After teaching himself how to play the piano, Greece-born musician Yanni started giving recitals and performances to family members and friends as a child. His interest in grandiosely constructed instrumental music was apparent at a young age, although after moving to the United States to study at the University of Minnesota, Yanni started to create more rock-centric songs with a band he was in at the time called Chameleon. The group achieved moderate success in the Midwest region, but after graduating with a B.A. in psychology, Yanni decided to move to Los Angeles to start a career in film soundtrack work. While he didn't find much work scoring movies, Yanni did compose a good deal of modern classical work and he released his debut LP, Optimystique, in 1984. Comprised of easy listening, adult contemporary material, Yanni's first album failed to establish the Greek musician as a formidable music talent, but as he continued to release interesting material, his fame began to grow. After playing the historic Acropolis Theater in Greece with a full orchestra and releasing the recording in 1994, Yanni became a seminal fixture of the new age and contemporary instrumental music scene--especially due to the fact that the American Public Broadcasting System used the televised recording for a three-year-long fundraising campaign.
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