Yakov Yavno, also known as YaYa, is one of the most preeminent performers to immigrate to the United States from the former Soviet Union.
He was raised and came of age surrounded by the intertwining of a variety of cultures and peoples that have shaped and developed whom he is as a human being and as a performing artist. Within this melding of cultures, he often faced a difficult daily reality, witnessing firsthand the struggle between the ancient and modern, opposing religious factions and cultures, and in particular, the unique journey of the Jewish people of Russia.
Following studies at the Gnesin's Academy of Music in Moscow, Yavno became the leading star of the Jewish Musical Chamber Theater of Moscow. In 1987 the Russian government awarded him the coveted title of “Artist of Special Merit”.
His captivating performances are filled with a sense of purpose; a vision, as is evident with numerous sold-out concerts throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. His festive staged showcase "The Road Home" incorporates an orchestra with choirs and contemporary dancers as well as cameos by well-known local guest-stars from the countries in which he performs. It was filmed as part of a documentary by the same name. Yavno’s solo show, “Revelations”, intersperses a musical program with tales of the artist’s journey from Russia to America; it features international combos integrating storytelling and philosophical discussions. His memorable solo performance, “Songs of Our Soul”, premiered at New York’s Kauffman Concert Hall in 2007.
Yavno has performed in many prominent venues. In the United States: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher and Alice Tulley Hall. He co-starred with Joel Grey at the Santa Monica Auditorium in Los Angeles. Abroad, his voice has graced the Bolshoi Theatre, internationally acclaimed Concert Hall Rossiya, Moscow Chekhov Theatre, National Opera House of Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Convention Center and other equally prestigious concert stages. He has appeared in assorted theatrical works with Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Reeve, and Raul Julia. He has also hosted the television program "New York's Art Club" and the weekly radio show "Wandering Stars." Additionally, he has recorded four albums: “Songs of Our Soul,” "Let's Get Together," "Shadows of Forgotten Voices" and "Bridge Over Time.”
YaYa incorporates folk, pop and classical music into contemporary arrangements, which create mesmerizing eclectic performances. “These are,” he declares, “reflections of life; despite diversity and individuality the world is one; different cultural insights, symbols and experiences blend together and create a harmonious whole, which is the beauty of humankind. We are all citizens of the world.”