Katherine Olinger

Katherine Olinger
Adjunct Instructor of Music


  • Piano instruction
  • Piano learning methods
  • Piano performance
  • Piano proficiency


  • B.A., Music, Piano Performance, Fort Lewis College, 2002


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About Kathy Olinger

Kathy Olinger has played piano for over 50 years, and has taught piano for 36 of them. Since beginning her career in Durango in 1979, she has taught dozens of pianists of all ages and abilities in her private teaching studio. Her professional performance experience includes musical productions of every variety: theater productions, studio recording sessions, public and private recitals, lobby and lounge music, church services, and special events of all types. Recent performances include Merely Players’ summer 2008 production of Forever Plaid and Durango High School’s 2013 production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In 2015 she accepted the position of organist and choir accompanist for First United Methodist Church of Durango.

Kathy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance at Fort Lewis College in 2002, where she studied with Ying Ying Liu, Eleanor Elkins and Lisa Campi-Walters. Previously she studied with Peter Amstutz and Lambert Orkis. 

As accompanist for the Fort Lewis College Music Department, Kathy prepares and performs dozens of pieces from the vocal, wind and string repertoires each semester. In addition, she is a professor of piano proficiency courses. Kathy has always been dedicated to making the learning process as fast and efficient as possible for her students, while maintaining the highest standards of performance. To that end she studies the current scientific research on learning and the brain, and applies them to her teaching and playing experience to create cutting edge piano learning methods. She is currently developing her piano method, Piano Ninja.  

Kathy is the composer of three albums of piano and piano-and-cello music: Homecoming, For Every Newborn Mother, and Piano Celebrations.