Knoepfel & Olson-Moser Join Idina Menzel for Minneapolis Concert

Posted on August 14th, 2015 by

Idina Menzel with Justin Knoepfel (upper left) and Jill Olson-Moser (center photo, middle row) Photo by Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune.

Idina Menzel with Justin Knoepfel (upper left) and Jill Olson-Moser (center photo, middle row) Photo by Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune.

Two Gustavus Department of Music faculty members, Justin Knoepfel, viola and Jill Olson-Moser, violin, joined vocalist Idina Menzel for the pop singer’s August 13 concert in Minneapolis. Menzel, best known for her Oscar and Grammy-winning performance of “Let It Go” in Disney’s animated film Frozen, performed with a chamber orchestra of Minnesota musicians on the Nothrup Auditorium stage. The nearly 2-hour concert included works from Wicked, Rent & Frozen, as well as a variety of other Broadway and original songs.

Those who don’t know Menzel’s music may know her as the woman who John Travolta made famous at last year’s Oscar awards ceremony by simply mispronouncing her name or for her performance of the Star Spangled Banner at the 2015 Super Bowl. However, the singer/actor has earned the reputation of a stage presence through her work on Broadway (Rent, Wicked, Aida, Funny Girl, Hair) and television’s Glee. Billboard Magazine named Idina Menzel its Breakthrough Artist of 2014.

Olson-Moser and Knoepfel were contacted by a mutual friend who books musicians for many of the big-name artists performing in the Twin Cities. They rehearsed on Thursday afternoon with Menzel at the Northrup and then performed the sold-out concert that evening. Although the schedule didn’t allow the local musicians much time to get acquainted with the singer, Knoepfel wrote that working with her was “a lot of fun!”

In his review of the performance, StarTribune columnist Jon Bream wrote “Menzel is a Broadway star, a big-voiced belter who can turn any number into a showstopper. But when she dialed it down on Thursday at sold-out Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis, she suggested she could be a pretty good pop star.” In a review that compared the 44-year-old New Yorker to a young Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler, this is indeed high praise for Idina Menzel, however one pronounces her name.

 

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