“Within the first few phrases, I knew we were hearing the finest of the three performances. Gretchen is the type performer who commands all attention in the hall. When she plays, you cannot sit there, daydream, think about what you are doing later in the day, etc. Her playing demands the listener’s attention, whether she is playing a blistering passage with lots of notes, or whether she has decided to elongate a fermata…Gretchen’s conceptual clarity is extraordinary.”
-John Spradling, Past president of Civic Morning Musicals in Syracuse, NY
“It’s said that youth is wasted on the young. Not in the case of pianist Gretchen Hull, who is both very young and musically mature.
“With long, long, graceful fingers and arms that recall the fluid motion of the solo ballerina in Swan Lake, she tossed off incredibly difficult and physically punishing works by Bach, Beethoven, Messiaen, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and more.
Her piano touch ranges from velvety soft to hugely aggressive and percussive. Her face reflects the same huge range of emotions, from despair to delight, from tenderness to turbulence, which she injects into the music and projects to the audience.
“A highlight of the program, Hull played a Messiaen piece depicting various scenes from the life of the infant Jesus. Both a lullabye to the baby, and a reaction to a kiss received from the baby, the piece is all rapturous sonorities and dissonances, best listened to with one’s eyes closed.
As icing on the cake, she tossed off a lightning-fast encore — Chopin’s Black Key Etude. When this Expressions show airs, don’t adjust your sets. Yes, her hands were a complete blur.”
-Lee Shepherd, Broome County Arts Council 10/12