Vitalij Kuprij

Vitalij Kuprij, born July 7, 1974 in Volodarka, Kiev, Ukraine, is a Ukrainian-American pianistcomposer, music teacher, and keyboardist for his own solo-work, but as well for the bands, the Neo-classical Progressive metal band Artension, and Neoclassical Progressive Power metal band, Ring of Fire, And besides this he also plays keyboards for The Trans-Siberian Orchestra when they are on tour, and he also cooperated with the Vivaldi Metal Project.

This is the Yngwie Malmsteen on the piano/keyboard. He resides in Reading, Pennsylvania and sometimes at The Blue Falls Grove when he is not touring.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. He won the prestigious first prize as the youngest person to compete in the All Union Chopin Competition held in the Republic of Kazan, Soviet Union; the gold medal in the Kiev Conservatory Competition and the Poltawa, Ukraine Mykola Lyssenko Competition.

In addition, he 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.

(He appeared on Ukranian radio and TV performing concertos by both Beethoven and Chopin). By the age of 16, Vitalij Kuprij had left the Ukraine and in 1993, formed his first Prog metal band, Atlantis Rising, with guitarist Roger Staffelbach. After Vitalij relocated to the U.S. in 1995, the band later mutated into Artension, signing to Mike Varney's Shrapnel label.

Alongside his work with Artension, Vitalij Kuprij began to issue his own solo albums on Shrapnel as well. In addition, Vitalij Kuprij has performed with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, and, in 2001, was penning material for a new outfit, Ring of Fire, a collaboration with former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals, This supergroup also included guitarist Tony MacAlpinePlanet X drummer Virgil Donati, grammy-award winning bassist Philip Bynoe.

Early life

Vitalij began piano studies at Kiev's Mykola Lysenko Music Academy where he studied with Professor Nina Najditsch.

After graduation, he went to Switzerland to study with Vienna's Rudolf Buchbinder at the Basel Conservatory in Switzerland.

In 1995, Vitalij Kuprij was sent to the United States upon recommendation by Sir James Galway to study with pianist Gary Graffman, President and Director of Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

From Curtis, while on full scholarship, he obtained another degree and graduated in 2000.


James Galway chose him as his accompanist for the International Flute Seminar Master Classes held in Switzerland and for work on an international tour. James Galway and Vitalij were on National Public Radio in the United States when James played a world-premier of one of his original compositions written for piano and flute. Soon thereafter, Vitalij was featured on WRTI for an hour broadcast from Philadelphia titled "Crossover with Jill Pasternak".

On March 7, 1999, Vitalij was selected as the soloist to perform the "Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1" with the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, followed by performances at the Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.

After performing his Carnegie Hall solo debut, Vitalij Kuprij was featured in a two-page spread in the New York Times written by arts and entertainment writer Dan Wakin. During the summer of 2007, Vitalij appeared at Mexico's "Music Fest" in Mexico City.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

In 2009 he joined the Progressive rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a pianist/keyboard player and has been hired back for each subsequent tour ever since.

He has toured extensively with TSO in North America and Europe. Vitalij also appears on TSO's first EP, Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night), released in 2012.

His antics and stellar musicianship have made him a fan of performing live on stage.

He was also featured as additional keyboardist of Savatage during its 2015 Wacken Open Air reunion show.


When he is not touring, Vitalij works on writing and composing his own piano concerto.

He plans to dedicate his concerto to the memory of his late father and mentor who was a professor of trombone and music theory in a conservatory in Ukraine.

2016 Interview with Vitalij KuprijBiography: Vitalij Kuprij. @ AllMusic.

Vitalij dead at 49

Vitalij died on Tuesday (Feb. 20, 2024) at 49, according to his friend and musical colleague Lars Eric Mattsson, a Finnish guitarist and producer. Vitalij performed with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on their latest seasonal tour throughout November and December 2023. And before rejoining the symphonic heavy metal band in 2021, he was also included in their lineup from 2009 to 2019.

Indeed, the keyboardist was part of the group for 17 winter tours in total, where Trans-Siberian Orchestra are known for their holiday-driven stage show based on their several Christmas albums. "Woke up to really sad news this morning as my dear friend and keyboard maestro Vitalij Kuprij has passed away last night," Mattsson said. "The Ukranian born virtuoso was living in Philadelphia and recently came off another hugely successful tour with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra."

Read More:Trans-Siberian Orchestra Keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij Dead at 49

On February 20, 2024, Vitalij Kuprij died due to a cardiac arrest at 49 years old.

Source: Loudwire

Solo albums

High Definition (1997)

Extreme Measures (1998)

VK3 (1999)

Works of Liszt and Chopin (2001)

Promised Land (2003) with Javier Leal, Marco Ferrigno

Forward and Beyond (2004)

The Modern European Tradition (2005)

Revenge (2005)

Glacial Inferno (2007)

12 Months of the Year (2008)

A Long Time Coming  (2010) with Gary Ginsberg

Journeys (2017) with Gary Ginsberg

Bridges (2019) with Gary Ginsberg

Progression (2020)

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) (2012)

Letters From the Labyrinth (2015)

Ring of Fire

The Oracle (2001)

Burning Live in Tokyo (2002)

Dreamtower (2003)

Battle of Leningrad (2014)

Gravity (2022)


Into the Eye of the Storm (1996)

Phoenix Rising (1997)

Forces of Nature (1999)

Machine (2000)

Sacred Pathways (2001)

New Discovery (2002)

Future World (2004)

Source: Wikipedia, Wegow and AllMusic

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