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Yanni in 2007
Background information
Birth name Giánnis Chrysomállis
Born (1954-11-14) November 14, 1954 [1]
Origin Kalamata, Greece
Genres Contemporary instrumental,[1][2] instrumental,[3] crossover,[4] world, new-age (disavowed by artist)[3][5][6]
Occupation(s) Composer, pianist, music producer
Instruments Piano, keyboards
Years active 1980–present
Labels Private Music/Windham Hill/BMG
Image Entertainment
Yanni Wake/Disney Pearl Series
Associated acts Chameleon, Shahrdad Rohani
Website Official Website

Yiannis Chryssomallis[7] (Greek: Γιάννης Χρυσομάλλης, Giánnis Chrysomállis; born November 14, 1954), known professionally as Yanni ( ), is a Greek-American 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,[8][9] blending jazz, classical, soft rock, and world music[4] to create predominantly instrumental works.[10] Although this genre of music was not well suited for commercial pop radio and music television,[3][11] Yanni received international recognition by producing concerts at historic monuments and by producing videos that were broadcast on public television.[11] His breakthrough concert, Live at the Acropolis, yielded the second best-selling music video of all time.[12] Additional historic sites for Yanni's concerts have included India's Taj Mahal, China's Forbidden City, the United Arab Emirates' Burj Khalifa,[13] Russia's Kremlin,[14] Puerto Rico's El Morro castle,[15] Lebanon's ancient city of Byblos,[16] Tunisia's Roman Theatre of Carthage,[17] India's Laxmi Vilas Palace,[18] and the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza.[19][20]

At least fourteen of Yanni's albums have peaked at No. 1 in Billboard's "Top New Age Album" category,[21] and two albums (Dare to Dream and In My Time) received Grammy Award nominations.[22] Yanni has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents,[23] 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.[24][25] A longtime fundraiser for public television,[2][26] Yanni's compositions have been used on commercial television programs, especially for sporting events.[22][27][28] He has written film scores and the music for an award-winning British Airways television commercial.[27]

Yanni popularized the combination of electronic music synthesizers with a full scale symphony orchestra.[29] He has employed musicians of various nationalities and has incorporated a variety of exotic instruments[4] to create music that has been called an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds.[8] Influenced by his encounters with cultures around the world,[26][30] Yanni has been called a "True Global Artist"[29] and his music is said to reflect his “one world, one people” philosophy.[26]


  • Early life 1
  • Music career 2
    • 1980s to early 1990s: Emergence and recognition 2.1
    • 1990s: Acropolis, world concerts, exhaustion and renewal 2.2
    • 2000s to 2010: After a hiatus, new perspectives 2.3
    • 2010s: New sound designs, and a return to world tours 2.4
  • Influences, music and concerts 3
    • Musical Influences 3.1
    • Music genres distinguished from the "New Age" spiritual movement 3.2
    • Unconventional career track 3.3
    • Music 3.4
    • Concerts 3.5
  • Honors, awards and distinctions 4
  • Charitable and humanitarian activities 5
  • Autobiography 6
  • Discography 7
    • Original studio albums 7.1
    • Concert tours and live albums 7.2
  • References 8
  • Bibliography 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Yanni was born November 14, 1954 in Kalamata, Greece,[1] the son of a banker[31] and homemaker. He displayed musical talent at a young age, playing piano at the age of 6.[1] His parents encouraged him to learn at his own pace and in his own way, without formal music training.[1] The self-taught musician continues to use the "musical shorthand" that he developed as a child, rather than employing traditional musical notation.[8][9]

Yanni set a Greek national record in the 50-meter freestyle swimming competition at age 14.[22][32]

In November 1972, Yanni moved from Greece to the United States to attend the University of Minnesota beginning in January 1973, majoring in psychology.[1] For a time he earned money by washing dishes at the student union.[33] 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.[33] He received a B.A. degree in psychology in 1976.[22]

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.[33]

Music career

In 1977 Yanni joined the Minneapolis-based rock group Chameleon, working with its founder, drummer Charlie Adams.[1][34] While in Minneapolis, he also worked closely at times with choreographer Loyce Houlton to provide music for various dance works produced by the Minnesota Dance Theatre. After leaving Chameleon, Yanni moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of movie soundtrack work.[22][35]

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.[1][27]

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.[22][27] 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.[27] Yanni's emergence was said to be "timed perfectly" with the growing popularity of contemporary instrumental music.[27]

The Herodes Atticus Theater at the Acropolis of Athens, site of Yanni's September 1993 breakthrough concert Yanni Live at the Acropolis, performed in his native country Greece.

Yanni gained visibility as the result of his November 1990 appearances in People magazine[36][37] and on The Oprah Winfrey Show with actress Linda Evans,[11][36] with whom he had been in a relationship since 1989.[27][38] However, high-visibility appearances on public television, best-selling records and videos, and overflow concerts earned him recognition beyond his relationship with Evans.[38]

Dare to Dream, released in 1992, was Yanni’s first Grammy-nominated[22] album. It included "Aria," a song based on Léo Delibes' The Flower Duet (Lakmé, 1883) and popularized by an award-winning[27] British Airways commercial. A second Grammy-nominated[22] album, In My Time, followed in 1993.

1990s: Acropolis, world concerts, exhaustion and renewal

From Live at the Acropolis (1994):
At the 1993 Acropolis concert, Yanni dedicated "Nostalgia" to the people of his homeland Greece, where he had not lived since 1972.

Problems playing this file? See .

Yanni's breakthrough[4][8] concert, Live at the Acropolis, was filmed in September 1993 at the 2,000-year-old Herodes Atticus Theater at the Acropolis of Athens, an album and VHS being released in 1994.[22] Acropolis was Yanni’s first live album, and used his core band with a full sixty piece orchestra,[22] the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which was arranged and conducted by Iranian-American musician Shahrdad Rohani.[39][40]

Without financial backing, Yanni risked $2 million of his personal fortune in the Acropolis production[4] in a strategy to boost his artistic profile and open new markets for his music.[8] The resulting video was broadcast on PBS and became one of its most popular programs ever, seen in 65 countries by half a billion people.[22][41] It became the second best-selling music video of all time (after Michael Jackson's Thriller[42]), selling more than 7 million copies worldwide.[22]

In March 1997, Yanni became one of the few Western artists permitted to perform and record at the Taj Mahal in India.[43] Yanni followed in May 1997 with performances at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, becoming the first Western artist in modern times permitted to perform at the historic site.[43] These two events formed the live album and video, Tribute, released in November 1997.[43]

After negotiating the demands of gaining permission to perform at the Taj Mahal and Forbidden City in 1997, breaking up with Linda Evans in early 1998, and completing a long world tour later in 1998, Yanni halted his music career.[11][44] Yanni later related that he had become depressed, and returned to Greece to live with his parents for three months before traveling the world.[11] He didn't do an interview for two years, later explaining, "I traveled. I wanted to see other people's ideas of life, get out of the American dream."[11]

In 1999 Yanni released his compilation project, a five CD box set of called The Private Years which also featured a DVD of his concert film Live at the Acropolis.

2000s to 2010: After a hiatus, new perspectives

In 2000, after the two-year hiatus, Yanni released If I Could Tell You, his first studio album in seven years. The album sold 55,000 copies in its first week and landed at No. 20 on the Billboard charts, his highest debut to date.[11] Yanni described the album as more of an even-tempered "listening" album, less dramatic than the live concert albums Live at the Acropolis or Tribute.[45] He explained that he himself created all of the album's sounds, including apparent vocalizations, through the manipulation of sound in his studio.[45]

The music in Yanni's 2003 album Ethnicity represented many of the world's cultures, Yanni saying it uses ethnicity to reflect the color and beauty of a multicultural society.[46] The album was released near the publication date of Yanni's autobiography, Yanni in Words.[46] On October 23, 2003, Yanni performed a keyboard instrumental version of The Star-Spangled Banner before Game 5 of the 2003 World Series.[47]

For the first time in his career, Yanni brought vocalists to the forefront in the Ric Wake collaboration Yanni Voices, the artist's first studio album in six years.[48] PBS broadcast video of a November 2008 Voices Acapulco concert weeks before the album's March 24, 2009 release by Walt Disney Records' Disney Pearl Imprint, the album release preceding a tour produced by Pearl's Buena Vista Concerts division.[48]

The album Mexicanisimo, released in November of Mexico's bicentennial year 2010, was a tribute to that country through Yanni's collaborative interpretation of its folk music.[49] It involved collaboration with singer-songwriter Pepe Aguilar and singer-actress Lucero.[49]

2010s: New sound designs, and a return to world tours

Yanni onstage with his orchestra and vocalists. While performing, Yanni divides his time among two decks of electronic keyboards and an acoustic piano, and conducts his orchestra.[50]

The Truth of Touch album was released in February 2011, Yanni's first studio album of new material since Ethnicity eight years earlier.[22] Truth of Touch's varied content reflected contemporary instrumental, electronic, and cinematic influences, and crossed over into popular, new age, and world music.[51] Though Yanni said that Truth of Touch was started by experimenting with new sound designs,[12] Allmusic's James Christopher Monger said that the album shows Yanni returning to his instrumental roots, and should appeal to fans of his music from the mid-1990s.[52] Three of fifteen tracks on the predominantly instrumental album included vocals from respective Yanni Voices vocalists.[52]

In April 2012, Yanni released the

  • Official website
  • Yanni on Facebook
  • Yanni's channel on YouTube
  • Yanni at AllMusic (biography by Mark Deming)
  • Yanni discography at Discogs
  • Yanni at the Internet Movie Database
  • 90-second "1989 British Airways Commercial" on YouTube, and 60-second version from "FlyBritishAirways" on YouTube; official YouTube channel. Song is "Aria" (recently called "Ode to Humanity")

External links

  • Yanni with David Rensin, Yanni in Words, Miramax/Hyperion, New York, 2003.
  • Winters, Kelly, biography (2004)Yanni, Cengage Learning's Gale Publishing, as published on (archive)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Deming, Mark, "Yanni" / "Biography" (WebCite archive), Allmusic, written in 2011 or in 2012 before archive date of April 29, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Puckett, Jeffrey Lee, "Yanni up close: Musician known for larger-than-life venues also loves the Louisville Palace" (WebCite archive (full article)), The Courier-Journal, April 26, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Catlin, Roger, "New Age Artists Want A New Label" (WebCite archives for pages 1 and 2), Hartford Courant, April 26, 1992.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kot, Greg, "7 Million Yanni Fans Can't Be Wrong! / Or Can They?" (WebCite archives of pages 1, 2, and 3), Chicago Tribune, February 15, 1998.
  5. ^ a b c d Wager, Greg, "Artists Bring a Variety of Styles to New-Age Music" (WebCite archive), Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1988.
  6. ^ a b c d Metcalf, Steve, "As An Aid To Understanding, We Deconstruct / Yanni" (WebCite archives of pages 1 and 2), Hartford Courant, June 25, 1995.
  7. ^ Yanni in Words, page 10 ("our name, Chryssomallis, means golden hair") and page 17 ("In English my name means John, ... if you were to talk about me, you'd refer to me as Yiannis").
  8. ^ a b c d e f g McCulloch, Craig, "Yanni is Idol of New Age Instrumental Music - 2003-06-15" (WebCite archive), Voice of America News, June 15, 2003.
  9. ^ a b c d "Famous Greeks / Yanni" (WebCite archive of 2012-07-10),, publication date unknown.
  10. ^ a b c d Jasper, Kelly, "Yanni to bring world music to Augusta fans" (WebCite archive), The Augusta Chronicle, May 22, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Segal, David, "Yanni's Back--and Ready for a Group Hug With the World" (WebCite archives of page 1 and page 2), Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2000.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Burnett, Richard, "From the Acropolis to America, Yanni still sits on top of the world" (WebCite archive), The Gazette (Montreal), June 14, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Rai, Bindu Suresh, "Burj Khalifa: Yanni's next landmark concert venue" (WebCite archive), Emirates 24/7, September 21, 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Kremlin Palace / Tuesday, Nov. 01, 2011" (WebCite archive), ● "Yanni live in Moscow, Russian Federation" (WebCite archive),
  15. ^ a b "Yanni to play at CMAC in June" (WebCite archive), Finger Lakes Times, December 12, 2011. ● "Mañana inicia venta de boletos para concierto de Yanni en El Morro" (Tomorrow begins concert tickets sales for Yanni in El Morro) (WebCite archive), PrimeraHora, September 23, 2011.
  16. ^ a b Ghandour Hert, Maya, "Yanni, mi-homme-orchestre, mi-chef d’orchestre" (WebCite archive), L'Orient-Le Jour, July 2, 2013. (UNESCO WHC).
  17. ^ a b Zine, Imen, "Tunis : Yanni, «The crazy musician» qui a conquis nos cœurs et nos âmes!" (WebCite archive), L'Économiste maghrébin, July 23, 2014.
  18. ^ a b c "Musical genius Yanni enthralls audience at Vadodara Fest" (WebCite archive), Z News (India), January 24, 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d e "In pictures: Yanni brings ancient Cairo to life with his magnificent music".   (Video).
  20. ^ a b c "3,000 security personnel to secure Yanni’s ‘Dream Concert’ at pyramids". The Cairo Post, a  
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i Yanni / Billboard albums (WebCite archives of 2012-04-29 and 2012-06-20), Allmusic's listing of Billboard's album data, sorted by peak.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Bekheet, Diaa, "Yanni’s North America Tour, Truth of Touch" (WebCite archive), Voice of America News, Jazz Beat, January 23, 2012.
  23. ^ a b c Archives of concert tour schedules on MTV,, pollstar, concertful, and/or bandsintown — explore specific archive dates using drop-down list in upper right.
  24. ^ "Yanni Returns to the Segerstrom Center for U.S. Tour" (WebCite archive), Broadway World, September 2, 2015.
  25. ^ "A Conversation with Yanni" (WebCite archive), Grammy Museum, circa September 2014.
  26. ^ a b c d e Sickler, Linda, "Yanni to Savannah: 'I can't wait to see you'" (WebCite archive), Savannah Morning News, (, May 26, 2012.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Heckman, Don, "Sound Philosophy: New Age luminary Yanni reflects on his musical exploration, the struggles of the planet and performing at the base of the Parthenon" (WebCite archive), Los Angeles Times, June 13, 1993.
  28. ^ a b Myers, Alex, "Enough about Johnny. Is this the last U.S. Open to feature Yanni? The story behind one of sports' greatest theme songs" (WebCite archive), Golf Digest, June 12, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c d "World famous composer Yanni to perform in India soon" (WebCite archive), Daily News and Analysis (DNA) India, January 22, 2015.
  30. ^ a b c Francisco, Mollee, "Let's Go: Around the world with Yanni" (WebCite archive), The Chanhassen Villager, April 28, 2012.
  31. ^ Winters, "For the record" section.
  32. ^ DelaGarza, Mari, "Yanni's Winning Virtues," The (Fort Wayne, Ind.) News-Sentinel, March 11, 2004 (News-Sentinel document ID 10143A590B0C184F).
  33. ^ a b c d WebCite archive of transcript of Yanni's May 6, 2004 speech accepting honorary degree at the Wayback Machine (archived July 4, 2007), posted to alumni section of University of Minnesota website.
  34. ^ Deming, Mark, "Yanni", (WebCite archive), Billboard, after 2014 release of Inspirato.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h Moser, John L. (interviewer), "Yanni speaks: World music icon talks about influences, the foibles of fame, and his future" (WebCite archive), The Morning Call's "Lehigh Valley Music," June 22, 2012.
  36. ^ a b Sanders, Linda, PassionSelling (WebCite archive), Entertainment Weekly, Issue 49, January 18, 1991.
  37. ^ Gliatto, Tom, "From Krystle to Blissful" (WebCite archive), People, November 26, 1990.
  38. ^ a b c Heckman, Don, "No Yanni Come Lately: It Was a Long Trip From Obscure Immigrant to Orchestral Pop Superstar, Though the Learning Continues" (WebCite archive), Los Angeles Times, May 27, 1995.
  39. ^ a b c Widran, Jonathan, "Yanni / Live at the Acropolis / review" (WebCite archive), Allmusic, 1994 or later.
  40. ^ Dallafar, Arlene (2001). Making it in America: A Sourcebook on Eminent Ethnic Americans. Santa Barbara, California: ABC - CLIO. p. 320.  
  41. ^ Maher, Jack, "Yanni set to perform at Red Rocks in July" (WebCite archive), KUSA (TV) (, May 21, 2012.
  42. ^ a b c Klangboonkrong, Manta, "On a high with Yanni" (WebCite archive), The Nation (Thailand), October 13, 2011.
  43. ^ a b c Chu, Henry, "Yanni Opens the Door to the Forbidden City" (WebCite archive), Los Angeles Times, May 30, 1997.
  44. ^ Ryan, Joal. "Soul Mates Yanni and Linda Evans Uncouple". Retrieved Aug 21, 2014. 
  45. ^ a b c d e Wright, Carol (interviewer), "Greek Mystique: The Enigmatic Yanni Shares the Secrets of His Success" (WebCite archive), "Artist Interview" published in Music section of, 2000 (exact date not specified).
  46. ^ a b "Yanni presenta su ambiciosa gira" (Yanni introduces an ambitious tour) (WebCite archive), Terra Networks Mexico, dated April 4, 2007 (sic; probably was actually 2003).
  47. ^ Gleeman, Aaron, "Diary of a Madman (World Series, Game Five)" (WebCite archive),, October 24/25, 2003.
  48. ^ a b c Cohen, Jonathan (November 14, 2008). "Yanni Brings 'Voices' To Disney". Billboard Magazine ( Retrieved November 16, 2008.  (WebCite archive). Vocalists are Nathan Pacheco, Chloe, Ender Thomas and Leslie Mills.
  49. ^ a b "Yanni desgrana lo mejor del repertorio popular mexicano" (Yanni reels off the best of Mexican folk repertoire) (WebCite archive), Circuito Unión Radio (, Venezuela), October 18, 2010.
  50. ^ Budzak, Gary, "Concert Review | Yanni: Artist, orchestra put on positive show" (WebCite archive), The Columbus Dispatch, May 9, 2012.
  51. ^ Olsen, John P., "Yanni Truth Of Touch album review" (Webcite archive), New Age Music World, January 24, 2012.
  52. ^ a b Monger, James Christopher, "Truth of Touch / review" (WebCite archive), Allmusic, circa 2011.
  53. ^ a b c "Yanni: Live At El Morro" (WebCite archive), KPBS, June 4, 2012.
  54. ^ a b c "Celine Dion to sing Mo Li Hua for CCTV New Year's Gala" (WebCite archive), WantChinaTimes branch of China Times (Taiwan), February 1, 2013.
  55. ^ a b "CCTV Spring Festival Evening program guide (bilingual)" (WebCite archive), China Daily, February 8, 2013.
  56. ^ a b "CCTV Gala line-up unveiled" (WebCite archive), English-language part of China Network Television, February 9, 2013.
  57. ^ 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's "Artists" page (archived 2010-11-09) and tour schedule (archived 2010-09-12). ● Vocalists Lisa Lavie and Lauren Jelencovich performed in the Puerto Rico show and subsequent tours of Mexico, Canada, the U.S., Eastern Europe and Asia ("Artists" page archive of January 27, 2011).
  58. ^ a b "Inspirato" (WebCite archive), Allmusic album description page cites the "international" release date of March 24, 2014.
  59. ^ a b c d Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey, "Yanni leaves DeVos Performance Hall audience hungry for more in Monday's appearance in Grand Rapids" (WebCite archive), Booth Newspapers (Grand Rapids, Michigan) (, May 8, 2012.
  60. ^ Downey, Kevin, "Yanni talks 'Touch' and returning to instrumental music" (WebCite archive), The Arizona Republic, July 11, 2012.
  61. ^ Heckman, Don, "Trends: New Age Enters a New Phase: Call it what you want, but the sound of Yanni and his similarly minded pals ... is reaching far beyond its old image of ambient mood music" (WebCite archive), Los Angeles Times, February 27, 1994.
  62. ^ Moehlis, Jeff, "Interview: Yanni" (WebCite archive), interview referenced in Santa Barbara Noozhawk July 24, 2012 after being posted in Music-Illuminati July 16, 2012.
  63. ^ a b c Grapek, Howie, "Yanni makes classic rock fan appreciate new-age style" (link updated 2012-07-24), (WebCite archive of original link), "The Palm Beach Pulse" (PBPulse) section of The Palm Beach Post, April 18, 2012.
  64. ^ Burke, David, "Yanni brings world of experience to concert" (WebCite archive), Quad-City Times, May 3, 2012.
  65. ^ a b "On the Road | Bud Horowitz, Production Designer/LD for Yanni" (WebCite archive), Projection, Lights and Staging News (PLSN), February 2013 issue.
  66. ^ a b Olsen, John P., "Yanni Concert – Live on PBS" (WebCite archive), New Age Music World, February 29, 2012.
  67. ^ a b "The Mozart effect" (live link is outdated, but WebCite archive of 2012-07-06 contains specific reference to this song), Epilepsy Action (, date unspecified, after its citation to April 2001 Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine article, but before September 2010 "update" date. Archives in the Wayback Machine and
  68. ^ a b c Davidson, Mike (reporting), "Greek musician Yanni adopts panda." (WebCite archive--video on left; click on "(Transcript)" on right), Reuters, October 12, 2011.
  69. ^ a b c "Greek musician Yanni adopts panda" (WebCite archive), Sky News Australia, October 12, 2011.
  70. ^ a b "Best of 2012 / New Age Album Artists", Billboard (magazine). To see previous years' listings, manually change the 4-digit year in the URL to the desired year (Billboard archives go back to 2006 only). • (Archives for 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006)
  71. ^ "Yanni: Live At The Acropolis / PBS / Awards & Nominations" (WebCite archive),, 1994.
  72. ^ a b "Yanni: Tribute / PBS / Awards & Nominations" (WebCite archive),, 1998.
  73. ^ "Time to Commence Fewer Rich and Famous Speakers Grace Graduation Ceremonies, but the Smiles of Newly Minted Alumni Shine as Brightly as Ever" (WebCite archive), St. Paul Pioneer Press, May 8, 2004.
  74. ^ a b Ellwood, Pip, "Yanni to play first UK date in 19 years" (WebCite archive), Entertainment Focus Music News, November 19, 2013.
  75. ^ "Adopt a WWF & Yanni “Santorini” Panda" in the "Gift Center" of the World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund) (WWF) website. Accessed 2014-01-22. WebCite archive of 2012-04-09.
  76. ^ "Best Sellers: March 2, 2003 / Nonfiction" (WebCite archive), The New York Times, March 2, 2003.
  77. ^ a b c d "Billboard Legacy | Billboard 200 Albums of the Year...", Billboard, (WebCite archives on 2014-05-29 of first and second pages for Yanni).
  78. ^ a b c d Links to Billboard 's "Best of (year) / New Age Albums" for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
  79. ^ a b "Best of 2011 / New Age Albums" (WebCite archive), Billboard (magazine). Truth of Touch listed at No. 1, Yanni Mexicanisimo at No. 7. Downloaded and archived 2011-12-30.


Year Tour / Album Billboard
New Age
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 Live at the Acropolis 1 5 Released following the Sept. 1993 Acropolis concerts
Yanni Live,
The Symphony Concerts 1994
1995 Yanni Live,
The Symphony Concerts 1995
Royal Albert Hall
1997 Tribute 1 21 Taj Mahal and Forbidden City
2003–4 Ethnicity 1 27 Billboard rankings are for studio album
2006 Yanni Live! The Concert Event 1 84 2004 concert;
No. 4 selling New Age album of both 2006 and 2007[78]
Peaked at No. 6 Billboard Top Independent Album (2006)[21]
2008–9 Yanni Voices 1 20 Billboard rankings are for studio album
2010 Yanni in Concert South America (September) and Puerto Rico (November)
2011 Mexico (January), Panama (February),
and U.S. (March–May)
Eastern Europe and Asia (October–November)
Live at El Morro,
Puerto Rico
1 109 December 2011; subject of 2012 CD and DVD;
No. 5 selling New Age album of 2012[78]
2012 An Evening with Yanni Mexico, U.S., Canada (March–August), and
Chile, Argentina, Brazil (September–October)
2013 World Without Borders Middle East, China, Eastern Europe (March–July)
World Tour Mexico, Puerto Rico, Eastern U.S.
2014 S. & N. America, Europe, Middle East, South Asia, N. Africa
2015 One Man's Dream India,[18] China, Egypt[19]
Clicking on some tour names links to album that preceded that tour.

Concert tours and live albums

Year Album Title Billboard
New Age
Further Notes
1980 Optimystique
1986 Keys to Imagination
1987 Out of Silence
1988 Chameleon Days 2
1989 Niki Nana 2
1990 Reflections of Passion 1 29
1991 In Celebration of Life 3 60
1992 Dare to Dream 2 32 Grammy-nominated (New Age)[22]
1993 In My Time 1 24 Grammy-nominated (New Age)[22]
2000 If I Could Tell You 1 20
2003 Ethnicity 1 27
2009 Yanni Voices (English language) 1 20 No. 2 selling New Age Album (2009), No. 5 (2010).[78]
Peaked as Billboard No. 20 Top Internet Album[21]
Yanni Voces (Spanish language) 2 Peaked as No. 5 Billboard Top Latin Pop Album and
No. 13 Billboard Top Latin Album.[21]
2010 Mexicanisimo 2 No. 7 selling New Age album of 2011[79]
My Passion for Mexico (2012) has same tracks
2011 Truth of Touch 1 91 No. 1 top-selling New Age album of 2011[22][79]
No. 10 selling New Age album of 2012[78]
2012 My Passion for Mexico (English title) 7 Yanni Mexicanisimo (2010) has same tracks
2014 Inspirato 1
This list excludes compilation and retrospective albums. For complete album listing, see Yanni discography.

Original studio albums


Yanni's autobiography, Yanni in Words, co-authored by David Rensin, was published in February 2003, coinciding with the release of his Ethnicity album. The book became a New York Times best seller in the nonfiction category on March 2, 2003.[76]


Yanni has assisted the conservation efforts of the World Wide Fund for Nature (the World Wildlife Fund, WWF),[74] sponsoring a symbolic "Panda Adoption Kit" program in which he guaranteed $50,000 in donations.[75] Yanni has also been a spokesman for NASA.[74]

[53] production (2012) was Yanni's tenth collaboration with PBS.Yanni Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico The [2] Yanni has had a collaborative relationship with the

Charitable and humanitarian activities

In addition to earning a B.A. in psychology in 1976 from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities,[22] Yanni received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the same institution on May 6, 2004.[30][33][73]

Fifteen Yanni albums peaked at No. 1 in Billboard's "Top New Age Album" category.[21]

The PBS specials Live at the Acropolis and Tribute received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries, Movie or Special, in 1994[71] and 1998,[72] respectively. Lee Rose and David "Gurn" Kaniski Lighting Designers.[72]

Yanni's albums Dare to Dream (1992) and In My Time (1993) received Grammy Award nominations for Best New Age Album."[22]

Billboard named Yanni No. 5 "New Age Album Artist" of 2012.[70] He was named to the same list in 2011 (ranked No. 1), 2010 (No. 4), 2009 (No. 3), 2007 (No. 4), and 2006 (No. 4).[70]

In February 2013, Yanni and Celine Dion were the first non-Chinese artists invited to perform (separately) in China at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, a CCTV televised event with an annual audience of 700 million.[54][55][56]

During Yanni's October 2011 tour of China, Yanni became the first Western artist to be invited to adopt a giant panda (bear) cub at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a "privilege... usually reserved for countries rather than personalities."[68] "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."[69] Yanni named the panda "Santorini," also the name of a Greek island, explaining that the Greek word irini means 'peace'."[68][69]

Yanni's "Acroyali/Standing in Motion" was determined to have the "[67]

From Live at the Acropolis (1994):
The Allmusic review of the Acropolis album characterized this song as "exotica," beginning with atmosphere and chime effects and evolving into an "adventurous orchestral and synth explosion" perceived as more ambitious than Yanni's studio recordings.[39] This composition was thought by researchers to have the "[67]

Santorini, the name of a Greek island and also the name Yanni in 2011 gave to his symbolically adopted panda cub,[68][69] is a song included in primary school teachings throughout China.[12] The Allmusic review of the Acropolis album selected this song as epitomizing musical balance, opening with percussive string fanfare but then allowing Yanni to be simply expressive on the acoustic piano as the orchestra toned down.[39]

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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, U.S. Open (golf), Tour de France, the World Figure Skating Championships and the Olympic Games.[22][27][28] He wrote music for ABC's World News Now.[3]

In addition to performing at historic venues such as Royal Albert Hall[66] (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),[13] the Kremlin (Moscow, Russia; 2011),[14] the Castillo San Felipe del Morro ("El Morro" UNESCO World Heritage Site, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S. territory; 2011),[15] the ancient city of Byblos (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lebanon; 2013),[16] the Roman Theatre of Carthage (Tunis, Tunisia; 2014),[17] Laxmi Vilas Palace (Vadodara, India; 2015),[18] and the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza (Egypt, 2015).[19][20]

Honors, awards and distinctions

During live concerts, Yanni's band members are individually showcased.[59][63]
With keyboardist Ming Freeman 
With vocalist Lauren Jelencovich 
With vocalist Lisa Lavie 
With violinists Mary Simpson and Samvel Yervinyan 

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."[59]

Yanni’s concerts are known for their lighting and other technical aspects.[64] 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.[65] The lighting also emphasizes band members' solos, as well as specific moments in the concerts.[65]

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."[63] Booth Newspapers' Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk commented that Yanni "has great sidemen – always has."[59]


A single thought

Everything great that has ever happened to humanity has begun as a single thought in someone's mind. And if any one of us is capable of such a thought, then all of us have the same capacity and capability, because we're all the same.

Concert's closing comments,
Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico
December 2011

Continuing to use the "musical shorthand" that he developed as a child rather than employing traditional musical notation,[8][9] Yanni hires someone to perform the tedious process of making conventional written charts for orchestra members.[45] Even so, since music is an auditory domain, Yanni must train the musicians in what cannot be conveyed in that writing.[45]

Yanni's popularity with the public and his success on public television have contrasted sharply with views of some critics.[6] The more extreme criticisms have been paraphrased as characterizing Yanni as a "no-talent poseur" whose music has little intellectual weight, while his fans' opinions have been paraphrased as calling Yanni a "highly original artist whose profound spirituality has created a unique kind of music."[6]

The Morning Call's John L. Moser wrote that "trends come and trends go," but that Yanni's music "seems to defy trends and... feels like it’s music for all time."[35] Moser interviewed the composer, asking if he intentionally tries to create "something that’s going to last forever as opposed to something that’s just going to sell 1 million copies right away," Yanni replied that "There’s no way you can create art to last forever... so you can’t have that in your mind."[35] Instead, describing his creative process, Yanni explained that his knowledge of music and instruments and his experience in different cultures is a "primordial soup that comes together and it shows itself and it appears. And it’s fluid. It’s effortless."[35]

More recently, Allmusic's Mark Deming characterized Yanni's compositions and performances as having "a pronounced sense of drama, dynamics, and romanticism," writing that Yanni has a "commanding performance style."[1] In 2012 Howie Grapek remarked in The Palm Beach Post's PBPulse that "there are few modern-day composers with a unique sense of music and style which is truly their own. To compare new-age music with classic rock is a stretch, but for Yanni, it is possible. This Greek composer marries contemporary new-age spirituality with today’s pop attitudes and delivers a unique sound."[63] Yanni popularized the combination of electronic music synthesizers with a full scale symphony orchestra.[29] Having been called a "True Global Artist",[29] Yanni has employed musicians of various nationalities, and has incorporated a variety of exotic instruments from around the world from an Australian didgeridoo to a Peruvian charango, to perform with his classical orchestra, rock rhythm section, and electronic keyboards.[4] His music has been described as "an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds, from Native American chants to African rhythms and Asian harmonies."[8]

In an early-career review in the Dallas Times Herald in the late 1980s, Yanni's concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was described as "exhilarating, moving and inspiring."[27] In 1995, The Los Angeles Times' Don Heckman wrote that Yanni's music is "based on sweeping romantic melodies underscored with energetic Mediterranean rhythms."[38] More analytically, the Hartford Courant's Steve Metcalf "deconstructed" Yanni's music as being "from a harmonic standpoint, constructed of materials found in a lot of late-19th, early 20th century classical music. It is essentially tonal, tinged with mild whiffs of dissonance here and there, sometimes rhythmically frisky, graspable on first listening, and self-evidently mood-inducing. There are two basic moods to Yanni music: struttingly heroic with martial overtones, and dreamily contemplative. ... A kind of peaceful, easy-feeling link between pop music and classical music."[6]


Yanni took an unconventional path to recognition, for example, by risking his personal fortune to fund historic-monument events such as his 1993 Acropolis concerts, by producing specials on public television, by creating alone in his home-built studio, and by performing many of his own production duties—thus by-passing the conventional music industry.[11] In 2000, The Washington Post's David Segal wrote that Yanni was "a living metaphor for Success on Your Own Terms, the dream of every American with an idea that is either ridiculed or ignored."[11]

The genre of Yanni's music made it unsuitable for most commercial radio or for music television.[3][11] In 2012 Yanni expressed the importance of PBS to his career, saying that the network "always allowed me to present my music without any censorship or influence, and encouraged me to be the artist that I am," and had been "a great part of my career for over 20 years."[62]

Unconventional career track

In 2012, Yanni remarked that he has never liked putting art into categories or assigning labels, adding that he always composed music "to honestly reflect the lessons learned and the experiences I have shared throughout my life."[12] For example, Yanni's university study of psychology influenced his music: “When I create music, it is a reflection of my soul, my experiences in life and my relationships with other people and cultures. Psychology, and understanding who we are as people in this world, is present in almost every creative thought I have."[12]

While Yanni has said New Age is "a spiritual definition more than a musical definition,"[3] his music has been said to be "adopted by"[2][12] the New Age movement as it gained mainstream momentum. His music is also called contemporary instrumental[2] and has been described as "an instrumental blend of fusion-jazz, world music, classical, and soft rock."[4] However, at least as early as 1988, Yanni was said to shun labels such as "Greek" and "New Age," emphasizing that "when someone says new age music, I think of something that you put on in the background while you're vacuuming the house. I don't want to relax the audience; I want to engage them in the music, get them interested."[5] Distinguishing his work from what others have called ambient mood music, Yanni pointed out in 1994: "New Age implies a more subdued, more relaxed music than what I do. My music can be very rhythmic, very energetic, even very ethnic."[61]

Lines on maps

These lines really don't exist. They are made up—completely—and they perpetuate this illusion that somehow we're all different from each other. I think the world would be a much better place if some day, we stopped pretending that these lines exist and we concentrated on our similarities rather than our differences.

Concert's closing comments,
Live at the Acropolis
September 1993

Music genres distinguished from the "New Age" spiritual movement

However, Yanni performed with four vocalists in the forefront in Yanni Voices (2008-2009),[48] and performed with two vocalists on tours (2010-2012) and in the Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico concerts (December 2011) and CD/DVD (2012).[57] In late 2011 Yanni remarked that he tends to prefer instrumental music "because it's more open, but the human voice too can be the most expressive instrument known to man. There is power to it."[42] Referring to his creative experiences on the 2009 Voices project, Yanni explained that "while most of the music I write is instrumental, I love to use the human voice as another instrument."[60]

Yanni explained that "the most influence I’ve ever had from music was doing (soundtracks for) movies, ... mostly instrumental music," mentioning his love for the work of Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams.[35] The Augusta Chronicle's Kelly Jasper noted that most of Yanni's music is instrumental, indicating that Yanni surmised that the lack of lyrics is what allowed his music to become popular internationally.[10] Yanni went on to say, "There are no lyrics in my music for the most part, so the whole message is transmitted through the rhythm, melody, and sounds, and I think that has to do with crossing all the borders and being able to go to different countries.”[10] "It is very difficult, if not impossible, to lie with instrumental music because it deals in emotions only."[45] He has also said that words operate in a different area of the brain,[9] and lyrics "tend to put a song into a box."[42]

Yanni's musical influences include music from Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as classical, rock and roll, and electronic music.[12] Yanni explained that the 1970s, with its new technology and electronic instruments, were particularly influential at that stage in his career, and that even recently his Truth of Touch album (2011) was started by experimenting with new sound designs.[12] Having been exposed to classical music very early in life—listening to Bach at age 8[35]—he counts several classical pianists and composers among his influences, citing Beethoven as a favorite[10] and Chopin as "No. 2 favorite."[35] Yanni mentioned being influenced not only by classical composers like Mozart and Bach, but also rock and roll bands such as Led Zeppelin, the People!, and Black Sabbath.[35]

Samples of Yanni's work, early in his career and more recently.
Liner notes from Yanni's first album Optimystique say he recorded the album in 1980 (age 25). Early in his career Yanni focused heavily on the electronic side of music.[12]

The title track from the Truth of Touch album is more orchestral than his earliest work, but Yanni said that even this 2011 album was started by experimenting with new sound designs.[12]

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From childhood, Yanni accepted a wide variety of musical styles, listening to radio stations from Northern Africa, Arab countries, and Europe.[5] He observed that "there were no rock stations or classical stations--each station would just play everything."[5] Yanni's music has been said to reflect his encounters with cultures around the world[26][30] and embody his philosophy of “one world, one people.”[26] In this vein, Booth Newspapers' Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk perceived the eclectic inspirations of Yanni's music to be an element of his success: Yanni's "Middle Eastern and Oriental scales and mixed meters sound just exotic enough to entice his middle-of-the-road fans, but not so authentic as to mystify folks who grew up with a backbeat, so you can’t lose it," adding that certain songs "leave you with a sense that you’ve just heard a bit of a steel drum or a Greek bouzouki or a Japanese koto or possibly all three."[59]

Musical Influences

Influences, music and concerts

In the 2010s, Yanni’s international tours included performances in over thirty countries on five continents, including (alphabetically) Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, Oman, Panama, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States (including Puerto Rico).[23]

On October 30-31, 2015, Yanni performed two concerts on the grounds of the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza, his first performance in Egypt.[19] The concerts included fireworks and a live broadcast from International Space Station commander, astronaut Scott Kelly.[19] To convey an image of stable security after the Egyptian Crisis (2011–14), an Egyptian security force of 3,000 people secured the concert area.[20]

In March 2014, Yanni released his seventeenth studio album, Inspirato, a collaboration with operatic tenor Plácido Domingo and producer Ric Wake that, like Yanni Voices five years earlier, highlighted vocal performances.[58] In Inspirato, distinguished operatic vocalists performed remakes of songs that Yanni had previously released over his career, the songs' titles and lyrics being predominantly in the Italian language.[58]

Yanni's 2010s tours included new vocalists, distinct from the 2008–2009 Yanni Voices vocalists, though the setlists remained predominantly instrumental.[57]

Yanni performed in China in the February 9, 2013, CCTV Spring Festival Gala (annual audience 700 million[54]) with Chinese zither artist Chang Jing[55][56] in what was the first year that CCTV had invited foreign artists to perform.[54]


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