About Dorian

Dorian Ford


Dorian Ford started playing jazz in his early teens when he began regular attendance at a weekly workshop led by trumpeter, composer, broadcaster and music writer Ian Carr.

Playing alongside many musicians who went on to form the backbone of the London jazz renaissance of the 1980’s, he won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music where he received the prestigious Chick Corea Jazz Masters Award. Piano studies were with Donald Brown, a regular in Art Blakey’s band at the time.

Dorian has played and recorded with a wide range of musicians, including: Brian Abrahams, Stanley Adler, Brandon Allen, Tom Arthurs, Wayne Bachelor, Roger Beaujolais, Jeff Beck, Julia Biel, Dave Bitelli, Jim Black, Christian Brewer, Damon Brown, Igor Butman, Ian Carr, Nick Cohen, Winston Clifford, Quentin Collins, Renato D’Aiello, Chartwell Dutiro, Echo Strings, Brian Edwards, Robert Fordjour, Andy Gangadeen, Alex Garnett, Will Gaines, Geoff Gascoyne, Polly Gibbons, Tim Giles, Carol Grimes, Janek Gwizdala, Nathan Haines, Tom Herbert, Gary Husband, Julian Jackson, Julian Joseph, Dill Katz, Birelli Lagrene, Ingrid Laubrook, Colin Lazzarini, Gareth Locraine, Donny McCaslin, Menlo Park, Troy Miller, Mark Mondesir, Michael Mondesir, Mike Outram, Dave Okumu, Courtney Pine, Jonny Phillips, Tony Remy, Sebastian Rochford, Richard Spaven, Tom Skinner, Barbara Thompson, Frank Tontoh, Max de Wardener, Pete Wareham, Annie Whitehead, Tim Whitehead, Steve Williamson.

In addition he had performed at private and corporate functions that are too many to list in total. Notable clients include the US Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle, Joan Rivers, Prince Charles and the Parker Bowles family, the TUC and Glenda Jackson.


Dorian’s commitment to the craft and tradition of piano playing has led to extensive classical training with eminent teachers; Stephany Tiernan (USA), Anne Shasby and Katherina Wolpe, and master classes with Gweneth Pryor, John Tilbury, Brenda Lucas-Ogden and Simon Nichols.

Recent classical performances include recitals of 20th Century lieder (Berg, Mompou, Stravinsky) with soprano Katina Kangaris; 20th Century Latin American music (Piazzola, Brouwer, Ginestera) with Cuban cellist Pavel Tejeda; and pieces for two pianos (Bartók, Lutosławski, Millhaud, Schubert) with pianist Claire Kitchin.

Dorian took part in Eric Satie’s Vexations piano marathon as part of the Barbican’s John Cage weekend, collaborating with a diverse range of pianists including Yoko Ono, Django Bates, Richard Benjafield and Julian Joseph.

A close association with composer Max de Wardener has led to several performances and recordings, including a live Radio 3 broadcast for Mixing It from the Maida Vale Studios, and an album on Accidental Records.

Stage & Screen

In Mrs Henderson Presents, Dorian was presented with the challenge of recreating the sound of British jazz piano as heard at the Windmill Theatre circa 1930s. His live piano takes can be heard throughout the film.

As well as composing music for ITV drama, The Wedge (Tyne Tees) and Tonight With Trevor McDonald (ITV), Dorian found himself in eccentric company as the MD and pianist in the house band for the Jimmy Carr TV pilot (Ealing Studios).

He has also played on several commercials, notably as an ersatz Dr John for a New Orleans themed Rolling Rock ad, and his funky Hammond, Clavinet, and Fender Rhodes work was heard on the Boo.com ad with Roberto Pla.

Dorian has maintained a commitment to the theatre, and has used his compositions, arrangements, music directing skills at the Loire Valley festival de Jeune Theatre, at the Mill At Sonning where he was an actor and MD, and for the National Theatre connections festival at the Old Vic.


Alongside music, acting has always been a part of Dorian’s life. Coming from a theatrical family, it was a small leap to the screen, with major roles in BBC productions. He played Prince Edward to Ron Cook’s Richard III in Jane Howell’s production; the title role, Jude in Lesley Bruce’s BBC Play For Today, opposite Rachel Kempson, James Laurenson and Gabriella Lloyd.

People of a certain generation may remember Dorian’s role as the delinquent French exchange student, Jean-Paul, who smoked gauloise, snogged Faye, and crashed a stolen car in the year Grange Hill won a BAFTA.

He recently returned to the Thespian fold with a brief yet revealing appearance in Stephen Fears’ Oscar nominated Mrs Henderson Presents. Dorian played Christian the house pianist for the Windmill Theatre and can be seen and heard accompanying Will Young, Judi Dench, and generally frolicking with the Windmill girls.