Yiannis Chryssomallis, was born in Kalamata, Greece in 1954. He is known professionally as Yanni and 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. Yanni showed signs of his musical talent since he was very young (6 years old) at which time he started playing the piano. He was encouraged by his parents to learn without formal music training and at his own pace. Yanni, as a self-taught musician, continues to this day to use the “musical shorthand” that he developed as a child in Greece.
Yanni moved to the United States in 1972 to attend osychology classes at the University of Minnesota. 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 his BA in psychology in 1976.
During his time in Minessota, Yanni played in a local rock band but continued studying piano and other keyboard instruments. After his graduation he dedicated himself exclusively to music for one full year and found that he was the happiest he had ever been. At that point, Yanni said he decided music would be his life’s work.