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In 1954, Yiannis Hrysomallis was born in Kalamata, Greece. A self-taught pianist, keyboardist, and composer, Yanni left Greece to attend the University of Minnesota when he was 18. Even though he had no formal music training, Yanni recorded his debut album, Optimystique, in 1984. However, his 1994 album, Yanni Live at the Acropolis, made Yanni famous. With a New Age instrumental music style similar to Enya, Yanni has performed at the Taj Majal in India, China's Forbidden City, and the Acropolis in Greece.
Yanni albums such as Dare to Dream, Reflections of Passion, and Voices feature contemporary instrumental music. In addition, the composer has released live albums such as Yanni Live at Royal Albert Hall and Yanni Live! The Concert Event. Until 2004, Karen Briggs, "The Lady in Red," played the violin on Yanni tours and music videos such as Yanni Live at the Acropolis.
Since his debut, Yanni has shared relationships with several women and even been arrested. For a few years, Yanni dated Linda Evans, an actress from Dynasty. In 2006, a fight with his girlfriend, Silvia Barthes, led to Yanni's arrest for alleged domestic abuse.