The Penguin Cafe Orchestra (PCO) was a collective of performing musicians founded by classically-trained English guitarist, composer and arranger Simon Jeffes. He and cellist co-founder Helen Liebmann were core members throughout the group's life. As the group grew and developed, a number of other musicians joined it, many of whom appear on the PCO's six studio and two live albums.

The PCO toured extensively during the 1980s and 1990s, and two albums, When in Rome... (1988) and Concert Program (1995) captured the sound of the live ensemble. The Penguin's sound is not easily categorized, but has elements of exuberant folk music and a minimalist aesthetic occasionally reminiscent of composers such as Philip Glass.

The Penguin Cafe Orchestra recorded and performed for 24 years until Jeffes died of an inoperable brain tumour in 1997. Several remaining members of the original group reunited for three concerts in 2007. Since then, five original members have continued to play concerts of PCO's music, initially as The Anteaters and more recently under the name The Orchestra That Fell to Earth.

In 2009 Simon Jeffes' son Arthur founded a distinct successor band called simply Penguin Cafe. Although it includes no original PCO members, it features many PCO pieces in its live repertoire, and records and performs new music written by the younger Jeffes.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1976 Music From the Penguin Cafe 4 7
1981 Penguin Cafe Orchestra 5 4
1984 Broadcasting From Home 4
1987 Signs of Life 4
1993 Union Cafe 5 4

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1996 Preludes Airs and Yodels: A Penguin Cafe Primer 1
2001 A Brief History 2
2001 A History 1
A History 1

Album + Live

Year Title RatingReleases
1988 When in Rome… 4 4
1995 Concert Program 4 3

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title RatingReleases
1999 Oskar und Leni 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1983 The Penguin Cafe Orchestra Mini Album 4 1

Unspecified type

Year Title RatingReleases
1987 Graz, Austria 1987-10-23 1

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