Yanni, (born Yiannis Chrysomallis, Greek: ??????? ???????????, on November 14, 1954), is a Greek keyboardist and composer. He was born in Kalamata, Greece.
Yanni is a self-taught pianist who began his musical career by giving recitals for family members. Early in his life, he was also a competitive swimmer in Greece and set a national record in the 50-meter freestyle competition. He later attended the University of Minnesota and earned a B.A. in psychology. After graduation, Yanni chose to try a career in music, although he could not read music and had no formal training. Using his own form of musical shorthand, he began writing original works that defy categorization.
While a student at the University of Minnesota, Yanni joined an up-and-coming local group called Chameleon, which was headed by drummer Charlie Adams. Chameleon earned some modest commercial success touring throughout the Midwest, particularly in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and South Dakota. Eventually, Yanni grew tired of the rock and roll lifestyle and focused solely on his instrumental career as a soloist. He moved to Los Angeles and eventually formed a small band including Charlie Adams and John Tesh.
Dare to Dream was released in 1992. It was Yanni’s first Grammy-nominated album and featured Aria, a song popularized by an award-winning British Airways commercial. A second Grammy-nominated album, In My Time, was released in 1993.
Yanni's breakthrough commercial success came with the release of his album and video, Yanni Live at the Acropolis, which was filmed on September 25, 1993 at the 2,000-year-old Herod Atticus Theater in Athens, Greece, and released in 1994.
Yanni's autobiography, Yanni In Words, co-authored by David Rensin, was released in 2003. It is a memoir which includes information about his early childhood in Greece, his college years in Minnesota, his success as an international music artist with his exploration into the creative process by which he composes, and his intense nine-year relationship with Linda Evans.