Yanni’s “Live at the Acropolis” debuted 25 years ago this month, in March 1994. The Greek-born composer’s concert aired consistently on Television, and the album version sold four million copies. He immediately became a preferred punching bag of comedians baffled by his unlikely superstardom.
But as epic as “Live at the Acropolis” looked, Yanni wasn’t basically a star when he taped it. “Yanni was a niche player,” says George Veras, the concert’s producer and director. “He was becoming buttonholed as a New Age artist. And there was no superstar in that genre.”
Then Yanni struck upon an ingenious, but risky method to break himself into the mainstream: self-generate an highly-priced concert spectacular, then attempt to license it to PBS stations to air through their pledge drives.
Not only did Yanni’s program function superior than anyone could have imagined, it quickly became a model for other musicians. John Tesh, an additional New Age composer attempting to jump start out his music profession, took notice of the possible of pledge drives as a car to stardom. “You could see what what PBS was undertaking and that it was actually the Discovery Channel,” says Tesh. “The 3 Tenors and Yanni, proper? No one knew who these guys have been.”
John Tesh invested more than a million dollars of his personal revenue into his “Live at Red Rocks” particular — in spite of not possessing any assure it would air. But his bet paid off when PBS stations took a likelihood on it in the March 1995 pledge drive, and he also became an overnight musical sensation.
Audio from “Oprah” courtesy of Harpo, Inc.
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