Yiannis Chryssomallis, was born in Kalamata, Greece in 1954. He is known professionally as Yanni ad he is a composer, pianist, keyboardist, and music producer.
Yanni blends jazz, classical, soft rock, and world music to create instrumental works. In recent years,Yanni has received international recognition by producing and playing in concerts at historic monuments and by producing videos that are broadcast on public television. Yanni is a longtime supporter and fundraiser of public television.
As an example, his concert Live at the Acropolis (played at the ancient theatre under the Acropolis of Athens), yielded the second best-selling music concert video of all time. Yanni’s has also played concerts in several other historical sites with great success, including India’s Taj Mahal, China’s Forbidden City,, Russia’s Kremlin, Lebanon’s ancient city of Byblos, Tunisia’s Roman Theatre of Carthage, the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza, and many others
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. 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.
“Creativity is an inherent human quality of the highest order.
When we create, we become more than the sum of our parts.”
Yanni was born November 14, 1954, in Kalamata, Greece, the son of Sotiri Chryssomallis and Felitsa. 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.
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. 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. 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.