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Daniella Ganeva
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Strikingly original Bulgarian-born percussionist. Read more.

Meet The Artist

 Watch an exclusive video interview with Daniella Ganeva

 Listen to an audio version

 Read a synopsis of the interview (below)


Daniella spent much of her early life in Cuba, and at the age of five found herself inspired by the Latin rhythms and dancing of the Cuban Carnivals. From this time she developed a strong desire to make similar sounds and rhythms.

She voiced this desire to her parents, but they thought it was just a whim, so it wasn't until about four years later, and after much persistent hounding that she finally started to have lessons.

In Bulgarian terms, Daniella began music lessons very late in life, and as such, had a hard time finding a teacher. Time and time again her parents were told 'she is too old', the teachers reluctant to waste time with someone her age.

Her persistence and desperation to have lessons eventually paid off, and she finally found a teacher, although once again it was made clear that the teacher took 'no responsibility for her progress!'

Daniella was a devoted student, and would practice every day, needing no reminding by her parents. Gradually she began to take an interest in percussion, and started additional lessons, the piano becoming less of a focus.


When she finished school in Bulgaria, Daniella had to decide what her next step would be. She enjoyed working hard for things, so decided to move to London, feeling that it was the cultural centre of the world, and would offer her a wealth of opportunities.

Daniella describes how it was very difficult to get used to the people and the country, and the different ways music was perceived. She still finds it difficult at times, but suggests that this in fact made her more determined to achieve what she set out to do.

When she arrived in London, there was a strong emphasis on orchestral playing, and this was the main focus of her university studies. She discusses the problems she found in developing and promoting her solo career, and describes the various steps taken to gain recognition not only throughout England, but throughout the world.

Daniella has found that Bulgarians are more open-minded than many audiences in England, and this has become particularly obvious at her solo percussion recitals. She talks about the many differences she has noticed between the two cultures.


Daniella is the co-founder of the Graham Cole Percussion School, a school that was established to nurture the knowledge and enthusiasm of up and coming percussion students. She describes how she felt there was a need for a school such as this where students could feel a part of something, and develop skills with the best players around.

The teachers brought in to the school come from various musical backgrounds, ranging from orchestras to rock bands, so the whole range of percussion styles are taught.


The marimba is one of Daniella's favourite percussion instruments. She talks about the instrument, its layout, how they are made, how the sound is produced, and the various types of mallets she uses.

[Daniella plays a piece on marimba]

Graphic scores are an interesting option for many performers these days. Daniella discusses the use of graphic scores - they use pictures, and are unique in that they give the composer freedom to give the performer ideas, rather than imposing a set way to play it. This also means that inevitably you end up playing the work differently every time.


Daniella is a member of the soloistic ensemble S.P.E.C.T.R.U.M. The group is made up of eight musicians (percussion, drums, cello, double bass, two violins, and electric and bass guitar), and they play a fusion of contemporary and popular music. Each of the members compose for the group, and these works are usually improvisatory, quite visual and theatrical.

Daniella enjoys performing with this ensemble, and it is a project she hopes to be part of for many years.

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One cold dark night
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