The Vegetable Orchestra from Vienna are blurring the lines between arts and crafts, music and cooking. And probably exactly in the way you’d expect.
Yes, they are an orchestra that plays with instruments made from vegetables. Yes, they make every instrument themselves from fresh produce sourced from local markets. And yes, they use the vegetables to make soup after they perform. Intrigued? We’re not surprised.
Meet the Vegetable Orchestra, the 10-piece band from Vienna who play instruments made entirely from veggies, then cook them to make soup for their audiences.
We stumbled the Vegetable Orchestra on the excellent Great Big Story Vimeo channel, which is packed with great little oddities like this.
After a little more digging we learned that not only do the band perform regularly in front of fairly sizeable audiences, but since 1998 they’ve put out three records; the latest being 2010’s Onionoise. The ‘orchestra’ is made up of 10 musicians, and they craft their instruments from a range of vegetables.
“A pumpkin works very well on its own as a bass drum, and you can make all sorts of instruments—like flutes, recorders and xylophones—from carrots,” Jörg Piringer, a musician from the Vegetable Orchestra told City Lab.
“Rub two leeks together like they were a violin and a bow, and you get a sort of squeak that can be really very loud. Onion skins rubbed together also make a nice maraca-like rustle.”
They’re also constantly striving to create new instruments and mess around with new ideas. And with materials as malleable and modular as vegetables, it would seem that the possibilities are endless.
“We constantly develop new instruments,” says their website’s Q&A page. “Each time we perform we refine our instruments or experiment with new variants, so it is more like an evolution than a new creation of instruments. Sometimes we only combine two ideas and create a new instrument that way.”
The whole concept may seem a little crazy, but the musicians take their art dead seriously, taking cues from fellow forward thinking artists like Aphex Twin and John Cage. As City Lab note, over the past 18 years, they have played audiences across the world, performing at gallery openings, exhibitions, community events, and their own headline shows.