Phra Chenduriyang

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Phra Chenduriyang (Piti Vādyakara)
Native nameพระเจนดุริยางค์ (ปิติ วาทยะกร)
BornPeter Feit
(1883-07-13)July 13, 1883
Ban Thawai, Phra Pradaeng, Siam
DiedDecember 25, 1968(1968-12-25) (aged 85)
Bangkok, Thailand
OccupationMusic Composer, Professor
Spouse(s)Bertha, Buakham and Lim
Parent(s)Jacob Feit (father)
Thong-yu (mother)

Phra Chenduriyang (Piti Vādyakara[1]) (Thai: พระเจนดุริยางค์ (ปิติ วาทยะกร), RTGSPiti Wathayakon; born as Peter Feit, 13 July 1883; died 25 December 1968) was a Thai composer, conductor, music teacher, collector, and arranger. He was the son of a German-American immigrant (Jacob Feit or Veit[2]) and a Mon-Thai mother.[3] However, he never left Thailand and identified as "100 percent Thai". He composed the Thai National Anthem.[4]

Peter Feit's father Jacob, who was a musician too, had arrived in Siam (as Thailand was still called at the time) during the reign of King Rama V (Chulalongkorn) and became a trumpet teacher at the royal court. Peter studied piano and Western string instruments with his father and at the Assumption College, Bangkok. In 1917 he joined the Royal Entertainment Department and formed the first Western-style orchestra in Siam.[4][5] King Rama VI (Vajiravudh) appointed him deputy director,[6] later director of the "Royal Western string orchestra" and granted him the feudal title and name of Phra Chenduriyang (translating to "skilled with musical instruments"). Phra Chenduriyang was primarily responsible for the spread of Western classical music in Siam,[7] teaching many young Thais.[4] On the other hand, he also collected and notated Thai folk music which had only been passed down orally until that time.

After the Siamese revolution of 1932, the new rulers who called themselves the "People's Party" (Khana Ratsadon) tasked Chenduriyang—having been the royal music advisor to the Thai court—with composing the music for the Thai National Anthem (Phleng Chat).[5] He was reluctant to accept this order as he was a loyal liegeman of the king, but had to relent. Reportedly, the melody came to his mind during a tram ride, and is inspired by Brahms' Symphony No. 1. The corresponding lyrics were written by Khun Wichitmatra[8] His Western orchestra became a core component of the Fine Arts Department,[4][9] a government agency established by the revolutionaries. In 1939, during Thaification in Thailand, he adopted the Thai name Piti Vādyakara. Between 1940 and 1950 he was a professor of music at the Silpakorn University, Bangkok. Among his students were King-to-be Bhumibol Adulyadej, Eua Sunthornsanan, Wet Sunthonjamon, Sa-nga Arampir and Saman Kanchanaphalin.[10]

Phra Cheduriyang died of heart failure in Bangkok on 25 December 1968, at the age of 85. He had ten children and twenty grandchildren.[4]


  1. ^ "นามสกุลพระราชทาน อักษร ว เลขที่ ๔๑๙๕ วาทยะกร Vâdyakara". Phya Thai Palace. 2013. Retrieved 2014-12-17.
  2. ^ Mandy Radics (18 July 2009). "Der Auswanderer-Sohn und die Hymne". Trierischer Volksfreund (in German).
  3. ^ Gustaf Dietrich. "Die thailändische Nationalhymne – ihre Wurzeln reichen nach Trier" (in German). Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Nicholas Grossman, ed. (2009). Chen Duriyang, anthem composer. Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News since 1946. Editions Didier Millet. p. 163.
  5. ^ a b London, Ellen (2008). Thailand Condensed: 2000 years of history and culture. Marshall Cavendish. p. 110.
  6. ^ Mattani Mojdara Rutnin (1996). Dance, Drama, and Theatre in Thailand: The Process of Development and Modernization. Silkworm Books. p. 271.
  7. ^ Arne Kislenko (2004). Culture and Customs of Thailand. Greenwood. p. 67.
  8. ^ Rachawadi (10 January 2007). "A Tale of Two Anthems". Thaiways. 23 (19).
  9. ^ David Horn; Dave Laing; John Shepherd (eds.). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. Part 2: Locations. V. p. 220.
  10. ^ Lamnao Eamsa-ard (2006). Thai Popular Music: The Representation of National Identities and Ideologies Within a Culture in Transition (Ph.D. thesis). Edith Cowan University. pp. 81–82.