February 21, 2024

Ukrainian-American maestro Vitalij Kuprij, a classically trained virtuoso who has played with progressive metal bands ARTENSION and RING OF FIRE and toured with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, has died at the age of 49. No cause of death has yet been revealed.

Kuprij's passing was confirmed by his longtime friend, Finnish guitarist, songwriter, and producer Lars Eric Mattsson, who wrote on his Facebook page: "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. We have recorded together several times, first time 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!"

Earlier today, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA released the following statement: "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. His absence will be profoundly felt by all.

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

Kuprij, born 1974 in Volodarka, Kiev, Ukraine, has international acclaim for his classical background and training while also transitioning seamlessly to neo-classical, progressive rock and metal.

A graduate of the Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia and a resident of Reading, Pennsylvania, Kuprij was an in-demand musician throughout the United States and abroad. He had performed in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. The recipient of many distinguished musical honors in several countries, he won the prestigious first prize as the youngest person to compete in the All-Union Chopin Competition held in the Soviet Union, the gold medal in the Kiev Conservatory Competition and the Mykola Lyssenko Competition in the Ukraine. He also received first prize in the Geneva Duo Competition for Violin and Piano as well as the gold medal in the Piano 80 and Swiss Youth Competition, the Chicago Piano Competition, the New York Piano Competition, and the Cleveland Piano Competition.

In 1999, he was selected as the soloist to perform composer Liszt's Piano Concerto #1 with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall. He later had his solo Carnegie Hall debut where he played two encores followed by performances at Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.

Although well-known for his classical training and technique, Kuprij's crossover ability into neo-classical and rock made him a famous name amongst his peers. He had numerous albums under the Marquee Avalon and Yamaha labels, hits on the Japanese charts, and has given master classes and workshops at colleges and universities across the country. He began touring with the TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA in 2009, after being discovered through Internet clips of his incredible keyboard work. The ORCHESTRA, although best known for its renditions of Christmas songs, is a touring progressive rock group which brought back the rock opera with its dazzling pyrotechnic light show.

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

Woke up to really sad news this morning as my dear friend and keyboard maestro Vitalij Kuprij has passed away last...

Posted by Lars Eric Mattsson on Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Completely devasted to learn of Vitalij Kuprij's passing today. He was not only an accomplished musician / keyboard...

Posted by Jason Buckley on Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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