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Vitalij Kuprij Dead, Trans Siberian Keyboardist Dies at 49


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Longtime Trans-Siberian Orchestra keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij died on Tuesday at age 49. The pianist’s death was confirmed by the orchestral rock band on their socials, in which they paid tribute to the Ukrainian-born musician who spent more than a decade touring with the group whose over-the-top holiday shows have become an annual Boxscore Report-topping staple of the Christmas season.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend and bandmate, Vitalij Kuprij,” read the TSO’s statement. “He was a world-renowned classical pianist and composer. In 2010, Vitalij joined TSO for the inaugural ‘Beethoven’s Last Night’ tour and seamlessly became an integral part of the band. His flawless and energetic performances consistently captivated audiences, and many of you came to know and love him as much as we did.”

The post noted that in addition to his prowess as a musician, Kuprij was an “accomplished chess player, an avid fisherman, and simply a fun-loving soul. His absence will be profoundly felt by all.” Kuprij was part of TSO from 2009-2019 and rejoined the group in 2021, most recently performing on their Nov.-Dec. 2023 tour.

His friend, Finnish guitarist/producer Lars Eric Mattsson also paid homage to Kuprij, writing, “Woke up to really sad news this morning as my dear friend and keyboard maestro Vitalij Kuprij has passed away last night. The Ukranian born virtuoso was living in Philadelphia and recently came off another hugely successful tour with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I have known and worked with Vitalij for over 20 years and he always talked about seeing me here in Finland to go fishing, which was his second love after music.”

At press time no additional information was available on the details or cause of Kuprij’s death. According to AllMusic, Kuprij was born in 1974 in Volodarka, Ukraine, and early on showed great promise on the piano, winning first prize in the All-Union Chopin competition in the Republic of Kazan in the former Soviet Union and the top honors at the Geneva Duo competition for violin and piano as a youth.

He formed his first progressive metal band in 1993, Atlantis Rising, relocating to the U.S. in 1995, where the band was refashioned into Artension, which released a series of albums on the Shrapnel label. Kuprij released a number of solo albums and also worked with the groups Ring of Fire and the Vivaldi Metal Project.

Progressive rock band TSO was founded in 1996 by producer/songwriter Paul O’Neill and has been barnstorming arenas from coast-to-coast for more than 25 years with over-the-top productions mixing rock opera theatrics with explosive light shows. Some of their most beloved productions include “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” “The Christmas Attic” and “Beethoven’s Last Night.”

See the tributes below.

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Written by: radioroxi

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