Special new interview in 2014 with international concert and recording music celebrity Yanni.
Multi-Platinum selling recording and international concert artist Yanni is a legendary artist known worldwide for bringing professional live music and unifying message to all parts of the world. For over 30 years, Yanni has made his presence known as a leading international concert artist with around one billion admirers of all nationalities.
Famous for his concert venues in settings of historical significance, Yanni and his elite orchestra have begun their Worldwide Concert Tour in 2014. During the 2014 concert season an extensive worldwide tour will include venues covering over 20 countries, including Chile, Argentine, Brazil, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Russia. Also scheduled later this year are concert venues in the U.S. and Canada, with more dates to be added as the year progresses.
Topics covered in this interview are related to Yanni’s newest album Inspirato, a collective project which has taken 20 years to compose and four years to complete. Soon to be released, Inspirato is unlike any other album ever produced. Yanni details the 2014 concert season, with an emphasis on the extraordinary musicians and vocalists in his orchestra. His close relationship with fans of all nationalities and the importance of official Street Team members and Fan Clubs are covered, along with news and his plans for the future.
Exclusive New Interview with Yanni:
John P. Olsen: Let me begin by thanking you for your time Yanni. It is widely known your yearly concert schedule, with consistently sold out concert venues is demanding to say the least. It’s an honor to present to fans your most current, up-to-date interview, taking place during your Worldwide Concert Tour in 2014 and upcoming new release Inspirato.
I am confident many people who have attended one of your earlier concerts, are now anticipating their next opportunity to watch you perform live during the 2014 concert season. For some people this year will be their first chance to attend a live Yanni concert. For the benefit of every concertgoer; can you tell us about any changes you have planned this year, and what attendees will experience during a live concert event in 2014?
Yanni: We have listened to what the fans have been requesting and asking us to put into the concert though the social media in the internet. I have introduced some songs that have been not performed for many years into this current tour.
There is music from the very beginning of my career right up my most recent studio album. We have just started this recent tour in South America and the audience reaction was fantastic.
John: Clearly, the extraordinary vocalists and instrumentalists in your orchestra are an integral part of the total Yanni concert experience. Would you like to tell us about the artists performing with you during the 2014 concert season?
Yanni: I believe that our orchestra is made up of the best musicians in the world. Some of these musicians have been touring with us for decades and the most recent additions have already been with us for over 3 years.
Our musicians represent 11 different nationalities on the stage including England, Germany, Venezuela, Cuba, Paraguay, China, Canada, USA, Russia, Armenia and Greece. Some of the featured soloists fans will be familiar with are Samvel Yervinyan (Armenia) on violin, Charlie Adams (USA) on drums, Ming Freeman (China) on keyboards and Alexander Zhiroff on cello.
Here is a short biography for each orchestra member and vocalists touring with us in 2014 – 2015. (Shown Below)
John: The 2014 concert schedule posted at Yanni.com is already an ambitious number of concert appearances, with many more performances to be added later in the year. Given the fact each concert venue is special in its own way, what drives or motivates you and the orchestra to produce an exciting and memorable concert experience for an audience every time?
Yanni: Every single concert is different. Each one has a unique experience with the audience and in my career I have never experienced any two concerts that were the same. This coming year we will be touring in over 20 countries and we get a renewed enthusiasm from each new audience.
That is the magic of live performances, they are live and never the same. I still get “butterflies” or anxious before every single show. When we perform for an audience, we get so much love from the audience that makes all of us on the stage feel so motivated and rewarded for our effort and this love and relationship with the audience is what keeps us going with such enthusiasm.
John: For any person who has attended or watched one of your televised live concerts, it is apparent the caliber of artists and vocalists in your orchestra is unsurpassed.
Even to the untrained ear their performances are stunning! It is easy to tell that you select only the very best musicians and vocalists from around the world. Can you tell us a little bit about the selection process for artists in your orchestra?
Yanni: Our history has been that someone in the orchestra refers the new person to us. Each member knows the commitment that is required to be in this orchestra and they understand the chemistry, personality and the skill level that is required. Once we have people referred, they undergo a rigorous audition process and then we put them in with the rest of the orchestra. If the chemistry works and they are of the caliber of character needed, then they join and stay for many years. Thankfully, we don’t find ourselves looking for new people very often. Usually several years pass before we look for new members.
John: Recent albums Truth Of Touch & Yanni: Live At El Morro, Puerto Rico have proven to be an enormous success worldwide, having achieved 40 platinum and gold albums and Best Albums of the year at Billboard during your career. Needless to say your millions strong fan base would love for you to produce more releases. I understand the most aspiring project of your life is nearing release, isn’t that right?
Yanni: Yes, we have a new studio album titled “Inspirato” that is coming out in April of 2014. This album took 4 years to record and 20 years to compose the music that inspired it.
I have collaborated with Placido Domingo to have vocals recorded to some many of my instrumental songs with the greatest voices in the world including Placido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Vittorio Grigolo, Rolando Villazon, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Pretty Yende, Nathan Pacheco, Placido Domingo Jr., Lauren Jelenkovich and Chloe Lowery.
We also have a new television show that is being completed right now. It should also be ready for release in April 2014. The title is “World Without Borders.” It is a collection of performances and behind the scenes looks at our concert tour over the past 3 years and is taken from concerts from over 20 different countries.
John: In your autobiography entitled Yanni in Words, you talk about the creative process in which you compose music. Undoubtedly, music technology has changed greatly from the early years when you first began composing. Your studio albums Truth Of Touch & Inspirato were produced with today’s most innovative electronic equipment. To what degree has today’s advanced music equipment and technology influenced, or changed the thought process while composing, in comparison to the way you composed music years ago?
Yanni: For me the development of new technology to assist with the recording process has made it possible for me to express a much wider array of the creative aspect of music. I am able to record more efficiently and to adapt and alter the sounds to more closely replicate what is in my imagination.
I also have been able to experiment with new sound designs thought technology and many of these sounds were never previously available. For me as a composer this technology has allowed me to more completely express my creative thoughts.
John: In your 2003 autobiography, Yanni in Words, many topics about your life are revealed. Have you considered publishing an updated version of your autobiography at some point in your life?
Yanni: I think that the time will come in the near future for me to share the changes and new lessons learned over the past decade. In recent years I have been able to travel the world more extensively than ever before in my life and I have been able to conquer new challenges and perform and be educated by different people and cultures like never before.
John: Throughout your career, you have shared a close relationship with your fans. It seems you devote so much of your time and energy to please the millions of Yanni fans, which includes membership portals, special events and countless interviews, including our interview today. Why are fans so important to you Yanni?
Yanni: The relationship with my audience is very important because the fans give to me more than I could ever give to them. The love I receive from fans along with the knowledge that my music has affected so many people gives me the passion to continue my career. This interaction with the fans is why I have been able to work at my passion for over 30 years now and there is no end or sign of slowing down in sight. I am extremely grateful to all of my fans for this support and encouragement.
John: In addition to the official Yanni international website hosts and great staff members I met at Yanni-Wake Entertainment, you also have official groups like Fan Clubs, Street Teams, and organizations that provide an invaluable role by organizing pre-concert events and a variety of official Yanni activities.
Would you please tell us about the people in these vital organizations, their role, responsibilities, and who to contact if a person would like to join, and be a part of the Yanni team?
Yanni: I am very proud of our street team members and our fan clubs around the world. I believe we have 32 official Yanni fan clubs around the world. I can tell you that these people are incredibly important to what I do as a musician in that they help answer questions, share information and are the back bone of creating a global community centered on the music.
It is always an honor for me to travel around the world and meet these people personally. Anyone can join our family by registering at Yanni.com or join our team by emailing: TeamYanni(at)YanniWake.com.
John: It is no secret that you and the U.S. based Public Broadcast Service (PBS) share a wonderful connection together for decades. You are recognized as one of the top PBS fundraisers during the non-profit television network’s pledge drives and TV specials, but on the other hand, you and other artists can be thankful for PBS too. In what way has the television Public Broadcasting Service been a positive influence for artists in general and for you personally throughout your music career?
Yanni: PBS has been a wonderful partner for many artists in that PBS gives artists the opportunity to present their art in the manner that is true to them and shares it with a huge audience. Without PBS, many artists would have never had this opportunity and may never have realized professional careers. I am thankful for my long relationship with PBS, it has been a significant factor in helping to give me a professional career as a composer and musician.
John: You are an international music celebrity whose innovative achievements are many Yanni. You are perhaps most famous for your groundbreaking, international concert venues at the Acropolis in Greece, Forbidden City in China, Taj Mahal in India, The Kremlin in Russia, and other significant international concert venues. Of your numerous professional or personal successes, what would you say are the two most rewarding moments in your career to date?
Yanni: There are so many rewarding moments and for so many different reasons. Recently, I have been very proud of our ability to break into some new markets such as the Middle East in Oman, Bahrain, UAE and Qatar.
I also have been very moved by our recent success in South America, specifically Brazil where we have been able to perform several concerts and are continuing to grow our audience.
I also appreciate the very intimate and heartfelt experiences realized by meeting many people and coming in contact with many cultures such as helping with the flood victims in Thailand, the adoption of a Panda from the people of China, and my relationship with the International Space Station through NASA and the Russian space program.
John: Do you have any personal or professional endeavors you would like to achieve sometime in the future?
Yanni: At the moment I am very happy with our plans to continue touring around the world and meeting new people and learning from new cultures. I am sure that in some years from now, this will slow down and I will have other initiatives to explore but for the moment I am living in what is the best time of my life and I am very happy with that.
John: While preparing for our interview Yanni, I couldn’t help but think of what an amazing success story your life has been. Every day I am in contact with artists, many of which envision the attainment and level of success in their careers, similar to what you have achieved during your career. Knowing there will be a variety of debuting and seasoned artists reading our interview; can you offer any advice or guidance for musicians in general or artists in the early stages of their music career?
Yanni: I believe that as an artist and composer, you must stay true to your dreams and persist through the challenging times. I never had a master plan for how my career would work out. I would just focus on the task at hand and dedicate all of my energy and resources to what I was doing at that time.
I never thought about success or money, I only thought about my music and doing the very best I could in being a creative artist. I believe that by putting all of my energy and resources into my music, it led to me being able to have a career as a professional music artist.
John: It has been a privilege to present your most current interview in 2014 Yanni! On behalf of your millions of fans around the world and myself, thank you yet again for sharing a moment of your time. Until the day we visit again, is there anything you would like to express to your fans or official team members who have supported you over the years?
Yanni: It is because of all of the fans and our affiliates that I am able to continue with my career. It gives me great pride to be associated with all of you and I look forward to meeting with as many of you as possible as we continue to travel the world.
Warm Regards, Yanni
Visit the official Yanni.com homepage where you can find 2014 Concert Tour information. Read the full biographies for the elite team of Yanni Orchestra Members and visit their official websites. To purchase CD albums, DVDs, gift items and merchandise visit the Yanni Store. Find information for the Yanni Community, Street Team, Fan Club and International Affiliate Members at Yanni.com and read my Yanni Section. For current news visit social media sites Facebook and Twitter. Interview photos courtesy yanni-wake entertainment & whit padgett. Big stock photos courtesy sborisov & pius99.
Orchestra Member’s Biography Summary:
Yanni’s orchestra is a truly unique collection of musicians. Yanni has hand-picked each member of his orchestra and has been in search for the world’s top performers to bring you what you see today. He refers to them as the “United Nations” as they come from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences from all over the world. Yanni brings you on a musical journey that only this group of musicians can attempt. The talents from each member surpass the imaginable, and they are all brought to you on one stage under the guidance of a true modern day orchestrator.
1. Charlie Adams, Drummer, Illinois, USA
From the USA, Charlie has been with Yanni from the beginning performing on drums in rock bands when they were kids. Charlie’s energy, stage performance and stamina gets every audience on their feet all around the world.
2. Benedikt Brydern, Violin, Munich, Germany
From Germany, Benedikt has a background in jazz violin and brings his unique style to Yanni’s music. He has been touring with the Yanni orchestra for 4 years.
3. Jason Carder, Trumpet, Arizona, USA
From the USA, Jason has shared his talents as a professor of jazz trumpet at the University of Miami. He has toured with Yanni for 4 years and uses his flugelhorn to reach unimaginable notes.
4. Yoel Del Sol, Percussion, Cuba
From Cuba, Yoel has been Yanni’s leading percussionist for 4 years performing the congas like no other. He brings an energy and latin flair to stage.
5. Victor Espinola, Harp, Asuncion, Paraguay
From Paraguay, Victor is a unique performer who brings a dynamic injection of unique style to the harp. Victor has been with the Yanni orchestra for a decade.
6. Ming Freeman, Keyboards, Taiwan
From Taiwan, Ming has been with Yanni for almost two decades touring as the lead keyboardist. Ming’s solos feature his true talents and showcases just how fast and rhythmic he can be on the keyboards.
7. Lauren Jelencovich, Vocalist, Florida, USA
From the USA, Lauren is classically trained at the Manhattan School of Music and has a voice capable of effortlessly hitting notes that no other singer would attempt. Lauren has been with the tour for the past 2 years.
8. Lisa Lavie, Vocalist, Montreal, Canada
From Canada, Lisa’s powerful voice takes on some of Yanni’s most difficult compositions. As singer and songwriter, she brings energy and emotion to the stage. Lisa has been with the tour for the past 2 years.
9. James Mattos, French Horn, California, USA
From the USA, James has been performing on his French Horn for over 18 years with Yanni’s orchestra. He maintains the warm, rich undertones throughout the concert events.
10. Sarah O’Brien, Cello, Nottingham, England
From England, Sarah has toured all over the world with Yanni. Trained on cello in London’s Guildhall School of Music, she has been seen on the stage with Yanni at every major concert event.
11. Mary Simpson, Violin, Virginia, USA
From the USA of Chinese decent, Mary plays her “fiddle” bringing warmth and richness with a bluegrass edge – her style and her smile capture the hearts of every audience. Mary has been touring with Yanni for the past 2 years.
12. Dana Teboe, Trombone, Florida, USA
From the USA, Dana is a widely recognized trombone player who has impeccable tone, accuracy and energy. Dana has been performing with Yanni for 8 years.
13. Gabriel Vivas, Bass, Caracas, Venezuela
From Venezuela, Gabriel brings a new life to the bass performing runs and scales rarely seen. Gabriel has been with Yanni since 2008 and remains a top performer.
14. Samvel Yervinyan, Violin, Yerevan, Armenia
From Armenia, Samvel has been widely recognized as one of the world’s premier violinists and has been a star performer among Yanni’s orchestra for the past decade.
15. Alexander Zhiroff, Cello, Russia
From Russia, “Sacha” has been touring with Yanni for almost 17 years performing at all the major concert events around the world with his cello. Sacha performs with a unique style and incredible talent.