Chee-Hwa Tan


Welcome and thank you for visiting!

This website showcases my work as a composer and makes available my compositions for piano and other instruments for purchase. You may browse through my Music Store to discover my music, or, scroll down to listen to my latest composition that inspired the name for Dayung Sampan Music.

To learn more about me and what my music represents, please read on and browse the About page.

Composer’s Creed

I believe in composition as a medium for sharing emotion and story.

I believe that there is healing and redemptive power in processing emotion through music. 

I believe that the beauty in music transcends cultures and personal differences.

I believe in creating that which is lovely. There is enough that is ugly in our world.

I believe in lyricism.

I believe that having contrasts and differences are intrinsic to life and music.

I believe that there is beauty in humor, as well as angst. 

I believe in simplicity.

I believe in wonder – as seen through the eyes of a child.

I believe that living life is a journey that often takes us to unexpected places.

And so it is with the gift of creating music: we embark on a journey of discovery;  a journey that can surprise us with joy.

Reflecting by water

The Sampan is a boat that you will find in South-East Asian waterways. Historically, this type of boat originated in China as an economical vessel constructed with just three planks. (Hence the Chinese: “San” = three and “Ban” = plank)

Having grown up in Malaysia, I love the image of the sampan boat as a metaphor for that journey we take when we communicate or process our emotions through music. It is also symbolic of our journey through life.  

“Dayung Sampan” is Malay/Indonesian for “paddle the boat” in English. It is also the title of one of my favorite childhood folk songs from the Malaysian and Indonesian region. I think this title reflects my philosophy as a composer, pianist and educator. I find joy in the journey of the entire music making process. It is not a journey by speed boat, but more the kind of journey that requires paddling the sampan boat – sometimes easily, and other times with great effort  –  through shallow, deep, or turbulent waters. 

I am delighted to share this journey with you through my music for piano and other instruments. It is my hope that through my music you may be surprised with joy .