In Kalamata, on the shores of the Mediterranean, Yanni was born in 1954 to Sotiri and Felitsa Chryssomallis. The second of three children, Yanni has an older brother and a younger sister. Sharing a deep-rooted love of music, the family spent much of their time playing and singing together.
Yanni's parents provided a typical Greek life for the young boy. He grew up fishing, swimming, and going to school like every other boy in his town, with one exception. Yanni was born to compose music. He began to play the piano at age six, but he refused formal piano lessons. As a child, Yanni heard music in his head and he simply wanted to hear it come out of the piano too, so he needed to learn how to play to make that happen. He felt a certain freedom with the keys that might have been crushed under the weight of structured learning.
Yanni is known throughout the world as one of this century's most original and successful composers and musicians. His powerful compositions have come to define a new genre of music and over 500 million people in over 140 countries have seen his live performances.This program features personally selected performances of many of Yanni's most beloved instrumental compositions. The audience will be able to experience the energy and magic of seeing Yanni live, and re-live his most inspiring musical moments captured at some of the most elegant and exotic venues from around the world and, for the first time, be introduced to exclusive concert footage never before seen on television.
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.
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. Yanni later related that he had become depressed, and returned to Greece to live with his parents for three months before traveling the world. 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."
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. 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. 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." "It is very difficult, if not impossible, to lie with instrumental music because it deals in emotions only." He has also said that words operate in a different area of the brain, and lyrics "tend to put a song into a box."
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." 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."
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Werner Icking Music ArchiveThis site has many free sheet music files. While many are in PDF format only, an increasing number are in MusicXML format or MusicXML-compatible source formats like Finale and capella. The Archive has since merged with IMSLP, but this original site is still available online.
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, who 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.
Even without his impressive record and ticket sales, Yanni would no doubt still reap as much enjoyment from life. He rigorously follows his father's advice to always "taste life like a fruit," and he thrives on his music. "My music heals me," Yanni stated in the Private Music promotional literature. "It is the most valuable and unexpected gift that I get in return for the effort of creating it. That it has a similar impact on the listener is very rewarding."
Join Michael Feinstein and your Kansas City Symphony as we travel through the life and songs of Judy Garland, celebrating her 100th birthday. This brand-new multimedia concert event features big screen film clips, never-before-seen photos, rare audio recordings, good humor and of course, great music. 2b1af7f3a8