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NYWC Spotlight: Catherine Neville

Featured Artist: Catherine Neville

We are excited to continue our collaboration with the New York Women Composers. This month, we spotlight Catherine Neville.

Catherine Neville

Excerpt from her bio:

“Composer, clarinetist, and educator, Catherine Neville’s music has premiered in New York City, Seattle, Moscow, San Diego, Baltimore, and Birmingham, Alabama. In 2021, she was awarded the “Audience Choice Award” from the Spread Spectrum Music Festival in Moscow, and was a semi-finalist in the Juventas Ensemble’s call for scores on the theme of Memory and Hope. In 2019, she was a featured composer on the “The Muse’s Voice” concert series at Barnard College. “

Featured Work: Sonata for Cello and Piano

“The cello has such a beautiful, rich timbre, one that is much appreciated by me in my dual roles as composer and clarinetist. In writing this piece, the second movement was created first, and is my favorite of the three (although of course I really love the whole work!). This piece is unique in that there are two endings: I created two versions of the final movement.” – Catherine Neville


  • Title: Sonata
  • Composer: Catherine Neville
  • Year of Composition: 2021
  • Instrumentation: cello and piano
  • Movements: i) Andante; ii) Adagio; iii) Introduction and Allegretto (Versions A and B of the 3rd movement are included in the score)
  • Duration of Work: approximately 15 minutes, total; individual movements are 5, 4, and 6 minutes (respectively)
  • Number of Measures: entire piece = Version A 216; Version B 212
    • 1. 71
    • 2. 63
    • 3. Version A 82; Version B 78
  • Number of Pages:
    • full score – Version A 27; Version B 21 pages
    • cello part
      • 1. 4 pages
      • 2. 1 page
      • 3. 3 pages (both versions)
  • Tempo:
    • 1. Andante quarter note = approx. 82
    • 2. Adagio, quarter note = 66
    • 3. Versions A and B. quarter note = 72
  • Difficulty Level: advanced
  • Highest Position Reached: thumb
  • Techniques Employed: double stops; pizzicato; 16th-note, 8th-note, and quarter-note triplets; 16th-note quintuplets and sextuplets; 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4 time signatures
  • Publisher: self-published
  • Where to Purchase the Score: email the composer
  • Cost of Score*: $20


Program Notes

“Composed during the summer of 2021, “Sonata for Cello and Piano” reaches to the past for form, with distinctively modern harmonies and melodic flow.

The first movement is a joyful romp from C Major, through distant harmonic fields, and back again. Marked andante, this movement is an exercise in musical imagination.

Inspired by the romantic expressivity of the cello, the second movement, Adagio, makes use of a ground bass, though not strictly: the figure winds around and through the melodic line, sometimes leaving the bass register entirely, sometimes moving into the cello line.

The sonata ends with an Introduction and Allegretto, reflecting on both the joyful first movement and the emotionally expressive second movement.

In Version A of the final movement, the work has a climactic, technically challenging finale: energetic, fast-paced, and exciting. In Version B, the piano and cello create a peaceful, smooth ending to the work, a world with soft edges created by almost-but-not-quite aligned phrases and cadences. In this second version, the difficulties are its rhythmic and expressive qualities.” – Catherine Neville

Catherine Neville’s Other Work with a Prominent Cello Part

How to Contact Catherine Neville

A Collaboration with the New York Women Composers (NYWC)

The NYWC series at the Cello Museum was created to showcase its members who have composed various pieces for cello, informing cellists seeking new music to add to their repertoire, and helping listeners find new favorites, too. Many thanks to the NYWC for this wonderful collaboration.

Read other installments in the series here.

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*Prices are accurate at the time of article publication, but the Cello Museum cannot take responsibility for subsequent price changes.