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October 1, 2011

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Yanni plans a surprise for Shanghai

MUSICIAN Yiannis Hrysomallis, internationally known as Yanni, has performed around the world and his music often is inspired by stories from various cultures.

His song "Nightingale," considered one of his masterpieces, is based on a Chinese legend in which a kind emperor turns into a nightingale crowing for his failed love and empire.

The Greek native will perform the song in Shanghai on October 4, about 14 years after he delighted Chinese fans at the Palace Museum in Beijing.

In the original version, Yanni used a Chinese flute to imitate the nightingale's voice.

The composer says he is planning something different for "Nightingale" at the Shanghai concert.

"I don't like to give away surprises, but I think we have something we are working on that will be very special just for China," says Yanni, who received Grammy nominations in 1992 for his album "Dare to Dream" and the 1993 album "In My Time."

His music has also been heard on Olympic television broadcasts around the world since 1988.

New Age musician

Yanni is generally considered a New Age musician although he likes the term "contemporary instrumental" and is known for being an innovator.

He credits this willingness to experiment due to a lack of a proper music education.

"Learning piano without formal lessons was great for me," says the self-taught musician, who started playing the instrument when he was 8 years old. "Without rigid rules, it allowed my mind to develop how I played without any limitations. I didn't realize what I was not supposed to do, and it left me with a very unrestricted relationship with music."

As a university graduate in psychology, Yanni says he had to make a choice early in life. "I gave myself a year in music to see how it went," he says. "If it didn't work out, then I would return to psychology. It's been a very long year!"

Yanni often combines elements of electric music with contemporary classical and has influenced other musicians such as Enya and Secret Garden. In China, Yanni is known as one of the earliest Western musicians to perform in the country. He says he is excited about his return.

The upcoming Shanghai concert will feature the best equipment to ensure the best sound, says Yanni, who is always interested in including new technologies in his performances.

Aside from "Nightingale," Yanni is rather tight-lipped about the other tunes he will perform.

All he says is that there will certainly be some music from his latest album, "Truth of Touch," which was released in February.

He also hints that "Santorini" might be on the set list since he has never done a concert without performing the song.

Date: October 4, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Stage, 1111 Caoxi Rd N.

Tickets: 280-1,680 yuan

Tel: 962-388, 5186-3979


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