He studied singing in Beijing, and became a soloist with the Chinese National Orchestra.
He performs as a soloist with Shen Yun Performing Arts under his Chinese name, Yuan Qu. After getting a medical degree and practicing as a doctor in rural Tibet, he auditioned to join a performing arts group. Dorje subsequently went to Europe, training with famed operatic singers including Eduardo Giménez and Carlo Bergonzi.
He speaks Tibetan, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, and English. Early In 1975, he was among more than 500 children sent to Beijing by the government for reeducation, and was housed with a Chinese family that forbade him from speaking Tibetan, or exercising his religious or cultural traditions. While in Beijing, Dorje was exposed to a contraband recording of Luciano Pavarotti’s “O Sole Mio," which influenced him deeply.
Recalling the moment, Dorje says he remembered thinking, “this is the way music should sound. This is how I want to sing, for the rest of my life."
Despite his passion for the arts, authorities decided that Dorje should receive medical training. He was sent to school to become a doctor.
Following completion of his medical training, Dorje was assigned to a remote Tibetan village to establish a medical practice, but never gave up on his wish to become a professional singer. After several years, he auditioned and was admitted to an arts troupe in his hometown of Chamdo. Later, he studied in Beijing, earning a Masters degree at the Beijing Vocal Music Research Institute in 1993.
He became a soloist with the Chinese National Orchestra, a national folk music ensemble. In 1997, Dorje went to Spain to participate in the Francisco Viñas International Vocal Competition. In 1998, he began studying under María Soler and Eduardo Giménez at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona.
He later trained under Carlo Bergonzi in Buseto, Italy, and Isabel Penago in Madrid. Dorje also received vocal instruction from the late Luciano Pavarotti. Dorje has maintained a connection with his native Tibet.
In 2003 he performed at the Dalai Lama’s Interfaith Service at the Washington National Cathedral, and the following year he performed at a “Free Tibet" concert in Amsterdam. In 2008, while studying at South Cheshire College in Britain, Dorje beat out 7,000 other contestants to reach the final auditions for the British talent search programme, The X Factor.