tour included September 2010 performances in Santiago, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a November 2010 performance in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Performances in Mexico (January 2011) and Panama (February 2011) were followed by a 43-stop tour of Canada and the United States. In September-November 2011, Yanni toured fifteen stops in Eastern Europe and Asia. The 2010-2011 tours included new vocalists, distinct from the 2008–2009 Yanni Voices vocalists.
The album Yanni Mexicanisimo, released in October 2010, was dedicated as a tribute to Mexico, a combination of Mexican music with Yanni’s style.
Yanni released the album, Truth of Touch, early in February 2011.
Yanni has been permitted to perform at such world landmarks as the Acropolis of Athens (Greece), the Taj Mahal (Agra, India), the Forbidden City (Beijing, China), and the Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building; Dubai, United Arab Emirates).
During Yanni's October 2011 tour of China, Yanni became the first Western artist to be invited to adopt a giant panda (bear) at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a "privilege... usually reserved for countries rather than personalities." "Officials from the research base invited the musician to adopt the animal, saying their decision was made from the inspiration and harmony that derives from his music." Yanni named the panda "Santorini," also the name of a Greek island, explaining that the Greek word irini means 'peace'."
Yanni's autobiography, Yanni in Words, co-authored by David Rensin, was released in February 2003. It is a memoir which includes information about his early childhood in Greece, his college years in Minnesota, his success as an international music artist with his exploration into the creative process by which he composes, and his nine-year relationship with actress Linda Evans. The book coincided with the release of his 13th album Ethnicity and was a New York Times best seller.
Acroyali/Standing in Motion
This composition from the album Yanni Live at the Acropolis was determined to have the "Mozart Effect", by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine because it was similar to Mozart's K 448 in tempo, structure, melodic and harmonic consonance and predictability.
from the album Yanni Live at the Acropolis
"In the Morning Light"
from the album In My Time
from the album Tribute
"The End of August"
from the album In My Time
from the album Yanni Live at the Acropolis
1986 Keys to Imagination
1987 Out of Silence
1988 Chameleon Days
1989 Niki Nana
1990 Reflections of Passion
1991 In Celebration of Life
1992 Dare to Dream
1993 In My Time
2000 If I Could Tell You
2009 Yanni Voices and Yanni Voces (Spanish Version)
2010 Yanni Mexicanisimo
2011 Truth of Touch
1994 Yanni Live at the Acropolis
1995 Yanni Live at Royal Albert Hall
1996 Yanni One on One
2006 Yanni Live! The Concert Event
2009 Yanni Voices Live in Concert
1988 Steal the Sky
1988 Heart of Midnight
1989 I Love You Perfect
1990 Children of the Bride
1990 She'll Take Romance
1990 When You Remember Me
1994 Hua qi Shao Lin
1992 Romantic Moments, BMG
1994 A Collection of Romantic Themes, Private Music
1997 Devotion (The Best of Yanni), Private Music
1997 Port of Mystery, Windham Hill
1997 In The Mirror, Private Music
1997 Nightbird, Unison
1997 Songs From The Heart, BMG
1999 Someday, Unison
1999 The Private Years, Private Music
1999 Love Songs, RCA Victor
1999 Winter Light
2000 The Very Best of Yanni (2000–10), Windham Hill Records, RCA Victor
2003 Ultimate Yanni
2010 The Essential Yanni
1987: Out of Silence
1988: Chameleon Days
1990: Reflections of Passion
1991: Revolution in Sound
1992: Dare to Dream
1993: Yanni Live, The Symphony Concerts 1993
1994: Yanni Live, The Symphony Concerts 1994
1995: Yanni Live, The Symphony Concerts 1995
2004–5: Yanni Live!
2008–9: Yanni Voices
2010: Yanni Live in South America
2010: "Yanni Live in San Juan, Puerto Rico" [November]
2011: Yanni Live in Eastern Europe and Asia
2011: "Yanni Live at El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico" [December]
^ a b c "Yanni Career Highlights" (PDF). yanni.com. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2006.[non-primary source needed]
^ a b Yanni; Rensin, David (2002). Yanni in Words. Miramax Books. ISBN 1-4013-5194-8.
^ Deming, Mark (November 14, 1954). "Yanni". AllMusic. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
^ a b Yanni.com biography. Retrieved June 13, 2011
^ "Charlie Adams Official bio". charlieadams.org. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
^ (1994) Album notes for Yanni Live at the Acropolis by Yanni [CD liner]. Private Music.
^ "Windham Hill". Archived from the original on November 9, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
^ a b "The Mozart Effect". epilepsy.org. Retrieved August 7, 2007.
^ a b Yanni; Rensin, David (2002). Yanni in Words. Miramax Books. p. 67. ISBN 1-4013-5194-8.
^ a b c "Interview with Armen Anassian from the Toledo Blade". serve.com. February 1, 1998. http://www.serve.com/gregl7/armen.htm. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
^ Cohen, Jonathan (November 14, 2008). "Yanni Brings 'Voices' To Disney". Billboard Magazine (billboard.com). Retrieved November 16, 2008.
^ a b Craveiro, Rodrigo, "Em show em São Paulo, pianista Yanni fez passeio por sucessos da carreira" (In a Sao Paulo show, pianist Yanni goes for the success of a career), Correio Braziliense, published September 23, 2010 (WebCite archive), mentions vocalists Lisa Lavie and Ann McCormack (distinct from the Yanni Voices vocalists). See also WebCite archives of Yanni.com's "Artists" page (archived 2010-11-09) and tour schedule (archived 2010-09-12). Vocalists Lisa Lavie and Lauren Jelencovich (website moderator archive) performed in the Puerto Rico show and the subsequent tour of Mexico, Canada, the U.S., Eastern Europe and Asia ("Artists" page archive of January 27, 2011).
^ WebCite archives of tour (2010-11-29, includes Mexico), (2011-02-08, includes Panama), and (2011-03-21, includes update for Canada and U.S.).
^ September 2011 WebCite archives of Yanni's tour itinerary and artist listing. Early review, specifying performers: "Yanni la Bucuresti sau cum viseli pot deveni realitate" (Yanni in Bucharest, or how dreams can become reality) (WebCite archive), featured articles of 121.ro (Romania), September 15, 2011.
^ "Yanni Mexicanisimo – Mexican music with Yanni’s style". lanval.com. September 3, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
^ Rai, Bindu Suresh, "Burj Khalifa: Yanni's next landmark concert venue" (WebCite archive), Emirates 24/7, September 21, 2011.
^ a b Davidson, Mike (reporting), "Greek musician Yanni adopts panda." (WebCite archive--video on left; click on "(Transcript)" on right), Reuters, October 12, 2011.
^ a b "Greek musician Yanni adopts panda" (WebCite archive), Sky News Australia, October 12, 2011.
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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