Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Vitalij Kuprij Has Died

Longtime Trans-Siberian Orchestra keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij has died. The Ukrainian-American pianist and keyboardist, who also played with progressive metal bands Artension and Ring of Fire, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 20, his longtime friend, Finnish guitarist, songwriter, and producer Lars Eric Mattsson, confirmed. Kuprij was 49. A cause of death was not disclosed.

"Woke up to really sad news this morning as my dear friend and keyboard maestro Vitalij Kuprij has passed away last night," Mattsson wrote, noting that Kuprij 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." Mattsson added that he and Kuprij "recorded together several times," first 20 years ago for the debut album Book of Reflections and again for Mattsson's latest concept album War. He added, "you will be deeply missed my friend!"

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend and bandmate, Vitalij Kuprij. He was a world-renowned...

Posted by Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Born in Volodarka, Ukraine in 1974, according to AllMusic, Kuprij's interest in music began early on. He won first prize in the All-Union Chopin competition in the Republic of Kazan in the former Soviet Union, as well as the top honors at the Geneva Duo competition for violin and piano as a youth. He went on to form his first progressive metal band, Atlantis Rising, in 1993. After relocating to the U.S. in 1995, the band transformed into Artension, which released a series of albums on the Shrapnel label. Kuprij also worked with the groups including the Mark Boals-fronted Ring of Fire and the Vivaldi Metal Project. And performed in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.

Throughout his career, Kuprij also toured with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, first from 2009-2019 and again beginning in 2021. He most recently performed with the orchestral rock band on their Nov.-Dec. 2023 tour.

"We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend and bandmate, Vitalij Kuprij," the TSO wrote in a Facebook post. "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. Beyond his musical prowess, Vitalij was an accomplished chess player, an avid fisherman, and simply a fun-loving soul. His absence will be profoundly felt by all."