Yanni Biography

Yanni, one of the greatest new age musicians of all times, is a self-taught artist who continues to push the boundaries of music. Born in Greece and now an American citizen, Yanni’s extensive travels have influenced his complex and multi-cultural compositions. From performing in exclusive venues like the Taj Mahal and the Acropolis of Athens to developing his own musical shorthand as a child, Yanni’s creativity knows no bounds. His partnership with PBS has not only showcased his talents but also raised millions of dollars for various causes. In addition to his own orchestra, Yanni lends his fundraising efforts to the World Wildlife Fund, promoting the conservation of endangered species. With two Grammy nominations under his belt, Yanni’s unique orchestral music defies genre definitions and solidifies his international repute.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Yiannis Chryssomallis
  • Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Father: Sotiri Chryssomallis
    • Mother: Felitsa Chryssomallis
    • Children: Krystal Ann (Daughter)
  • Born Country: Greece
  • Occupation: Pianists, Composers
  • Height: 5’11” (180 cm), 5’11” Males
  • Notable Alumni: University Of Minnesota College Of Liberal Arts
  • Ancestry: Greek American
  • Education: University Of Minnesota College Of Liberal Arts

Childhood & Early Life

Yanni was born as Yiannis Chryssomallis, on November 14, 1954, in Kalamata, Greece. As a child, he developed his own way of writing music and continues to use his own signature ‘musical shorthand’ to compose pieces even today. He began to play piano as early as six and his parents allowed him to progress at his own pace. In November of 1972, he moved to the United States to attend the University of Minnesota and majored in psychology. He played in a rock band during this time and discovered that music was his true calling.


Yanni worked with many bands in his early career before moving to Los Angeles to pursue soundtrack composition for movies and theater. In 1977, he played in the band, ‘Chameleon’, with drummer Charlie Adams, whom he would later go on to work with. He produced his first solo album ‘Optimystique’ in 1980 and developed his unique musical sound. To promote this and other early albums, he went on tour with Charlie Adams and various other band members for several years before permanently relocating to Los Angeles. His popularity began to grow in the early ’90s with several high profile, TV and magazine appearances, including ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ and ‘People Magazine’. His relationship with actress Linda Evans helped to increase his visibility, but he soon became a celebrity in his own right. Yanni’s growing popularity launched him to the forefront of the New Age movement that swelled throughout the 1990s. He landed his first Grammy nomination for the 1992 album ‘Dare to Dream’, with his second nomination following the year after. In 1997, he became one of the few western performers to play at the Taj Mahal and the Forbidden City. He negotiated these breakthrough concerts, completed a sweeping world tour and broke off his long term relationship with actress Linda Evans, and then took a two year hiatus from his musical career. He cited stress and depression as the reason for his hiatus, and took advantage of the break to travel and learn more about the world. His travels, during this time, added depth to his music. He launched his comeback, in 2000, with the album ‘If I Could Tell You’, which shot to number 20 on the Billboard charts, making it his most successful debut ever. During this decade he continued to use PBS and other creative venues to explore his unique sound through world music and other genres. Today, Yanni continues his massive international tours, visiting over 30 different countries and sharing his unique compositions. His recent work includes 2014’s ‘Inspirato’, a collaborative project with operatic tenor Plácido Domingo and producer Ric Wake.

Major Works

In September 1993, he recorded his first live album and breakthrough performance, ‘Yanni Live at the Acropolis’, which featured his core band backed by the 60 piece Royal Philharmonic orchestra. The broadcast aired on PBS and was one of their most popular shows of all time, while the music video became the second best-selling music video of all time behind Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

Awards & Achievements

Yanni has the rare distinction of being permitted to perform at some of the most exclusive venues and restrictive landmarks in the world, including the Royal Albert Hall, the Acropolis of Athens, the Taj Mahal, the Forbidden City and the Kremlin. Yanni has received two Grammy nominations—in 1992 and 1993—in the category ‘Best New Age Album’. No less than 15 of his albums have made it to the Billboard chart’s number one spot for new age albums. ‘Yanni Live at the Acropolis’ and ‘Tribute’ were some of PBS’s most popular broadcasts of all time, with Yanni Live selling over seven million copies. Both specials earned Emmy Award nominations. In addition to Live at the Acropolis, he has collaborated with PBS on over 10 major projects and assisted their fundraising efforts throughout his career. Over the course of their partnership, he has helped them to raise an estimated 13 million dollars for public broadcasting.

Personal Life & Legacy

Yanni dated actress Linda Evans. Their relationship lasted from 1989 to 1998, and currently, he is single. For years, the world believed that Yanni has no children, but in April 2014, Yanni revealed that he has a daughter, namely, Krystal Ann, and introduced her then 32-year-old daughter to the world.


In addition to early musical genius, this prominent personality also showed athletic prowess early on. In his native country of Greece, he set a national record in the 50-meter freestyle swimming competition, at the age of 14.

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