Simon Jeffes

Born in Sussex in 1949, Simon Jeffes, composer of ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café, spent much of his early childhood in Canada. He returned to the UK to study music in the late 1960s. In 1972, he conceived the idea for the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the avant-garde (yet totally accessible) musical ensemble he would lead for the rest of his life. The PCO would go on to record dozens of Jeffes’s instrumental compositions, which encompassed everything from classical pieces to ambient experiments, to outright hoe-downs. Many of the PCO’s recordings were subsequently used in films and especially in television commercials; many people will be familiar with PCO pieces such as Music For A Found Harmonium, Telephone and Rubber Band or Scherzo and Trio even if they don’t know the titles of these tunes (or even who performed them). A posthumous album of Jeffes’s solo piano compositions was released in 2000. He died in 1997.