Royal Conservatory Mourns Passing of KUNÉ Member Dorjee Tsering

The Royal Conservatory offers deepest condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Dorjee Tsering, one of the founding members of The Royal Conservatory’s in-house ensemble, KUNÉ — Canada’s Global Orchestra. Dorjee passed away on January 4, 2019, after a lengthy battle with cancer. 

A Tibetan exile, Dorjee was born in India, where he joined the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts in Dharamsala. There he mastered several traditional instruments and also learned Tibetan opera, as well as several styles of singing and dance. After graduating, he became a teacher at the Institute while pursuing an award-winning musical career that saw him perform throughout India.  

Dorjee began a new life in Canada 15 years ago after his wife died in childbirth. While in Canada, he developed his beloved stage performance One Hour in Tibet, which introduced audiences to the history and beauty of Tibetan culture. In 2016, Dorjee joined KUNÉ, where he played the dranyen (Himalayan lute) and piwang (Tibetan fiddle), as well as providing vocals. 

“Dorjee was a seminal member of the band and in many ways its heart,” observed Mervon Mehta, The Royal Conservatory’s Executive Director of Performing Arts. He added that Dorjee always carried himself with a quiet dignity despite enduring a life of personal hardships that included never being able to set food in Tibet, his home nation.

Dorjee was a highly respected member of Toronto's tightly-knit Tibetan community who was very grateful for the opportunities provided by his adopted country. Fittingly, one of his most popular recordings was called Thank You Canada.

The Royal Conservatory will be organizing a public tribute to Dorjee on a later date. 

Alice Sellwood