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11/14/1954, Kalamata, Greece

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  • Biography
  • Early 50's - 70's Yanni was born in Kalamata, on the shores of the Mediterranean, in 1954. He was the middle child of his parents, Sotiri and Felitsa Chryssomallis. Yanni has an older brother and a younger sister. Sharing a deep-rooted love of music, the family spent much of their time playing instruments and singing together. Yanni's parents provided a typical Greek life for the young boy. He grew up fishing, swimming, and going to school like every other boy in his town, with one exception. Yanni was born to compose music. He began to play the piano at age eight, but he refused to take formal piano lessons. As a child, Yanni heard music in his head and he simply wanted to hear it come out of the piano too, so he needed to learn how to play in order to make that happen. He felt a certain freedom with the keys that might have been crushed under the weight of structured learning.Music was not Yanni's only talent. In 1969, at the age of 14, Yanni broke the Greek National swimming record for the men's 50-meter freestyle event. Although he could have pursued this skill, he chose to travel a different path; one which eventually led him to share his musical gift with the world. Yanni receives a swimming medal At 14 Years Old. In 1972, with the encouragement of his parents, Yanni left his homeland to attend the University of Minnesota. Between his studies, he played in local rock and roll bands and began to develop his personal musical style using both piano and electronic keyboards to create new sounds. Yanni Wamt To The University of Minnesota From 1972 - 1974. Despite a new culture, a new climate, and a new language, Yanni graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. After graduation, he decided to give music 100% of his effort for one year. He needed to better understand the driving artistic forces that had been such a large part of his childhood years. It was during this year that he chose to make music his vocation. Rock and Roll…Chameleon Days Yanni played the keyboards for Chameleon, a rock and roll band that became well known in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Spurred by their success, Chameleon began to tour regionally - across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Chicago, Iowa, and the Dakotas. They also independently produced two albums during this time. 1980's and 1990's Yanni On His Own "Optimystique" released independently, re-released in 1984. By now Yanni knew his future would be in music, and he used his experience with electronic keyboards to begin creating his own compositions. "Optimystique," his first solo album, was independently released in 1980. Yanni single-mindedly continued to pursue his passion for creating music. He explored the worlds of electronic music, new sounds and instruments, and composition. This was a very productive and busy time for Yanni. He released 2 albums and worked on a third before moving to Hollywood, the film industry capital, where he recorded 4 film scores and released 3 more albums. In 1990, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra accompanied Yanni in concert, offering a new dimension to his unique style and a prelude of things to come. Reflections of Passion" Double Platinum award - U.S.Yanni was constantly experimenting and composing - giving his growing number of fans new music every year. The albums "In Celebration of Life," "Dare to Dream," and "In My Time" were released over the next three years. And, as if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, Yanni went on tour each of these three years. 1991 - "In Celebration of Life" Yanni Tours 1992 - "Dare to Dream" Platinum award- U.S. Yanni Tours Each year brought a more extensive tour, larger venues, and greater numbers of fans. Yanni hand-picked the band members who would accompany him on his tours, and eventually added an entire symphony orchestra. 1993 - Yanni live at the Herod Atticus Theater On the night of September 25, 1993, beneath the golden glow of the Parthenon, a standing-room-only crowd assembles to witness a stunning spectacle of sight and sound. The majestic stone arches of the 2,000-year-old Herod Atticus Theatre becomes the setting for a performance of a lifetime. The passionate audience warmly embraces their native son, who has returned home in triumph after 2 decades in America. "Aria" is used in the world-renowned British Airways commercial that garnered international acclaim and swept the British CM Awards. "In My Time" - Platinum Award - U.S. Yanni toured internationally for the first time, presenting his music live in some world famous venues such as at the Acropolis in his homeland of Greece. The Toji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, and the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was during these concerts that his first two long format music videos were produced; "Live At The Acropolis" in 1994, which has gone 6 times platinum, and a completely different program in "Live at Royal Albert Hall" (released in 1995). 1996 - 2005's "In Celebration of Man" is the exclusive theme music on NBC for US Open Golf and all USGA Open Events. "YANNI - Live at the Acropolis" Quadruple Platinum Award - U.S. Sold over 7.5 million copies worldwide Sales record in India in its initial four weeks of release Video is 6 times platinum Second best selling music video of all time "Santorini" is used as the theme for CBS US Open Tennis "Yanni - Live at Royal Albert Hall" A Global Journey - Tribute World Tour Yanni pursued the biggest challenge of his career - to become the first western artist to perform at both theTaj Mahal in India and the Forbidden City in China. Both venues presented unique and difficult obstacles, but once again, Yanni's persistence and patience paid off through the highly successful concerts. Concert at the Forbidden City in China is broadcast to an audience of 150 million. Concert at the Taj Majal is broadcast to an audience of 100 million. Yanni composes opening music of the 1996 Summer Olympics, which featured "Standing in Motion". The Interlochen Center for the Arts, located in a remote part of Northern Michigan, was Yanni's next site for a "first-ever" international event where Yanni literally connected the world via state-of-the-art telecommunications technology. The event was video taped for a one-hour television special. The program "One On One" was distributed to more than 100 million cable and satellite subscribers around the world. The "Tribute" album attained platinum status in the U.S. within five weeks of its November 4, 1997 release and is currently approaching double Platinum status. The "Tribute" video debuted in the #2 spot on the Music Video charts. It has earned a double Platinum award. The "Tribute" album was released in the Fall of 1997, and much of the music was written with these two locations in mind. Yanni's third long format music video, also titled "Tribute", was filmed during these two momentous events. The result was an outstanding combination of extraordinary musicians, inspiring sights, and an unchallenged movement of world peace and harmony, all brought together by a single artist's vision. 1998 In tandem with the release of "Tribute", Yanni embarked on his record-breaking 9-month, 100+ city tour. Beginning in Mexico City, Yanni became the first foreign artist to sell out five consecutive shows at the Auditorio Nacionale. The momentum continued from there as Yanni moved to play 10 consecutive sold out shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York; the first time this had happened since 1993. The "Tribute" tour was the top selling tour during the first half of 1998, and was ranked #2 for the entire year. Included on the "Tribute" video is a 1-hour documentary of Yanni's project in India and China, titled "No Borders, No Boundaries". This beautiful film production, narrated by Christopher Plummer, aired nationally on PBS. The 1998 Winter Olympic Games featured "Nightingale" for a special segment, and "Tribute" was used during 2000 After the grueling "Tribute" World Tour, Yanni took some time to rest, and then got busy following a different direction. He relocated from the West Coast to his current home on the Florida coast. He had a new studio designed and built so he could focus on his next musical venture. Once it was completed and Yanni was ready to compose again, he experienced a flicker of hesitation about whether his creativity would return at his command... it did. Yanni focused his efforts on creating his first new album of original compositions in nearly three years; his first studio album in 7 years. "If I Could Tell You" was released on October 3rd, 2001. The music revealed the profound impact the different cultures of the world have had on Yanni, and he shared that vividly through his music. It also reflects a sense of peace, of coming home, and gives the fans a glimpse into Yanni's heart. 2002 "Santorini" and "Standing in Motion" were again used in the 2002 Winter Games. "Fanfare", specially composed by Yanni for the world's biggest soccer event, was performed in the pre-opening ceremony for World Cup 2002 in Seoul, Korea. After the release of "If I Could Tell You", Yanni took off in a new direction. He'd been asked for many years to write a book, but he'd always been too focused on his music. Finally, he felt that the time was right. He'd reached a place in his life where he could say what he wanted and needed to say. "Yanni In Words" is a beautiful reflection of his life's journey. 2003 Yanni tours Yanni also composed all the music for his latest album, "Ethnicity", during this time. Perhaps one of his most uplifting albums to date, "Ethnicity" is both emotional and fun, and it's sure to be an all-time favorite. As for the future, Yanni plans to keep up his fast pace. He's touring the U.S. and Canada with his hand-chosen musicians, doing interviews, and always keeping his eyes on the road ahead. Wherever that road leads him, he'll continue to make the most of that journey. 2004 Ethnicity Tour With standing ovations, the enthusiastic audience at the Selland Arena in Albuquerque welcomed Yanni's opening concert for the 2nd leg of his "Ethnicity" tour.moreless

    Birth Name:

    Yiannis Chryssomallis



    Birth Place:

    Kalamata, Greece

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (24)

    • Yanni: Symphonies can generate a tremendous amount of sounds, beauty, and emotion. That is part of their human feel and sweetness. Keyboards, on the other hand, give us access to millions of sounds. When I put the two together, the result is unique, and it's not only pleasing to the ear, but produces emotional responses that neither of the two can achieve on their own.

    • Yanni: I truly believe greatness is in all of us. Don't let anyone talk us out of our truth.

    • Yanni: As I understand life at different levels, I can use music to express what these levels feel like to me. Hopefully the listener can be transported to this understanding by listening to the music

    • I'm an optimist and a survivor, and I put this in my music. It is my intention to share my emotions with the listener but I also want to allow the listener to take this music and make it their own. The only way people can fully relate to it and enjoy it is when it means something in their life.

    • Yanni: I was ready to explore the world much closer. The idea of sex in itself was not a mystery to me. My father was very liberal and open. My father had no problem with mild bad language. My mom was a little more uptight than my father, but although she giggled and turned red in the face, she didn't reprimand my dad for talking that way. In Europe, sexuality is much more accepted than in all of America. Which frankly, was a big shock to me when I came to the United States, because in my experience Americans at least on holiday abroad had always seemed so uninhibited.

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    Trivia (17)

    • Yanni's most of all loved his Phillips shortwave radio, which was made of dark brown plastic, with a light cream cloth covered speaker. Yanni remembered lying awake at nights after the lights were out with the radio next to his ear, twisting the dial through the crackle and hum, searching for channels overjoyed at discovering the world. Yanni could pick up stations from Algeria, Egypt, Italy, Germany, The Middle East, and Greece. Yanni would listen to whatever he could, from rock 'n' roll to jazz to Middle Eastern songs. The experience opened his mind to different music and time signatures. Yanni realized that one culture could find beauty in places that another culture didn't understand. But given the chance, that beauty could be shared through melody. Yanni began to appreciate those differences and those similarities. Yanni's affinity for both grew as he spent more time exploring the world beyond himself. Yanni was ready to explore a world much closer at hand.

    • The name Yanni or it's English Equivalent (John) means "God Is Gracious" in English.

    • In Greek there are many words to describe the different kinds of love. Yanni's parents raised their kids with agape, which means unconditional love. Simply putting it, no matter how they acted or what they did wrong Yanni's parents never withdrew their love or threatened to.

    • In the Greek tradition, the firstborn child son always takes their father's name. But since his older brother was named Yorgo, to honor their uncle, that left Grandpam Yanni's name left to Yanni.

    • Yanni's name in English means John, in honor of St. John the Baptist.

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