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The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a not a permanent musical organization. Rather, it is the trade name for the session orchestras assembled for a number of symphonic rock cross-over albums produced by Paul O'Neill.
O'Neill, a rock producer, arranger, and composer, conceived the sound of a 60-piece orchestra plus chorus that would perform with the edge and impact of a rock band. The result is a series of conceptual symphonic rock albums, mostly on Christmas themes.
O'Neill is a guitarist who played professionally and joined the orchestras for Broadway productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. His early musical influences were the rock groups Queen and Yes, and performers Jim Croce and Harry Chapin. In the mid-'80s he began working as a producer with groups including Aerosmith and Badlands. He became a concert organizer and producer, and was invited to put together some of the first major rock concerts held in Japan.