You won’t believe or not but in Vienna exists a Vegetable Orchestra (also known as Das erste Wiener Gemüseorchester, The First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra or The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra).I’m serious! There is an Austrian musical group who use instruments made entirely from fresh vegetables. They are the world’s foremost exponents of this rare genre. Worldwide one of a kind, the Vegetable Orchestra performs on instruments made of fresh vegetables. The utilization of various ever refined vegetable instruments creates a musically and aesthetically unique sound universe!
The group was founded in February 1998, consists of ten musicians, one cook, and one sound technician. The members of the ensemble are all active in various artistic areas (for example trained musicians, sound poets, sculptors, media artists, designers, and architects) and have worked together on conceptualizing and carrying out their project. The interdisciplinary approach is a crucial factor in researching and further developing the vegetable music. The intention is to create a sonorous experience which can be perceived with all senses. Musical concepts of the Fluxus movement, for example compositions from John Cage (Branches, 1976) could be considered as a source of inspiration for this unique orchestra. Their distinctive repertoire also seems to be deeply rooted in sound art and experimental and electronic music because they play unheard-of interpretations of Igor Stravinsky, the German electronic pioneers “Kraftwerk” (power work) or the Austrian band Radian as well as their own compositions. All the pieces feature various forms of graphical notation and are exclusively composed for live performance.
Their instruments, which are all of their own invention, include carrot recorders, clappers made from eggplant, trumpets made from zucchini, and numerous others, which are amplified with the use of special microphones. The instruments are made from scratch just one hour prior to each performance using the freshest vegetables available, then all ninety pounds of vegetables are cooked into a soup following the performance.
The Vegetable Orchestra has released three CDs: Gemise (veggies) (1999), Automate (2003) and Onionoise (2010). They have toured Europe, the United States and also performed in China and Singapore. After each performance the cook makes excellent dishes from the used vegetables!
The ensemble consists of Christina Bauer, Juergen Berlakovich, Nikolaus Gansterer, Susanna Gartmayer, Barbara Kaiser, Matthias Meinharter, Jörg Piringer, Richard Repey, Marie Steinauer, Ingrid Schlögl, Ulrich Troyer, and Tamara Wilhelm.