Sanya Shoilevska Henderson was born in 1964 in Skopje, Macedonia. She showed very early interest in music, and piano in particular. At the age of seven she enrolled in the Music School in Skopje and studied piano, solfege and theory. She started playing in public concerts
and won prizes and recognition at the regional and national
in Macedonia and former Yugoslavia. At the age of
fourteen Sanya decided to pursue her career as a musician and enrolled in a specialized Music High School with the Music and
During her high school years she performed concertos with the Macedonian Philharmony Orchestra (1979, 1980), had her solo
recital debut in 1981, performed solo and as a chamber musician
at many festivals and concerts, and continued winning prizes and acknowledgments at piano competitions. Throughout all these years Sanya studied piano with a wonderful pianist and
teacher Snezana Anastasova Cadikovska.
at the Faculty for Music Arts in Skopje. Besides being a piano major, she decided to expand her musical expertise by studying musicology.
In 1987 she graduated both piano and musicology and was honored with a special University Diploma for graduating with the highest grade point average (4.0). At the university, Sanya studied musicology with Dr. Toma Prosev, and piano with professors Branko Cvetkovic, Stela Slejanska, and Jokut Mihailovic.
After graduation Sanya enrolled into graduate studies of musicology and obtained her Master degree in 1991. In 1988 she received a one year scholarship by the French Government for specialization in piano performance and education. She studied with professor Marian Ribicky at Ecole Normale de Musique “Alfred Cortot” in Paris, and obtained the Diplome Superieur d’Enseignement at the final competition of the school. Sanya also specialized in piano performance with several other distinguished piano teachers: Arnold Kaplan (Moscow, Russia, 1982), Arbo Valdma (Groznjan, Slovenia, 1985), and Catherine Collar (Nice, France, 1989).
In 1989 Sanya started working at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia where she taught music history, music appreciation, and functional music in film and theater. She also conducted several scholar projects at the Academy.
In the period from 1990 to 1993 Sanya also worked as a composer, arranger, and performer for theater plays at the State Theater (Narodno pozoriste) in Subotica, Yugoslavia. In 1993 she received a grant from the Soros Open Society Foundation and came to Los Angeles to pursue her doctoral research in film music. Her mentor was Dr. Beverly Grigsby, Professor Emerita at California State University in Northridge. Sanya focused her research on the exceptional music of Alex North, the legendary film composer. In 2000 she obtained her Ph.D. degree at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, and earned the title Doctor of Musicology. Three years later (2003) her book “Alex North, Film Composer” was published by McFarland Publishers.
Sanya has been very active in several different fields since she’s come to Los Angeles. She composed original music for theater plays and films, and worked for Ray Bradbury's Pandemonium Theatre Company, Theatre West, Wooden Leg Company and the Laurelgrove Theatre. She has performed solo, as a chamber musician, and she founded Duo Appassionato with flutist Lilly Lukic. Sanya has become a well known music teacher, currently teaching at her private studio. Sanya lives in Los Angeles with her husband Scott Henderson and their daughter Angela.