An Art Jarvinen Portrait

There were so many sides to Art Jarvinen that I can’t possibly represent most of them here, but I offer several drops from his mercurial musical output, some of them commercially unavailable, others on extremely obscure labels:

Egyptian Two-Step – the first piece I heard, and which made me sit up and take notice with its aerosol spray cans as percussion, performed by the E.A.R. Unit

Breaking the Chink – performed by Icebreaker

from Sgt. Pecker, his Beatles parody:

Taller than Jesus
Man, My Guitar Playing Really Reeks
Where Can I Bury My Shark?
9 Revolutions per Minute

Endless Bummer – with Miroslav Tadik: third track, titled Part 1

25 Lines for 25 Quires – listen closely to the lyrics

The Queen of Spain – third movement, harpsichords and drums, based on Scarlatti

Serious Immobilities – an excerpt from his theme and variations on Satie’s Vexations, the whole thing lasting 24 hours


  1. Mark Surya says

    Thank you very much for this. I have wanted to hear Mr. Jarvinen’s music for a very long time; but besides the Egyptian Two-Step, could never find it anyway. What a shame to meet him this way.

  2. Joseph Kubera says

    How sad to hear he’s gone. I’m not up on all the good composers out there, though I’ve heard of Art. Your links are my first intro to his music, which I’m enjoying a lot. It’s always such a pleasure to discover a composer you like; it’s just too bad it took me this long.

  3. Steve Lockwood says

    This is a shocker. True, I didn’t know Art that well, but everytime we spoke and whenever I heard him play, I always left the encounter with a feeling of wanting to know him better, and that I would learn a lot if I did.
    We had a long phone conversation one day over a book he wrote that I checked out of the CalArts library that discussed different techniques that “new” music composers use. There was a quiet maturity about him. He’s someone I would’ve loved to work with, but I couldn’t find something for us to do. I really liked how different he was then me. I will miss him.
    Steve Lockwood