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Statesman Journal: 'Frozen' Arranger Enjoys Oscar Glory From Afar In Salem


Movie fans worldwide heard the work of Salem’s Dave Metzger during the Academy Awards on Sunday night:

He arranged and orchestrated the score for “Frozen,” which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song (“Let It Go”).

He rehearsed the orchestra and Idina Menzel, voice of “Frozen” heroine Elsa, for her show-stopping performance of “Let It Go.”

And he arranged music for some of the film clips that the Oscar orchestra played while winners gasped, hugged and made their way to the stage.

Metzger was gleeful as the results came in. He was celebrating by himself, “eating cheese,” he said, on his living room couch in South Salem. Meanwhile, congratulatory texts and emails arrived from colleagues, his wife (Dr. Laura Metzger, who was at a conference in San Diego) and their grown sons.

He praised songwriting team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez rather than his own skill at translating their piano score into an evocative orchestral work.

“That is kind of cool,” he said in understatement. “Bobby and Kristen are great.”

In an earlier email, Metzger explained why he wasn’t at the glitz-filled ceremony: Disney had been allocated only 14 tickets for the event, and those were taken up by the nominees (the Lopezes, the directors and the producer) and a handful of top execs.

The regular audience tickets were distributed via lottery to the 6,000-plus members of the Academy, who were not allowed to sell or give them away under threat of legal action.

“I was a bit bummed when I found out, but que sera sera!,” he said.

However, the Lopezes did thank Metzger by name while clutching their Oscar onstage.

For Metzger, the high-stakes time during the show was Menzel’s performance of “Let It Go.” Metzger flew to Los Angeles on Feb. 23 for a few days of rehearsals with her and the Oscar orchestra, and he knew that Disney wanted the results to be “incredible.”

“I was a little nervous with Idina, in a live situation like that,” he said. “She did an amazing job.”

As the 31/2-hour ceremony ended, Metzger’s name appeared in the rolling credits. He was one of 10 musicians who arranged the film-score excerpts that accompanied each winner to the stage. The musicians learned which one to play when each winner’s name was announced.

But Metzger didn’t plan to take any time off to revel in Oscar glory. With at least 56 films to his credit, he is deep at work on the music for his next project. He planned to spend all of Monday morning on a conference call with collaborators.

bcurtin@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6699 or twitter.com/BarbaraCurtin

 

Bio

Who: Dave Metzger, Salem composer, arranger and orchestrator

Latest claim to fame: He arranged and orchestrated the score for “Frozen,” which won Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song (“Let It Go,” which has sold more than 500,000 physical copies)

Roots: Grew up in Corvallis, where he began composing music in seventh grade for his school choirs and jazz band

Education: Bachelor’s in music from California State University at Long Beach; graduate work at UCLA

Highlights: Five years as an arranger for “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”; prolific arranger for film, Broadway and television; wrote music for the video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”

Family: Married to Dr. Laura Metzger, an allergist at Salem Clinic; grown sons are Jeff and Eric

Other awards include: Tony Award nomination for Best Orchestrations for his work on “The Lion King” (1998); Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Orchestrations for “The Lion King” (1998); Grammy Award for the “Tarzan” soundtrack (1999); Grammy Award for “The Lion King” cast recording (1998); Multi Platinum record for “Tarzan” (over 2 million copies sold); Platinum record for “The Lion King” (over 1 million copies sold)

Find him online: davemetzgermusic.com

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