What does Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra do the rest of the year?

If you’re in the United States at anyplace larger than a wide spot in the road, you’re probably seeing television commercials for Christmas concerts by Mannheim Steamroller and/or Trans-Siberian Orchestra in your town.

A couple of questions:

  • What does Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra do the rest of the year? It seems like only their Christmas concerts are promoted. Do they have many performances between January and November?

  • Since it seems like these bands perform in ever town – one time, during a cross-country drive made in December, I saw local television and radio commercials for Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts the entire way – is there more than one Trans-Siberian Orchestra performing concerts across the country?

While I have no idea about the actual correct answer, this is something I have also noticed and wondered about as well…

Great quesion!!!

If I had to guess, I would say it IS just a seasonal gig, and I would not be suprised if there are multiple Trans-Siberian Orchestras touring the USA right now. (Tis The Season)

I don’t know about Mannheim Steamroller, but there’s two Trans-Siberian Orchestra crews in the USA. One does the western part of the US, the other does the eastern part.

You are correct, there are 2 different TSO groups on tour this year. I think a few years back they only had 1.

The musicians in these groups probably do studio work and play with other groups during the rest of the year.

I saw TSO a couple weeks ago and they said that, for the first time ever, they were going to have a Spring tour next year.

I also saw them last year, and I think I recall one of them saying that they mostly go their own way the rest of the year.

Personally, I’d mostly just wonder what their haul is. I would think it has to be significant, but then again it’s a pretty massive show to put on, with something like a hundred people to man it. That’s gotta drain the overall take a good bit.

Seems to be the same deal with Mannheim Steamroller; they have a few dates booked on opposite sides of the coast.

TSO just put out their first non-Christmas album a few weeks ago. So they’ll likely be playing that.

Back in the late 70s to early 80s, Mannheim Steamroller were mainly known for their Fresh Aire recordings. A lot of us were fans of them in college.

It’s my understanding that TSO is simply an alternate name for another band; like a musical pseudonym? I can’t at all recall where I read this.


And Mannheim Steamroller is the guy the wrote the music for the C.W. McCall albums. You know, Convoy.

That money paid for a very nice recording studio. He spends most of the year running that.

Mannheim Steamroller is a local band here in Omaha. The C.W.McCall character was created for a series of Old Home bread commercial. The ongoing story was of the romance between C.W. who hauled for the bread company and Mavis, who was a waitress at the Old Home Fill "EM up and Keep on Trucking Cafe in Pisgah Iowa.

Ron Cooley, the guitarist, teaches music at the Iowa Western Community College. American Gramaphone, Chip Davis’s record label, is located here in Omaha.

CW meets Mavis

This is where Mannhiem Steamroller started

[pedant] It’s “What do Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra do the rest of the year?”[/pedant]

Great answers! So, let me get this straight … there’s two TSOs and two Mannheim Steamrollers, and one of the TSOs is/was actually Savatage, or each TSO has some Savatage members among it? Seems … well, odd, as if there’s chain prog rock bands in the same vein as chain restaurants and chain stores. Are there any other bands with different touring groups?

As another poster said, the intensity of their tour seems … well, financially challenging. The ads for TSO concerts place some of their performances in smaller venues (1000-3000 seat theaters and civic centers, as opposed to 10,000+ seat sports arenas, where they also have appearances). With a show in a different city practically every day; a performance area is broken down, moved and rebuilt; and 100 or so touring group members (performers, roadies, sound engineers, managers, etc), it seems like a very expensive operation.

I had understood that TSO had a core few members who actually toured, and that they used local talent for most of the orchestra. This is the first I’ve heard of two completely separate groups, though.

For example, on the East Coast the lead of Strings last year was Anna Pheobe

There are a bunch of Blue Man groups too - some tour and they have permanent shows in various places such as Las Vegas.

For expensive tours, the recent U2 tour had 3 stages since it took so long to set it up and they played 2 or 3 shows a week. They spent $750k a night to put on the show.

I can’t remember the name right now but I believe there’s one group that spawned off a splinter group with the same name after one member had a disagreement with the others. The splinter group was allowed to continue performing after reaching a legal agreement.

Some good questions have been asked about TSO in this thread.
There are indeed two touring groups that make up TSO.
TSO is the brainchild (mostly) of Paul O’Neil, Robert Kinkel is the musical Director of the East Group while Al Pitrelli does the same for the West.
O’Neil is also aided by Jon Oliva who is a composer and yes TSO is sort of a spin-off of Savatage.

Several members of each “troupe” are in bands of their own during the “off-season” . With west for instance, Al Pitrelli(lead guitar and conductor), his wife Jane Mangini(keyboards), Tommy Farese(vocals), and John O’Reilly(drummer)are all in a club band called O2’l and also do some studio work individually. Pitrelli has previously played with Asia, Alice Cooper, Mega death and Savatage among others.

Angus Clark(guitar) from West has a group called Daredevil Squadron that includes Andrew Ross (vocals) and Chris Altenhoff (bass)from west. Jeff Scott Soto)vocals) from west has sung with Journey,and does work with couple other groups.

Jeff Plate (drummer)(from east and Chris Caffrey(lead guitar) from east also are in bands as are various other members.

I’m sure I’m leaving some out.

They are planning a tour sometime in the spring that will be just one group and is expected to play in smaller venues. That tour is to support their new album, Night Castle and they are also planning on playing material from their other non-Christmas CD, Beethovens Last Night.

Hope that helps

Back to the original question, back when I was in college (late '80s) Mannheim Steamroller toured during other parts of the year. I saw them in Atlanta when they were doing support for their album “Yellowstone” - I believe it was a late spring or summer concert.