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Yanni Biography

Home > Music > Y > Yanni > Biography

Birth Name: Yiànnis Hrysomàllis
Birth Place: Kalamata, Greece
Years Active: 1980–present
Genres: Instrumental

Yanni (born Yiannis Hrysomallis), on November 14, 1954, in Kalamata, Greece) is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, and composer.

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.

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.

In 2000, after a two-year sabbatical, Yanni released his first studio album in seven years, “If I Could Tell You.”

Yanni toured in 2003–2004 with the debut of the “Ethnicity” album. This album sparked what would become the 4th largest concert tour of the year ranked by Billboard Magazine.

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.

The release of a new album “Yanni Mexicanisimo” in October 2010 is 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 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.