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Wednesday, March 9 at 10 p.m. – Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Birth of Rock Theater

(Rochester, NY) – Since its players first hit the stage 12 years ago, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) has grown into one of the largest touring acts in the world by doing something completely different from every other group out there. People can’t seem to explain what they do; they just tell you “you just have to see it to understand it.” TSO creator Paul O’Neill, who calls it “Rock Theater,” presents the past, present, and future of the TSO through live video and interview segments taken over the last few years during its annual Winter Tour and from its debut of Beethoven’s Last Night, filmed in Dallas, Texas, on May 2, 2010. Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Rebirth of Rock Theater airs Wednesday, March 9 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). During the broadcast, viewers will learn more about TSO's April 4th concert in Syracuse, the group's December holiday show in Rochester, and how to get tickets.

The creation of “Rock Theater” began when O’Neill and TSO set their sights on one of the most beloved and important composers the world has ever seen: Ludwig van Beethoven. “I was always fascinated by Beethoven,” said creator/writer/producer O’Neill. “He did not come from a rich family, made his way to Vienna — which at that time was the capital of the musical world — and by the time he was 21 was recognized as one of the greatest piano players in the world by the likes of Mozart. By the time he was 25, he realized he was going completely deaf and if he had just crawled into a corner and given up on life, nobody would have judged him harshly. Instead he went on to write some of the greatest music that has ever been created, music that would bring joy, happiness, and peace to countless billions but that he himself would never hear.”

O’Neill’s Beethoven’s Last Night combines 50% what actually happened with 50% what might have happened to create a fascinating tale of Beethoven’s final evening. To pay tribute to the great composer TSO fused together many of his most enduring melodies with new hard rocking instrumentals. They also wrote several original compositions to create a theatrical experience that, combined with arena rock, takes the art form to unprecedented levels.
           
For O’Neill, this foray into Rock Theater is just the start. Projects in the works such as “Gutter Ballet and the New York City Blues Express” and “Romanov: When Kings Must Whisper,” based on the Russian Revolution, will ensure that this new genre is here to stay.

O’Neill enthuses, “PBS is an indispensable part of the artistic world. Masterpieces of music, dance, and cinema that normally would have been lost and forgotten are saved for future generations to enjoy and be inspired by.” Having already spent the past ten plus years partnering with PBS on the special “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” TSO is thrilled to share the opportunity to bring “Rock Theater” to the masses with PBS.

Credit: Courtesy of Mark Weiss

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