Kathy Dornian

A native Calgarian, Kathy Dornian is a nationally respected pedagogue, chamber musician, adjudicator and examiner. She earned a Master of Music Degree in piano performance from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Education and Kodaly Fine Arts Diploma from the University of Calgary. Her education was enriched by post-graduate performance studies at the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. Her teachers have included Marilyn Engle, Peter Smith and Edith Hambalko, and masterclass enrichment from many notable artists.

Since 1985, Kathy Dornian has served on the Mount Royal University Conservatory faculty where she pursues an extensive and versatile career as a musician. She has built a solid reputation over the years as a sensitive and accomplished teacher, collaborative artist and chamber partner. For many years she was an artistic collaborator with the internationally recognized Morningside Music Bridge Program, an affiliation which has taken her to Shanghai, Boston and Poland. For many years, she served as piano coordinator of the Academy of Music, a prestigious and nationally renowned program for gifted young musicians. Through this program, she has worked with and closely observed many internationally respected teachers including Kum Sing Lee, Anton Kuerti, Jeno Jando, Jon Kimura Parker, Steven Kovacavich and Angela Hewitt, to name just a few. As a performer, she has been heard in concert with many prominent and distinguished musicians including James Campbell and David Schifrin. She travels throughout Canada and the United States as an adjudicator, workshop clinician and examiner for RCM Examinations. She has been one of the RCM pioneers since 2020 in online exam delivery and to date has conducted several thousand online exams in addition to live.  Kathy has also served as a visiting faculty member of the renowned Central Conservatory and Middle School in Beijing, China.


In 2019, Kathy was awarded the prestigious National ‘Teacher of Distinction Award’ by the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has cultivated her collaborative and teaching career with equal success and enthusiasm and continues to pursue her lifelong passion for excellence in music education. As a chamber partner, she is equally at home with all instruments and as a teacher, she has successfully worked with all levels and ages of students. Known as a kind, inspiring and imaginative educator who fosters keenness and curiosity in her students, she is certainly one of Calgary’s most sought-after and in-demand teachers. Her students are frequent award and scholarship winners in festivals and national competitions. They consistently achieve high results in examinations, and many have been accepted into programs such as Morningside Music Bridge and at post-secondary institutions. Many of her former students have forged on to create successful careers of their own in the music profession, although she is equally proud of those who have chosen other fields but maintain their passion for music and continue to show support for the arts. In the past few years, training and mentoring of the next generation of teachers and examiners has also played a vital and most fulfilling role in her professional career.

Kathy is the proud mother of twin sons Jonathan, a psychiatrist and mountain climber and Patrick, a data scientist and biking enthusiast. She is also the proud ‘adopted’ mother of internationally renowned concert pianist Yuja Wang. She is married to Paul Dornian, long-time former director of the Conservatory at Mount Royal University and former President and CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, who also continues his role as founder, president, and CEO of the Morningside Music Bridge Program. Kathy speaks fluent Hungarian and enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, reading, biking and travelling in her spare time.