- A.D. (CT, USA), M.Mus. Perf. (New York, USA), B.Mus. Perf., (Toronto, Canada), ARCT
- President, K-W Registered Music Teachers Association 2015-2017
- K-W Music Instructor Diamond Award Winner 2015 and 2016
- K-W Recipient of ORMTA Contribution to Teaching Award 2014
- K-W Music Instructor Platinum Award Winner 2013
- K-W Music Instructor Gold Award Winner 2012
- Recitals and Awards Organizer (K-W ORMTA)
- Registered Music Teacher (ORMTA, CFMTA)
- Examiner (Royal Conservatory of Music, Canada & Royal Conservatory Certificate Program, USA)
- Piano Performer/Accompanist/Collaborative Artist
- Festival and Competitions Adjudicator
Canadian-born and of Chinese descent, Donna Mak has had an extensive performing history as a pianist, accompanist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist with orchestras. She began studies with Claire Wilson, with subsequent principal teachers Marjorie and Garth Beckett, Marietta Orlov, Boris Lysenko, Arkady Aronov, and Luiz de Moura Castro. She studied chamber music and accompanying with Patricia Parr, William Aide, John Hess, and Mitchell Stern. Pedagogy teachers included Marina Geringas and Vera Wills. Donna eagerly took many special interest workshops and seminars presented by the Miller Institute for Performing Artists on injury prevention and ergonomics for musicians, as well as courses in psychology. Her formulas and tips for “practicing for success” that work for herself have been adapted and applied to her students on an individual basis, and have achieved successful results. Donna has also had masterclasses with such renowned artists as Anton Kuerti, Richard Goode, Greta Kraus, and Dalton Baldwin.
Growing up, she accumulated a wealth of experience performing at countless venues and actively competing at the local, provincial, and national levels, and was a multi-award and scholarship recipient throughout. She has appeared on television, newspaper, and radio for her piano endeavours. In Toronto she won the prestigious W. O. Forsyth Scholarship for both piano and academic excellence all four consecutive years there, and maintained Honour Roll status in New York. In Connecticut, it was one of Donna’s solo piano recitals that inaugurated the newly acquired Steinway in Millard Theatre, and she was a performing member of the American Liszt Society; pianist in the Contemporary Players ensemble which included premiering new works on a regular basis; celeste player for the Groton Ballet Orchestra’s “Nutcracker”; and accompanist for the Avon-W.Hartford-Simsbury school board.
Donna is a seasoned teacher, with additional background experience as Assistant to the Director of Chamber Music Studies at the University of Hartford and as the piano instructor at a private school for boys in North York. She has adjudicated for music teachers’ branch competitions both in and out of province as well as music festivals. Donna dedicates an exciting schedule of teaching piano and theory students at her own Studio in Kitchener, while continuing to accompany choir and travel as an Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations (Canada) and the Royal Conservatory Certificate Program (USA). She was honoured multiple times as Waterloo Region’s Favourite Music Instructor with the Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Awards. She is a long-time member of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association, and received the “Contribution to Teaching Award” at the 2014 provincial convention. Donna has organized countless performance opportunities for students all across K-W and surrounding areas, creating fun events that bring the community together.
Donna additionally devotes time to giving back to the community, and has presented concerts and fundraisers in support of: St. Mary’s Hospital’s Cardiac Centre; Grand River Hospital’s Cancer Care Centre; the K-W Canadian Red Cross; the Waterloo Region Food Bank; the K-W Heart & Stroke Foundation; the YWCA Mary’s Place shelter; CCA church building funds; the Canadian Diabetes Association; St. John’s Community Kitchen; the Sunshine Foundation for Sick Kids; and the K-W Humane Society. Many of her students are enthusiastic participants at these events.
Although Donna sometimes composes her own piano music and both arranges and composes for other performing voices and instruments, her greatest passions lie in teaching and accompanying, and her introductory-to-senior level students help keep her young at heart. Outside of her musical world when rare free time permits, Donna enjoys special event volunteering and pursuing other creative interests such as photography, social painting, and food art. She also loves to spend time with her dog, and couldn't resist including teaching some piano (click links below)!
Paintings by Donna Mak: (L) "Turtley Awesome", (M) "There's Always One Monkeying Around", (R) "Lucky Sushi"