Arthur Jeffes

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Arthur Jeffes
Birth nameArthur William Phoenix Young Jeffes
Born (1978-07-21) 21 July 1978 (age 41)
Paddington, London, England
GenresChamber jazz, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, explorer
Associated actsPenguin Cafe, Sundog, Sam Lee

Arthur William Phoenix Young Jeffes (born 21 July 1978, Paddington, London, England) is an English composer, musician, and arctic explorer.[1] He is the frontman of the musical group Penguin Cafe, a group he formed in 2007 to play the music of his father's band, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. He is one half of the band Sundog.[2]

Early life[edit]

Jeffes was born in London to the artist Emily Young and musician and composer, Simon Jeffes. Jeffes's interest in experimental music was recognised by his father when he took a hammer to the keys of his father's piano.[3] While both of his parents nurtured his musicality he was encouraged to base any career on a strong academic background. He read Archaeology and Anthropology at Trinity College, Cambridge.[4]

Penguin Cafe[edit]

In 2007, original members of Penguin Cafe Orchestra performed a series of three memorial concerts, with Arthur Jeffes performing onstage with the band for the first time,[5] to mark ten years since Simon Jeffes' death.[6] Encouraged by the public response to the Union Chapel concerts, which all sold out, Jeffes decided that keeping his father's music alive was a worthwhile endeavour. He founded a new band, Penguin Cafe, with a new line-up, including Cass Browne of Gorillaz, Neil Codling of Suede, Oli Langford of Florence and the Machine and Darren Berry of Razorlight.[7] Penguin Cafe have performed on stage playing works of Simon Jeffes and their own pieces.

International Space Orchestra[edit]

In 2012, Jeffes was commissioned by the artist Nelly Ben-Hayoun to write several pieces for the NASA Kepler mission, to be played by the International Space Orchestra.[8][9] The pieces "1420" and "Aurora" were beamed into space in 2013. "1420" was inspired by the WOW! signal.

Other work[edit]

Jeffes has also formed recording duos with violinist Oli Langford as Sundog, and with pianist Mark Springer as Aparat.


Penguin Cafe
  • A Matter of Life... (2011)
  • The Red Book (2014)
  • The Imperfect Sea (2017)
  • Handfuls of Nights (2019)
  • Insofar (2012)
  • Aparat (2016)


  1. ^ "Blizzard: Race To The Pole". BBC. 25 July 2006.
  2. ^ "About". Sundog Music. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  3. ^ "A voyage round my father's orchestra". The Guardian. 12 June 2009.
  4. ^ "Arthur Jeffes (I)". Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  5. ^ Walters, John. "Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Union Chapel, London". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  6. ^ "Obituary: Simon Jeffes". The Independent. 18 December 1997.
  7. ^ "Penguin Cafe". Penguin Cafe. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  8. ^ Your Name Here. "Ground Control". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  9. ^ Nelly Ben Hayoun (2012-09-06). "The International Space Orchestra - Nelly Ben Hayoun". Retrieved 2014-06-23.