Dr. Tanarat Chaichana

Jazz Department
Jazz bassist, Composer

Career Highlights

Originally born in Bangkok, Thailand, Dr. Tanarat Chaichana is a jazz bassist, composer, and bandleader who regularly participates in numerous jazz performances, international music festivals and appears in the highly demanded musician list in Thailand’s music scene. He spent almost five years of musical experiences in the USA, where he worked and performed with various international jazz artists such as Mulgrew Miller, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, and David Liebman, and authentic local musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana, for example, Ellis, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Steve Masakowski, Victor Atkins, and Shannon Powell.

Dr. Chaichana was an Ellis Marsalis Jr. Jazz Scholarship recipient in 2012–2014 granted by the University of New Orleans, and he also earned a master of music from the jazz studies program by the same university. After moving to Bangkok, he began to work as a casual lecturer at the Faculty of Music at Silpakorn University, where he taught bass lessons and jazz arranging and composition, as well as commercial music composition from 2015 to 2018. Dr. Chaichana decided to move to Wellington, New Zealand, in 2018 to continue his higher musical research experience and seek for the meaning of musical individuality, focusing on self-expression through improvisation and developing the musical character of his original compositions.

He holds a PhD in music from New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, specializing in jazz orchestra composition. Dr. Chaichana was also a recipient of the Victoria Doctoral Scholarship (2018–2021) and the Joint Research Committee (JRC-2019). He also won the first prize in the Shirley N. Svenson jazz composition competition in 2015 (USA) and Niland Prize in jazz composition in 2021 (New Zealand). His second jazz orchestra album, Portraits of Thailand, is being produced under the SKYDESK record and is scheduled for release at the end of 2023. This album also features international jazz artists from the USA, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand, including Alex Sipiagin, Jacam Manricks, Tom Collins, Jeremy Warren, Chris Merz, Mike Booth, and Rodger Fox.

Dr. Chaichana is now appointed as a full-time lecturer in jazz studies by the College of Music at Mahidol University, where he teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the jazz department and has been working since June 2022 until the present. Currently, Dr. Chaichana’s newest artistic research directions are focusing on developing jazz composition methods for writing in a nontraditional jazz orchestra and also exploring the musical hybridity of several cross-cultural music compositions demonstrated in jazz aspects. Aside from that, he has expertise in conducting jazz research in many directions, including performance, pedagogy, history and social practices. Dr. Chaichana also has an immense passion for mentoring and supervising undergraduate and graduate students to help them reach their full potential.


2022 – Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) – Doctor of Philosophy in Music
2014 – University of New Orleans (USA) – Master of Music in Jazz Studies 
2010 – Silpakorn University (Thailand) – Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies 

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