Poster Neave Trio
The Neave Trio presents its latest album, 'A Room of Her Own.'
Jacob Lewis Lovendahl
New Classical Tracks®

Neave Trio explores music by women — including Cecile Chaminade, 'the Taylor Swift of her time'

New Classical Tracks (extended interview) - Neave Trio
New Classical Tracks - Neave Trio

Neave Trio (Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; Eri Nakamura, piano) – A Room of Her Own (Chandos)

“We’re big advocates for all good music,” violinist Anna Williams says. “Gender, race, background, none of it matters; if it’s good music, it’s a joy and privilege to dive into it.”

Williams is one-third of the Neave Trio, which also features her husband, cellist Mikhail Veselov.

They recently spoke from their home in Richmond, Virginia, where they live with their seven-month-old son.

Their latest recording with pianist Eri Nakamura features early works by Lili Boulanger, Germaine Tailleferre, Cecille Chaminade and Ethel Smyth. It’s called A Room of Her Own.

Veselov: “The connection is actually one of the pieces on the recording by Ethel Smyth. She was very much acquainted with Virginia Woolf. There's actually rumors of them having some kind of romantic relationship, as well. And Smyth was also a suffragist, and she was kind of a rebel. She composed the march for women, and she was quite a character. In addition to being a composer, and a wonderful one at that, she also was a huge personality and activist and writer.”

Williams: “On a more simplistic level, each of these women really deserves the space; they deserve their own room, to put it another way.”

Smyth was definitely a courageous individual. The Piano Trio is one of her earlier works, and in the second movement, she actually included a note in the score that reads, “the courage of simplicity.” What does that mean to you as performers?

Veselov: “Well, that's the variation movement, too, which I think is interesting and almost ironic because the idea is to take a simple melody and sort of complicate it in various ways and make it different every time. So I think it's almost a bit of a joke in that context.”

For most of these composers, these works were written early in their career. How does that reflect who they would become?

Williams: “I think it's kind of interesting because in the case of Tailleferre, it's not unlike stories we know of Brahms. It's both an early and a mature work because she came back to it and revised it heavily. When we play this work for an audience, we'll have them guess which sounds are stereotypically youthful and which are more mature. And nine times out of 10 times, the guess is the opposite.”

Chaminade started off composing large-scale works. And then in her 30s, she started to focus more on piano miniatures and melodies. Do you know why she made the shift in that direction?

Williams: “It seems like she was very aware of creating her own path. Not to sound silly, but she was kind of like the Taylor Swift of her time due to writing her own material that then performing them in her own way.”

Veselov: “But there's still an existing Chaminade club in New York, actually. So there’s actually clubs all over the world that were waiting for some nice music to come out. And if she would perform in the area, they'd all be there.”

Williams: “So it is interesting that you mentioned the larger-scale to smaller-scale works in terms of, if you think of her writing and in this trio as an example, she really does access quite the full range of both the pianistic abilities and the ensemble abilities. For example, the slow movement is so operatic and sort of intimate at the same time.”


Neave Trio (Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; Eri Nakamura, piano) – A Room of Her Own (Chandos)

Neave Trio (Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; Eri Nakamura, piano) – A Room of Her Own (Amazon)

Neave Trio (official site)

Love the music?

Donate by phone

Show your support by making a gift to YourClassical.

Each day, we’re here for you with thoughtful streams that set the tone for your day – not to mention the stories and programs that inspire you to new discovery and help you explore the music you love.

YourClassical is available for free, because we are listener-supported public media. Take a moment to make your gift today.

More Ways to Give

Your Donation


Latest New Classical Tracks® Episodes


Latest New Classical Tracks® Episodes


About New Classical Tracks®

Host Julie Amacher provides an in-depth exploration of a new classical music release each week.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Radio Public, or RSS.

About New Classical Tracks®