Thursday, July 21, 2016


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts presented the incomparable Yanni July 19 and 20 at the Academy of Music. Yanni and his 11 member orchestra have toured the world over. This has not been his first visit to Philadelphia and he promised it wouldn’t be his last. If you didn’t attend his performance this tour, be sure to mark your calendars next time you hear that he is coming back to town. This is one show that no one should miss. His orchestra consists of two members on cellos, three on violins, a percussionist, a drummer, a keyboard player, a member on a trumpet, a member on a trombone, one on an electric guitar, and Yanni, who plays piano and multiple keyboards on adjoining stands (perhaps they are different octaves) while conducting the orchestra and soloists.  This a group of world class musicians presenting a world class show.  Most of the show is very high energy. While playing the multiple keyboards, Yanni was standing and sometimes jumping up and down. Not only was the music marvelous to hear; he was fascinating to watch. He sometimes played with two hands; sometimes played with one while conducting with the other. Other times he conducted with his fingers or with his head. Projections appeared on a screen behind the orchestra or on the beautiful ceiling of the Academy of Music. Strobe lights played an integral part of the show as different lighting with a variety of color and patterns accompanied diverse pieces. During a beautiful duet between Yanni and one of the violinists, Yanni amazingly conducted the violinist while he was playing the piano. Nearly every musician in the orchestra had a chance to shine with a solo. A very fast-paced piece that began and ended as a duet with Yanni and the drummer had the drummer with a several-minute long solo in the middle which earned him a standing ovation. Yanni brought the entire audience to its feet to dance along with his two singers, Lisa and Laurie. By making a face and miming sitting in a chair, he shamed anyone remaining in his seat to stand up and dance and the Academy was  shaking. Two and one half hours after the show had begun, with the audience clamoring for more, Yanni came back on stage for an encore set to brilliant special lighting effects.  It was an evening that will remain in the memories of the entire audience for days and months to come.

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