Nine Things You Didn’t Know About Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The powerful music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra seems to resonate most during the colder months. Perhaps it’s because the band’s name conjures images of barren snow blankets extending through Russia, as one looks outside from the warm embrace of a railway car. Or maybe it’s the mere feelings holidays can provide rich orchestral music, enhanced by the abundance of jovial festiveness inherent in most. The group’s assortments of songs, many involving the holidays, never cease to satisfy. As for the band itself, these facts should shed light on one of the world’s most famous touring acts:
They are named after the Trans-Siberian Railway
As the longest railway in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway extends from Moscow to the Sea of Japan, with branch lines to China and continuing to North Korea. The orchestra was fond of the railway’s purpose, which aids in spreading the goods and customs of cultures. Music fans in the area have likely had their musical palettes expanded because of the railway, either due to the new people or shipments of goods that arrive on the trains. Trans-Siberian Orchestra has a similar aim: to promote awareness of quality international music.
Founding member Paul O’Neill was a big-time music agent, promoter, and producer
No relation to the former New York Yankees outfielder, Paul O’Neill is generally considered to be the leader of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. His boatload of experience in the music industry, serving every role from producer to promoter, makes the role seem natural. O’Neill worked with bands like Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Joan Jett, with his involvement in some of the ‘80s biggest names providing great experience. He also chose the name for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, as described in an interview: “If anyone has ever seen Siberia, it is incredibly beautiful but incredibly harsh and unforgiving as well. The one thing that everyone who lives there has in common that runs across it in relative safety is the Trans-Siberian Railway. Life, too, can be incredibly beautiful but also incredibly harsh and unforgiving, and the one thing that we all have in common that runs across it in relative safety is music.”
Their shows are a big-budget, glitzy affair
Fans that have already seen the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are aware of why there’s such a fuss about their live shows. Sure, the ticket prices are at the higher end, but unlike many artificial pop phenomenon with similarly priced concerts, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra make it a show to remember. Forget lip-syncing and cheap lasers. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra routinely bust out pyrotechnics and mesmerizing light effects, as their band – often consisting of over 32 classically trained musicians – lets loose. Those wishing to attend, but are turned off by lofty ticket prices, should consider this. They’re a band whose stage presence and effects justifies the cost.
They’re big philanthropists, and dedicated to many causes
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has donated plenty of money and time to efforts that make sure those in need are cared for. They have donated over $10 million to local and national charities. One of their most impactful associations is with Little Kids Rock, a national non-profit music program providing free instruments and instruction to underfunded school districts. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra teamed up with the Hot Topic Foundation to make the program’s efforts in certain cities possible. Maybe one of the kids involved in the program will be playing on stage with the orchestra in the future!
They love rock operas
As somewhat expected from a band whose live performances show such grandiose ambition, the band’s core four (O’Neill, Jon Oliva, Robert Kinkel, and Al Pitrelli) are fond of rock operas. O’Neill is often at the helm of writing these, like this year’s “The Lost Christmas Eve” opera — which will be performed in December. The plot involves the inhabitants of a hotel, an old toy store, a blues bar, and a Gothic cathedral, and how they become intertwined during Christmas Eve in New York City.
They also love Beethoven, and wrote an opera about him
The band’s previous rock opera was entitled “Beethoven’s Last Night”, with music inspired by the classical genius. In their play, Beethoven is confronted by the devil, who eagerly wants to trade Beethoven’s soul for his music, which would be wiped from the world’s memory. Some of the most prominent Beethoven classics were performed, like “Moonlight Sonata” and various symphonies. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra also broke out a few concert tracks after the show, which brought audiences to a rousing standing ovation.
They love the holidays
The band has plenty of holiday-themed efforts, mostly included on their Christmas trilogy and four Christmas-themed rock operas: Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven’s Last Night, and The Lost Christmas Eve. It is a tradition in many cities to host the band during their illustrious holiday tours. Their passion for the holidays is a big reason why.
Their one-of-a-kind sound makes them one of the world’s best touring acts
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra mix their orchestral beauty with pounding metal guitar riffs, providing an invigorating contemporary edge that has made the Trans-Siberian Orchestra one of the most popular touring acts around. In fact, Billboard called them one of the “top 25 touring artists of the past decade”.
Facts don’t do them justice. Their live performances and songs do.
These ten facts involve much of what makes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra so beloved; they have a serious passion for live music, plenty of experience with rock greats, and they donate most of their earnings to charity. Mix in a love for classical music and metal, and you have the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a band that needs to be experienced live in order to get a full grasp on their importance.