Interviewed in 2009
Born in Kalamata, Greece
Yiannis Chryssomallis, known professionally as Yanni, is a Greek-American composer, keyboardist, pianist, and music producer who has spent his adult life in the United States.
Yanni continues to use the musical shorthand that he developed as a child, blending jazz, classical, soft rock, and world music to create predominantly instrumental works. Although this genre of music was not well suited for commercial pop radio and music television, Yanni received international recognition by producing concerts at historic monuments and by producing videos that were broadcast on public television. His breakthrough concert, Live at the Acropolis, yielded the second best-selling music video of all time. Additional historic sites for Yanni's concerts have included India's Taj Mahal, China's Forbidden City, the United Arab Emirates' Burj Khalifa, Russia's Kremlin, Puerto Rico's El Morro castle, Lebanon's ancient city of Byblos, Tunisia's Roman Theatre of Carthage, and India's Laxmi Vilas Palace.
At least fourteen of Yanni's albums have peaked at No. 1 in Billboard's "Top New Age Album" category, and two albums (Dare to Dream and In My Time) received Grammy Award nominations. Yanni has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents, and through late 2015 Yanni had performed live in concert before more than 5 million people and had accumulated more than 40 platinum and gold albums globally, with sales totaling over 25 million copies. A longtime fundraiser for public television, Yanni's compositions have been used on commercial television programs, especially for sporting events. He has written film scores and the music for an award-winning British Airways television commercial.
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.