The Penguin Cafe Orchestra (PCO) was a collective of performing musicians created by classically trained British guitarist, composer and arranger Simon Jeffes. Jeffes and cellist co-founder Helen Liebmann were core members throughout its life and a number of other musicians joined as the band grew and developed, many of whom appear on the PCO's six studio 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 a brain tumour in 1997.