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Music 101: Yanni’s Renegade – Intense Duel Between The Violin & The Saxophone

Yanni Forbidden City Piano Concert Tribute

Yanni or his full name, Yiannis Chryssomallis is a Greek composer who now resides in the US and is famous for concerts in historical monuments. I first encountered his famous Tribute concert that took place at China’s Forbidden City and India’s Taj Mahal. It was one mind-blowing concert I have ever seen and it was shown on TV for Malaysia Day many years ago. Image source: Youtube/Yanni

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Yanni’s Renegade

This is one of the first compositions to be presented in Yanni’s “Tribute” Concerts and this Youtube video has more than 9 million views.

YouTube player


Tribute Album

Some background of the album:-

Tribute is the second live album and third concert film by Greek keyboardist and songwriter Yanni, released in November 1997 on Virgin Records. It was recorded at the Taj Mahal, India in March 1997 and the Forbidden City, China, in May 1997, both featuring Yanni performing with a seven-piece band, choir, and 27-piece orchestra.

Tribute went to No. 1 on the Billboard Top New Age Album chart and No. 21 on the Billboard 200. The concert film was released in December 1997. In March 1998, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling one million copies in the US. Yanni supported the album with the Tribute World Tour between January and July 1998, after which he put his career on a two-year hiatus.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Other than Renegade, there are several other compositions that became my favourite and a must-listen when it comes to Yanni’s music. The others are Deliverance, Tribute (a very classical feel to it) and Nightingale of which Nightingale will definitely need a whole post dedicated to it.

Yanni Karen Briggs Pedro Eustache Renegade Concert Violin

You can see from the performance that both intend to win the duel and yet they appreciate each other’s talents and simply have fun with the composition that seemed to be written just for them. Image source: Youtube/Yanni

The Duel

Although the whole orchestra especially the drum, the bongo, the guitar and Yanni in the centre on his piano contributes to this great composition, it basically ends up with the duel between Karen Briggs’ violin and Pedro Eustache’s saxophone and what an amazing duel it is!

Karen Briggs (born August 12, 1963), also known as the “Lady in Red”, is an American violinist. Born in Manhattan to a family of musicians, Briggs took up the violin at age 12 and committed to playing professionally at age 15. Briggs joined the Virginia Symphony Orchestra while still in college, but grew discontented with performing classical music and left the orchestra after four years. Since then, she has performed predominantly in the jazz and contemporary instrumental genres.

Best known for spending thirteen years on tour with contemporary instrumental musician Yanni, Briggs received the “Lady in Red” moniker while featuring as a soloist on Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis tour.

(Source: Wikipedia)


Pedro Eustache (born August 18, 1959) is a Venezuelan-born flautist, reed player, world woodwind player composer, and instrument maker. He has more than seven years of symphonic experience and a collection of around 600 instruments from all over the world, many of which having been designed, built and/or modified by himself.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The duel starts off rather slow between the two but after the second interlude, the pace picks up and it is nothing but the violin and saxophone and well supported by the drum & the bongo. Between the two, I have to say that Pedro Eustache wins the duel as it is not easy to replicate the rhythm and the fast pace of a violin on a saxophone and yet Pedro does it with ease. Just look at his fingers moving so fast responding to Karen’s stroking of her violin.

Final Say

There are other renditions of the Renegade in Yanni’s other concerts but the duel is done by other musicians and not Karen & Pedro and it shows the bad quality of the output. It only shows that Yanni composed Renegade with Karen and Pedro specifically in mind.

This will be remembered as a great duel between 2 great musicians and each with different instruments.

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