Art Jarvinen

I became aware of Art Jarvinen aka While You Were Art a few years ago.

From The Real Frank Zappa Book:

Art Jarvinen…asked me to write an arrangement of “While You Were Out,” a solo from the Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar album, for his ensemble to play at one of the Monday Evening Concerts (remember the postcard with “We will be unable to play your piece because it requires a left-handed piano”? — those guys — they’re still in business). I created the arrangement on the Synclavier, and, using another of the machine’s features, printed out the parts. When he saw them, he realized that it was a difficult piece, and worried that his ensemble wouldn’t have enough time to rehearse it, as the concert was imminent. “You’re in luck,” I told him, “because you won’t even have to play it. All you have to do is learn to pretend to play it, and I’ll have the Synclavier take care of the rest. Just go out there and do what all the ‘Big Rock Groups’ have done for years — lip-sync it and make sure you look good on stage.” I made them a tape copy of the Synclavier performance and told him, “The way to pull this off is to have wires hanging out of your instruments leading into amplifiers and effects boxes on the floor. Any sound the audience hears that might be deemed ‘synthesized’ will be overlooked because there’s a wire coming out of your instrument.” Final result? The man who ran the concert series didn’t know the difference. The two classical reviewers from the major Los Angeles newspapers didn’t notice anything either. Nobody in the audience knew, except for David Ocker, my computer assistant, who had helped prepare the materials. Nobody knew that the musicians never played a note. It produced quite a scandal in ‘modern music circles.’ Several members of the ensemble, mortified by all the hoo-ha, swore they would never “do it again.” (Do what again? Prove to the world that nobody really knows what the fuck is going on at a contemporary music concert?)

WikiJawaka.

Art died in late 2010. Here’s a blog post/obit by Kyle Gann and Art’s web pages.
Edit: David Ocker on his friend Art.

His music is obscure, not widely heard. Here’s a rare performance of his string quartet that showed up on utube recently, performed at Beyond Music at Beyond Baroque, by the Formalist  Quartet.


Art Jarvinen: 100 cadences with four melodies, a chorale, and a coda (with bells on!). Formalist Quartet performing for the “Art Jarvinen birthday concert” at Beyond Baroque, January 27, 2012.


Conspiracy of Crows (Kathy Pisaro at Beyond Baroque, January 27, 2012.)

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