Biography Of Talented Instrumentalist, Keyboardist, Pianist, Yanni

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Biography Of Talented Instrumentalist, Keyboardist, Pianist, Yanni

Yiannis Chryssomallis (Greek: Γιάννης Χρυσομάλλης, Giánnis Chrysomállis; born November 14, 1954), known professionally as Yanni (/ˈjɑːni/ YAH-nee), is a Greek composer, keyboardist, pianist, and music producer who has spent his adult life in the United States.


Yanni continues to use the musical shorthand that he developed as a child, blending jazz, classical, soft rock, and world music to create predominantly instrumental works. Although this genre of music was not well suited for commercial pop radio and music television, Yanni received international recognition by producing concerts at historic monuments and by producing videos that were broadcast on public television. His breakthrough concert, Live at the Acropolis, yielded the second best-selling music concert video of all time. Additional historic sites for Yanni’s concerts have included India’s Taj Mahal, China’s Forbidden City, the United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa, Russia’s Kremlin, Puerto Rico’s El Morro castle, Lebanon’s ancient city of Byblos, Tunisia’s Roman Theatre of Carthage, India’s Laxmi Vilas Palace, the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza, and the Amman Citadel.

At least sixteen of Yanni’s albums have peaked at No. 1 in Billboard’s “Top New Age Album” category,[24] and two albums (Dare to Dream and In My Time) received Grammy Award nominations. Yanni has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents, and through late 2015 Yanni had performed live in concert before more than 5 million people and had accumulated more than 40 platinum and gold albums globally, with sales totaling over 25 million copies. A longtime fundraiser for public television, Yanni’s compositions have been used on commercial television programs, especially for sporting events. He has written film scores and the music for an award-winning British Airways television commercial.

Yanni popularized the combination of electronic music synthesizers with a full scale symphony orchestra. He has employed musicians of various nationalities and has incorporated a variety of exotic instruments to create music that has been called an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds.[8] Influenced by his encounters with cultures around the world, Yanni has been called a “true global artist” and his music is said to reflect his “one world, one people” philosophy.

Early life
Yanni was born November 14, 1954 in Kalamata, Greece, the son of Sotiri Chryssomallis, a banker, and Triandafili Chryssomallis (Felitsa Chryssomallis), a homemaker (Felitsa is short for Triandafili, which means “rose”).[citation needed] He displayed musical talent at a young age, playing the piano at the age of 6. His parents encouraged him to learn at his own pace and in his own way, without formal music training. The self-taught musician continues to use the “musical shorthand” that he developed as a child, rather than employing traditional musical notation.

Yanni set a Greek national record in the 50-meter freestyle swimming competition at age 14.

In November 1972, Yanni moved from Greece to the United States to attend the University of Minnesota beginning in January 1973, majoring in psychology. For a time he earned money by washing dishes at the student union.[35] Yanni later explained that learning English forced him to read each paragraph several times in what he called a slow and frustrating process, but which helped him memorize the material and do well on tests. He received a B.A. degree in psychology in 1976.

During his time as a student, Yanni played in a local rock band and continued to study piano and other keyboard instruments.[1] Upon graduating, when he dedicated himself exclusively to music for one full year and found he was the happiest he had ever been, he said he decided music would be his life’s work.

Music career
In 1977 Yanni joined the Minneapolis-based rock group Chameleon, performing with its founder, drummer Charlie Adams[1][36] with whom he would work into the 2010s. While in Minneapolis, Yanni also worked with choreographer Loyce Houlton to provide music for dance works produced by the Minnesota Dance Theatre.[citation needed] After touring with Chameleon from 1980 to 1984, Yanni moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of movie soundtrack work.

1980s to early 1990s: Emergence and recognition
In 1980 Yanni recorded his first album Optimystique, which Atlantic Records re-released in 1984 and Private Music re-released in 1989.

Yanni formed a band in 1987 and began to tour in 1988 with an ensemble including pianist/singer John Tesh and drummer Charlie Adams, promoting his early albums Keys to Imagination, Out of Silence, and Chameleon Days.[14][29] A highlight of the tour was a performance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra that elicited a positive review, considered seminal to Yanni’s public recognition, from a Dallas Times Herald critic.[29] Yanni’s emergence was said to be “timed perfectly” with the growing popularity of contemporary instrumental music.[29] In this time frame, Yanni wrote motion picture soundtracks for Steal the Sky (1988), Heart of Midnight (1988), I Love You Perfect (1989), She’ll Take Romance (1990), When You Remember Me (1990), Children of the Bride (1990), and Hua qi Shao Lin (1994).

The Palm Beach Post’s Howie Grapek remarked about an April 2012 performance that the show was not a one-man keyboard show, but spotlighted individual long solos showcasing the band members’ talents, and that Yanni “loves giving them the opportunity to shine individually.” Booth Newspapers’ Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk commented that Yanni “has great sidemen – always has.” Further, Yanni expands sound variety by using multiple interchangeable keyboards that are interconnected so that playing one keyboard can cause other keyboards to play corresponding notes emulating different instruments.

Yanni’s concerts, known for their lighting and other technical aspects, require over 2,000 timing cues for a show’s lighting. Yanni’s longtime lighting designer remarked in 2013 that the lighting is critically timed to Yanni’s music itself, accommodating its variety of time signatures, further observing that since Yanni plays mostly theatrical venues rather than arenas, the lighting can include subtle moves and color. The lighting also emphasizes band members’ solos, as well as specific moments in the concerts.

Commenting on Yanni’s “great lighting” on the stage and “plenty of reverb in the audience,” Booth Newspapers’ Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk remarked that a Yanni concert “can be an intoxicating experience.”

In early 2017 Yanni began his “An Evening in Conversation with Yanni” or “An intimate Conversation with Yanni”[79] tour in which audience questions and on-stage participation guided the show, and Yanni played a piano without a band.

Honors, awards and distinctions
In addition to performing at historic venues such as Royal Albert Hall[80] (London; 1995 & 2014), Yanni has been permitted to perform at such world landmarks as the Acropolis of Athens (Greece; 1993), the Taj Mahal (Agra, India; 1997), the Forbidden City (Beijing, China; 1997), the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 2011),[15] the Kremlin (Moscow, Russia; 2011),[16] the Castillo San Felipe del Morro (“El Morro” UNESCO World Heritage Site, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S. territory; 2011),[17] the ancient city of Byblos (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lebanon; 2013),[18] the Roman Theatre of Carthage (Tunis, Tunisia; 2014),[19] Laxmi Vilas Palace (Vadodara, India; 2015),[20] the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza (Egypt, 2015),[21][22] and the Amman Citadel (Jordan, 2016).

Rising in popularity with the new age music boom of the 1980s and 1990s, Yanni’s music became more well known through adult alternative radio airplay, appearances on public television and in television commercials, as well as international music tours.[1] Yanni’s music has been used in television shows and televised sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Wide World of Sports, U.S. Open tennis championships, the U.S. Open (golf), the Tour de France, the World Figure Skating Championships and the Olympic Games. He also wrote music for ABC’s World News Now.


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