TAN CHONG YEW
“A musician noted for writing music with Malaysian touched for orchestra. Also known for re-arranging local songs for chamber group”.
Born in 1931 in Kuala Lumpur and received his education at the Chong Hwa High School Setapak (now Jalan Ipoh). His interest in music started at age 14 and received his Grade VIII (Royal School of Music) with distinction in four years and L.R.S.M. one year later. He was awarded a three year scholarship to study at Royal Academy of Music, London, majoring in piano performance and composition.
When he returned home 1956, Malaya was in high spirits with the prospects of independence. The desire to create our own national music stirred in him. Film Negara made him Director of Music in 1957.
In 1963 he became a pianist/arranger of Radio Orchestra, a post he held for the next 25 years. His maon focus was to score, notate and record strings ensemble music for “Muzika”, a weekly television series. Among his favourite compositions for orchestra are “Sejak Irama Kadazan” based on Sabahan ethnic music, “Harmony No. 1” with themes for Malay, Chinese and Indian characteristics by Ariff Ahmad, Mahkota Cinta for Soprano and Orchestra with verse Usman Awang.
Since his retirement he keeps himself busy by performing string music for various occasions.