Thursday, 22 February 2024 08:24

Vitalij Kuprij – a Piano Master, Trans-Siberian Orchestra Keyboardist. In Memoriam.

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Philadelphia, PA. February 20, 2024. Vitalij Kuprij, a virtuoso keyboardist for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, 2Cellos, Artension, and Ring Of Fire, a world-renowned classical pianist and composer, has passed away, leaving behind a legacy that will forever resonate in the hearts of countless music lovers worldwide. He was just 49 years old...

His talent and passion for music transcended borders, captivating audiences, and inspiring fellow musicians. As we mourn his loss, we celebrate his remarkable impact on the world of rock and classical music and the enduring beauty of his compositions.


A special statement released by TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA:

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend and bandmate, Vitalij Kuprij.


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. All will profoundly feel his absence.


Rest in peace, Vitalij. You will be deeply missed.”

Vitalij was a wonderfully talented musician, a grand piano MASTER, a genius composer, a fireball performer, a humble and soulful human being, who was always radiating an unconditional and genuine kindness.

Watch TSO West pianists Jane Mangini and Vitalij Kuprij tearing up the keys in their piano duel, followed by Wish Liszt. November 27, 2011 - Rose Garden Arena in Portland, OR:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Piano Duel/Wish Liszt

Vitalij’s close friend, producer and guitarist Lars Eric Mattsson, wrote in a Facebook post:

“I woke up to really sad news this morning as my dear friend and keyboard maestro Vitalij Kuprij 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. We have recorded together several times; the first was for the debut album of Book of Reflections 20 years ago, and then later for my Mattsson concept album War. My record label, Lion Music Record Label, has released a lot of his music, including three solo albums, his band Artension, and more. You will be deeply missed, my friend!”


ABOUT Vitalij Kuprij

Born on July 4, 1974 in Kyiv, Ukraine, Kuprij distinguished himself as a musician, gaining acclaim for his exceptional piano skill and adaptability across various musical genres, particularly classical and progressive, which seamlessly merged with the symphonic metal style of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

As a true child prodigy, Vitalij won the first prize in the All-Union Chopin Competition held in the Republic of Kazan, Soviet Union, and later he received the top honor at the Geneva Duo Competition for Violin and Piano, which consequently sparked his career as professional concert pianist, performing large classical compositions such as concertos by Chopin and Beethoven.

When Vitalij was just 16 years old, he left Soviet Union to continue his music studies in Switzerland at the Basel Conservatory under Vienna's Rudolf Buchbinder, and in 1995, Vitalij was recommended by Sir James Galway to pursue further studies in the United States, where he studied under pianist Gary Graffman, President and Director of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he earned another degree on a full scholarship, graduating in 2000. 

Besides his love for classical music, Vitalij was a huge Yngwie Malmsteen fan and in 1993 he met another Malmsteen follower guitarist Roger Staffelbach to form his first prog metal band, Atlantis Rising, which later evolved into neoclassical metal band Artension. Later in his career, Kuprij collaborated with several other prominent bands and musical endeavors. In the late 1990s, he notably contributed his keyboard prowess to Ring of Fire - a collaboration with former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals, 2Cellos, and the Vivaldi Metal Project. 

As a pianist and composer, Vitalij released a number of notable singles and albums, such as his debut 1997 album High Definition, via Shrapnel Records, 2020 Sinfonietta single and a 2007 double CD Glacial Inferno & Revenge via Lion Music, and in 2020 epic Neo-Classical metal album Progression, via Japanese label Avalon.

Vitalij Kuprij - Progression, Avalon, 2020

Vitalij Kuprij's memory will live on through his music, a testament to his extraordinary talent and enduring spirit.

We at Suley Era express our heartfelt condolences to Vitalij Kuprij's family, friends, bandmates, and everyone who knew Vitalij personally and worked with him side by side during his creative journey.


Vitalij Kuprij
07.04.1974 - 02.20.2024



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