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Daniella Ganeva
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Biography
Daniella Ganeva

Bulgarian born percussionist Daniella Ganeva is a strikingly original artist who is captivating international audiences with her brilliantly virtuoso and highly theatrical performances of unusual repertoire and her magical stage presence.

Daniella Ganeva was born in Gabrovo in Bulgaria, both parents being civil engineers, but spent her early years with the family growing up in Cuba. It was here that the powerful and intensely colourful music accompanying spectacular dancing, both in the streets and in sophisticated shows and carnivals first aroused her desire to be a musician. She studied both piano and percussion, but was developing a very strong desire to be creative in solo percussion, particularly loving its Latin American application. At this time solo percussion recitals were less popular than they are now, but Daniella Ganeva’s brilliant talent and engaging appeal led to a tour of Bulgaria, including an appearance at the Liudmila Jivkova Palace of Culture, and appearances in Hungary, Germany and Spain. She continued her studies at the Pleven Academy of Music in Bulgaria, a school specialising in offering intensive training to exceptionally gifted pupils. There she received instruction from Simeon Serafimov and played in many contemporary ensembles and masterclasses.

Soon Daniella Ganeva won international instrumental competitions, including the Tergovishte Percussion and Wind competition in 1987 and the Provadia Music Competition in 1989. She decided to move to the United Kingdom where she began to attract considerable attraction for the virtuosity, originality and artistry of her performances. In fact she created her own market, as at first there was little interest in promoting a solo percussionist. She made a CD with sponsorship from Technics Hi-Fi, which was used by the company as a promotional demonstration disc. The theatricality and imagination of her playing then came to the attention of the specialised Cala Record company, with whom she recorded her next CD. Daniella’s expressive and atmospheric performing on that recording of Japanese works created a very strong impression amongst a wide range of international listeners and critics. It helped lead to a quick succession of engagements in Europe and the USA, the recording of a further solo CD, released by GMN, and guest recordings as a soloist with other solo artists and small ensembles. In the UK she scored great successes with her solo debuts at the coveted Wigmore Hall and at the Purcell Room in the South Bank Centre, and after touring Northern Italy playing the marimba concerto by Milhaud she performed this work at the Aldeburgh Festival. Radio and television appearances soon followed.

Daniella Ganeva has won great acclaim as an attraction at the Rhythm Sticks Festival in the UK and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in the USA, giving national and world premieres at both events. She has commissioned many new works and in particular composers David Horne, Piers Hellawell and, from Latvia, Rihards Dubra have written immensely demanding works for her with her highly imaginative range of colours and atmospheric sonorities in mind.

Daniella Ganeva is a member of the soloistic ensemble group S.P.E.C.T.R.U.M. in which the artists compose and arrange material themselves and play music that eclectically fuses pop, rock, jazz and classical styles through improvisatory performance.

Daniella Ganeva is highly committed to teaching in order to create a greater awareness of the expressive potential of solo percussion playing. She gives masterclasses and was the co-founder of the Graham Cole Percussion School where internationally acclaimed musicians and students of many countries and backgrounds from all areas of percussion and drum-kit playing meet to learn, discuss and develop their music making.

Although her striking dark beauty gives the clue to Daniella Ganeva’s origins she has learned almost perfect English from her husband, percussionist Graham Instrall, in under six years, a sign of her highly sensitive hearing and lively interest in the world around her.

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