About Dan Yessian
Dan Yessian is an award-winning American composer, producer, musician, and founder of Yessian Music Inc., an internationally-renowned music, production and sound design company that serves the motion picture, television, and advertising industries around the globe. The music enthusiast turned entrepreneur launched his company in 1971 inside a converted 200 square foot bait and tackle shop and today, Yessian Music has become one of the most respected, sought-after and innovative commercial music companies in the United States and abroad, with offices and studios in metro Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Hamburg, Germany.
Yessian became interested in classical music while in elementary school, and the Detroit born and bred youngster of Armenian descent began playing the clarinet at seven years old, soon adding the saxophone to his repertoire. Yessian’s family purchased a used piano when he was 16 and he began composing original music by ear. Yessian was a sideman in various bands during his mid-teens, forming and leading his own jazz group known as The Dan Yessian Quintet when he was 19 years old.
Because Yessian was not a great sight reader, he abandoned his passion for music during his academic years. After graduating from Cody High School in 1962 he enrolled at Wayne State University in Detroit, and graduated with degrees in Speech and English. He became a teacher at Detroit’s Redford High School and taught there from 1967 to 1971.
But Yessian could not quell his underlying thirst to compose music and, to his parent’s dismay, he left the teaching profession and opened an office adjacent to a music studio in Farmington, Michigan. During the early years of his new career, Yessian composed music for such popular children’s television shows as Sesame Street, The Electric Company and Hot Fudge. He also created thousands of commercial jingles for Detroit’s auto industry as well as for many Fortune 500 companies.
Yessian’s two sons, Brian and Michael, joined their father’s business as partners in the mid-1990s with Brian serving as the company’s creative director and Michael as head of production. Together, they have helped steer the company toward even greater success, grown its client base and introduced new business sectors and revenue streams that their father never would have imagined or envisioned when he started his business. One of those ventures is called Dragon Licks, a company that researches and negotiates music publishing rights.
Today, Yessian Music has over 30 employees, works with more than 100 freelance artists around the globe and composes and produces original music for such iconic brands as United Airlines, Coke, Disney, Ford, and McDonald’s as well as for theme parks worldwide, including China, Japan, Abu Dhabi, Canada and the United States. The company has also created music for network television shows such as Sunday Night Football, The Blacklist, and Revolution, as well as theme music to brand NBC Television and ESPN’s College Football.
Yessian Music’s projects have earned them numerous Emmy Awards, Clio Awards, Telly Awards and the prestigious Mobius Award. One of the company’s most recent notable projects is the creation of original music for the new One World Trade Center in New York City, an environmental sonic experience for guests at this American landmark.
In 2005, after purchasing a Steinway Grand piano owned by Burt Bacharach, one of his personal musical heroes, Yessian was inspired to continue writing pop and classical music. In 2014, he formed a record label called Late To The Plate, and began composing and producing music for upcoming singer/songwriter, Cassaundra Fitch. His most recent classical contribution, “An Armenian Trilogy” was written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
Yessian resides in Milford, Michigan with his wife, Kathy, whom he married in 1973. In addition to their two sons, they have five beautiful grandchildren.