Trans-Siberian Orchestra

1993-
Jon OlivaVocals1993 -
Paul O'NeillLyrics1993 -2017
Al PitrelliGuitar1993 -
Robert KinkelKeyboard1993 -
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra was originally formed as a side-project by Jon Oliva, lead singer of the '80s Heavy Metal band Savatage, and Rock producer Paul O'Neill. The new group - including Savatage guitarist Al Pitrelli and keyboardist/co-producer Robert Kinkel - shattered their old image after the 1996 re-release of "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24." The hit song was a unique blend of classic orchestral sound with a distinct Rock edge and came to represent TSO's creative style.
  • Aside from releasing a series of Rock Operas, including Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven's Last Night, The Lost Christmas Eve and Night Castle, the group continues to dazzle audiences every year with their elaborate holiday productions filled with lasers and light shows. Famous musical guests have also joined TSO on stage, including Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, America's Got Talent favorite Tim Hockenberry and ex-Yngwie Malmsteen singer Jeff Scott Soto.
  • Robert Kinkel went to Columbia University on a Physics Fellowship but eventually abandoned his scientific goals for musical ones when he connected with Record Plant, a major production studio based in New York. He told MIT's The Tech newspaper of his exciting start in the business: "I remember the first day I walked in and Cyndi Lauper was doing her debut album; Joan Jett was down the hall, J. Geils Band was doing 'Freeze-Frame' upstairs, and Tom Petty walked through. Within six months of being there I was out recording my favorite band, The Who."
  • Kinkel has found success as a composer for TV ad campaigns in the '80s. One of his most recognizable efforts was for Hefty trash bags. Remember the jingle "Hefty, Hefty, Hefty - Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy"?
  • Jon Oliva's brother Criss, who also co-founded Savatage and played guitar for the band, was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1993. In his Songfacts interview, Jon told us Criss was "a special talent" and "would have been known as one of the best guitar players in the world, which he still is."
  • In an interview with El Paso, Texas' Kiss FM, Al Pitrelli said Homeland Security once confiscated the band's generators - needed to support their tech-heavy show - to help power the city after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
  • Paul O'Neill has a keen interest in history. His library is full of over 50,000 books, including some of Winston Churchill's original letters.
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