Yanni's latest effort was years in the making

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Yanni returns to Pittsburgh on Aug. 16 as part of his World Tour 2014, which will take him to more than 20 countries.

Yanni was born in Greece and is self-taught, musically. In 1972, he moved to the United States, and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Minnesota.

But his love of music was not to be denied. He developed his own new-age blend of musical styles, which has resulted in more than 25 million albums sold and 40 platinum albums worldwide. An avid performer, his concert Live at the Acropolis, in Greece, in September 1993 was an immense success.

He responded by email to questions from Trib Total Media:

Question: It's been reported you've said your latest album, “Inspirato” took more than 30 years because the creative inspiration stems from all your past loves. Would you please explain, with some examples?

Answer: The album is based on many of what I feel are perhaps the best melodies that I have composed over my entire career. The inspiration for the original versions of these songs has been based on the loves of my life. The love of my home in Greece, as is found in “Ode Alla Grecia.” ... The love between a man and a woman as found on the song “Nello Specchio.”

The actual making of this album took us four years to complete. Using the greatest voices available was a challenging task, as they have incredibly busy schedules. We had to find time that would work in each guest-artist schedule and then find a place to record. This album was recorded all over the world including Los Angeles, New York, London, Rome, Berlin, Milan and Florida.

Q: Prior to your 2009 tour, you said in an interview that its repertoire would include up-tempo music, which would provide variety. Will this be true in your new tour?

A: The energy of this new show has been incredible. I can tell you that we have toured around the world in over 20 countries including Brazil, Russia, Germany, Middle East, Africa, Czech Republic, England, etc., with this tour, and in every single concert, people have been out of their seats dancing, clapping and singing for a good part of it. We have added new songs and re-arranged some of the most popular songs for the new live performance. I am very excited to finally be back in the USA with this new tour.

Q: What music by other people do you love and why?

A: From an early age, I listened to a lot of the music by the classical composers such as Beethoven and Bach. Even as early as 5 years old, I loved more classical and piano-based music. As I grew older, I became exposed to a lot of Middle Eastern music as well as Asian and even U.K. rock. One of my favorite rock bands is Led Zeppelin.

Q: How do you think of your audience? Are they kindred spirits? Is your music's appeal universal, making your audience those people with the self-awareness to respond?

A: I love the experience and the connection with an audience that comes from performing live. It is an amazing experience that every single audience is different and that each concert has its own unique relationship between the audience and myself. Throughout the world, I am constantly reminded about how similar we all are everywhere in the world. I have seen this hold true over the past 30 years as I have performed in dozens of countries and find that, in a general sense, every audience has a similar reaction to the music we perform.

Q: What is the makeup of the ensemble that will be touring with you?

A: We have been nicknamed the United Nations of orchestras. Without any pre-conceived idea to accomplish this, we have managed to attract some of the world's best musicians from 11 different nations. Our orchestra and vocalists hail from England, China, Germany, Canada, Venezuela, Armenia, Russia, Cuba, Greece, Paraguay and USA. We travel with 16 musicians, including two wonderful vocalists.

Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkanny@tribweb.com.

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