listen to an evening with yanni hosted by Tony B
facts about yanni:
Name; Yiannis Chryssomallis (Yanni).
date of birth; November 14, 1954.
place of birth; Kalamata , greece.
known professionally as Yanni, he is a Greek-American composer, keyboardist, pianist, and music
Composer. Many people think they’ve never heard Yanni’s music.
Yet in the early 1990s, the keyboardist’s work was heard by more people than
perhaps that of any other composer , from commercials to soundtracks to sporting events.
this Greek-born synthesizer wiz has been everywhere, establishing a fan base beyond his die hard New Age constituency.
When , in 1972, he left his home in Kalamata, Greece, at age 18,
Yanni Chrysomallis had no plans to become a New Age music star.
Although music had always been a passion, the study of psychology overrode it.
Having read all the works of Sigmund Freud by the time he was 16,
Yanni chose to go to the United States to study psychology at the University of Minnesota.
Just two years away from a graduate degree, however, it occurred to him that “to have a PhD at 24 and go into practice
and have children and do the same thing over and over again it would drive me crazy,” he confessed to a reporter from People.
And with that, music took over. He did learn something useful from psychology classes however, that was where he learned to speak English.
As a child, Yanni mastered the piano without lessons.
He played for hours trying to re-create the music he’d heard on the radio or at the movies.
Having perfect pitch certainly helped. In time he even developed his own system of musical notation ,
something he still uses. But as a youth, Yanni also found room for sports ,
he is a former member of the Greek National Swimming Team and broke the national freestyle record at age 14.
After leaving school, Yanni worked as a studio musician, toured for years with the cult rock band Chameleon, and often spent fifteen-hour days at the keyboard.
The distinctive musical style that developed from his hard work and talent urged him toward a solo career.
In 1986 Yanni’s demo tape caught the ear of Private Music’s Peter Bowman ,
he was convinced that the musician had something special.
Later that year, Private Music released Yanni’s first solo album, Optimystique.
From there Yanni went on to very quietly develop a tremendous following.
Bowman made the top of the New Age charts his first objective for Yanni.
Although he generally categorizes his music as “adult contemporary,”
Yanni does not object to the New Age designation, as do some contemporary instrumentalists who are lumped into that category.
“When I was studying psychology,” he told Keyboard ‘s Bob Doerschuk,
“I learned that one of the worst things you can do to patients is to label them.
If you call someone a neurotic, he’ll go into his box and behave like a neurotic.
But we have to use labels, because they help us to communicate quickly and understand each other.
That’s why the New Age label doesn’t bother me. I want my music to be heard.
I want it to affect people. I want to connect with my audience at an intimate level.
I don’t want anybody to think that you have to be a spacehead to enjoy my music.
If I can affect you emotionally and get under your skin, then I’m succeeding.”
Indeed, “having an effect” means everything to Yanni.
“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,” he stated in a 1993 Private Music press release.
“The only way people can fully relate to it and enjoy it is when it means something in their life.
Instrumental music, used correctly, is very direct and extremely accurate in describing even the most subtle human emotions.
My music does not describe the circumstances, but how the circumstances make you feel.
Since the music projects no gender, and there are no lyrics to be interpreted,
the listener can personalize it, and in a far more precise way.”
In addition to his albums, Yanni has secured a niche in television and is developing a successful film scoring career.
“In the old days,” he told Doerschuk, “I was so interested in soundtracks that when I saw a movie
I loved that had music I didn’t love so much, I would take a copy of the film home, recut it, and write a new soundtrack for it.
I’ve done 50 or 60 films that way. Now, finally, I get to do this for real.”
Yanni has created music for numerous television movies,
though his most widely heard television work has probably been in the area of sports.
His music has been used on The Wide World of Sports and on broadcasts of the Tour de France,
the World Figure Skating Championships, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, the World Series, and the Olympic Games.
In 1992, Yanni even composed the theme for the ABC-TV nightly news program World News Now.
Beyond the small screen, his compositions have appeared in the theatrical release Heart of Midnight,
and he has collaborated with British entertainment impresario Malcolm McLaren on an award-winning commercial for British Airways,
as well as scoring music for a U.S. government film biography of Pope John Paul II.
Having scaled the New Age charts, Private Music made plans to focus on the romance inherent in much of Yanni’s work,
his relationship with actress Linda Evans has been a boon to this marketing angle.
Yanni, met Evans in 1989, remarked to People,
“This is not a situation where love is blind and we’re walking around on cloud nine.
It’s that we are on cloud nine and we allow ourselves to be there and to love it.”
Evans fell in love with the artist’s music before meeting the man.
When she did meet him, she confessed in People ,
“I looked at him and I had no idea. No idea! If I had known what he had looked like,
I never would have had the nerve to call him.”
New York Times music critic Stephen Holden described Yanni as “a shrewd showman”
and elaborated, “Wearing a mustache and curly locks that fall below his shoulders,
and clad in a puffy white shirt, white trousers, and shiny white shoes,
he has refined a sensitive swashbuckler look that might be found on the cover of a romance novel.
While playing the keyboard, he sometimes dances around,
tossing his head back in rapt intensity.”
Evans, for one, loves it. “Maybe a regular person would just throw up, but I play his music all the time,”
she admitted in People. Evans, whose attitude undoubtedly reflects that of many of Yanni’s women fans, hand-picked the songs that would appear on Yanni’s Reflections of Passion disc.
Reflections was, in fact, a career retrospective of Yanni’s most romantic compositions that also included three new selections.
The release was part of Private Music’s plan to reach a wider audience–one that does not usually buy instrumental music ,
while maintaining Yanni’s already large and loyal New Age following.
Evans had quite an assortment from which to choose for Reflections, it being the composer’s sixth album.
For the Record …
Born Yanni Chrysomallis.
date of birth;November 14, 1954.
place of birth; in Kalamata, Greece; son of a banker.
Education: B.A. in psychology, University of Minnesota; graduate work.
Studio musician, c. 1978; keyboardist for group Chameleon, early 1980s; became solo artist, 1986; signed with Private Music and released first solo album, Optimystique, 1986; has released over a dozen albums since; moved to Virgin Records in 1999. Has toured and performed worldwide.
Awards: World Music Award, Best-Selling Greek Recording Artist of the Year, 1993.
information researched by stephen evans on behalf of the tafn events team.