Sally Wave

London-based recitalist, educator and composer

United Kingdom



Sally Wave is a London-based recitalist, educator and composer with a growing international presence. She has been performing in Europe and the United States as a solo and chamber musician, and as a concerto soloist in Germany and Bulgaria. She has been acclaimed for her piano performances of among other composers Beethoven – to whom she is devoting much attention in 2020 being the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Her second CD of Beethoven piano sonatas will be launched in 2020 and recitals programmed on this theme will follow. Her first CD comprised Chopin Fantaisie Impromptu op. 66, waltzes and nocturnes, Scriabin’s 24 preludes and works by Obretenov and Stoyanov. Her reputation has been further strengthened by performances as a member of the Bourgas Piano Trio and the piano duet Black Sand in London and the US.

Sally Wave is the artistic pseudonym of Savelina Kancheva. She graduated from the Specialist Music School in Bourgas, Bulgaria. Later she attended the Prof Pancho Vladigerov Bulgarian National Music Academy in Sofia by Prof Kurtev and the masterclasses of the renowned Prof Rudolf Kehrer for two years at the F Liszt Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany. She obtained her master’s degree in piano playing from the Bulgarian National Music Academy in 1996 and completed a PhD in Music and Musical Culture in 2008 with a paper entitled Mendelssohn’s Piano Sonatas.

After success as a solo pianist and chamber musician in Sofia and as a piano teacher of students aged 4-19 at the Bulgarian National School of Culture, Sally moved to the UK focusing on solo and chamber performance and taught at the Tchaikovsky Music Academy London and Musicschool, London. She prepares students for music scholarships and many of them have won top prizes at competitions in London and overseas. Sally herself is a sought-after adjudicator. She is the founder and music director of the London Youth Piano Competition ( following her previous establishment of Wimbledon international piano competitions in 2018 and 2019.

As a composer, Sally Wave is writing music for all ages. To all the compositions it is given a specific name, including the pieces inside of a cycle. The cycle “The Yellow Emoji” op. 21 is for children from beginner's level to early intermediate. The variations from the cycle “Die Variationen “Verloren” op. 19 could be performed as individual pieces as well. The difficulty of each variation varies between early intermediate and advanced level.

For more info please visit where one can find links for listening to or buying the scores.



What does music mean to you personally?

It means everything. The very way I am breathing.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Could be. And a way of expressing oneself.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

A poet. And a non-professional musician. In my opinion, the art itself is choosing the artist. Not the artist –the art.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

No. No matter what the audience age group, the classics will always be loved.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Almost all the arts are making use of music. So, the musicians always will be needed.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

In my opinion the music itself develops the imagination.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

By organising concerts ourselves. Involving our students to play there. Already I have organised an international piano competition for young musicians. Please check

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

I am very often inspired by nature or by art. Or sometimes a melody jumps out. Or an idea to search for something is pushing me to go to the piano. I don’t think I have one favourite piece... I always love very much the one I am writing at that moment. But will tell you about „The insects“ –that is the way I am calling for short „Die Libelle und der Schmetterling“ {Dragonfly and Butterfly}. I was writing the cycle of Die Variationen and have done 5 variations and was thinking I am almost done, when suddenly on visiting an exhibitionby 'Icons of Nature' by Sirpa Pajunen-Moghissioneof the paitingshas captured my interest as in it there were very transparent and beautiful dragonflies. That is how the idea of the variation jumped to my mind, and after coming back home I went straight to the piano.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Every single note in music is like a word. In playing listen to the music with your heart and try to understand by yourself what is the music speaking about. Every single piece has a story –one or more. And because it is without words, everyone could make his own story with the music by performing or by listening. For me music is a better way of explaining yourself than just with words.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Of course I do. How to choose otherwise how difficult to make it...

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

My last piece is written for violin and piano „Unter den Linden“ op.22, as my cousin, who is a violinist and based in Germany, asked me to write something for him. {I have done this in July} At the moment I am writing a piece where I am trying to express the sun while it is playing with the water. I was trying to capture transparent-sounding broken chords and arpeggios to imitate the way the water is gently making little waves and the sun is „raining“ in it. Then at the end of the piece suddenly something appears, unexpected, but beautiful and finally the music has a theme.