Yanni Although many fans and critics call his music "New Age," Yanni himself has distanced himself from that label. In his autobiography, Yanni devotes an entire chapter to the subject, stating that he prefers to call his music "contemporary instrumental."
Early in his life, Yanni was a competitive swimmer in Greece. When becoming an Olympic swimmer didn't work out, he tried to forge a career in rock and roll, touring with locally popular bands in the Midwest United States while a student at the University of Minnesota. His most popular group was Chameleon, a band that 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. Most of early music relied heavily on the synthesizer and received little airplay, except on New Age radio stations in larger markets.
Yanni's breakthrough commercial success came with the release of his album and video, Live at the Acropolis (1993), which was filmed at the Herodian Ampitheater, under the Parthenon in Athens. This was Yanni's first album which utilized a full orchestra rather than a handful of studio musicians, and his first live album. Under the supervision of conductor Shardad Rohani, the Royal London Philharmonic Orchestra performed one of its most memorable and, as Shardad Rohani expressed at the end of concert, magical performances ever. Subsequently, the concert was broadcast in the US on PBS. It proved to be one of PBS's most popular programs ever, and the resulting album sales brought Yanni's biggest commercial success to date.
While not fluent in standard music notation, he has perfect pitch and composes his pieces in a shorthand form of his own devising.
Yanni also toured in 2003 with the debut of the Ethnicity album. He kicked off his tour in Las Vegas, Nevada. Currently Yanni is working on the DVD of the Ethnicity Tour which he will be releasing in 2006.
Yanni dated Linda Evans from 1989 until 1998.
On March 2, 2006, Yanni was arrested and faced a domestic battery charge after a dispute with his girlfriend, Silvia Barthes (33), in his Manalapan Florida beachfront home. Yanni's manager, Danny O'Donovan, refuted the charges, saying "These allegations are cruel, false, without merit and baseless." The charge was dropped.
Two of Yanni's pieces (both unreleased) are used for sports telecasts. CBS Sports uses Yanni's "Fanfare" for its coverage of non-major PGA TOUR events and the LPGA Championship. NBC Sports uses Yanni's "In Celebration of Man" for its coverage of all championships sanctioned by the United States Golf Association. Another piece, "Once Upon A Time," has been used by Hong Kong's TVB for its world weather forecast since the early 1990s. In addition to sports telecasts, part of Yanni's "Acroyali / Standing in Motion" used to be played during the pregame lightshows of the New Jersey Devils, the National Hockey League team from New Jersey.