Culture is served  September 2010

Veggie Music

The Sound of Vegetables.

Photo: Luka

Vegetable concerts

The Vegetable Orchestra tours Europe and the United States

Do not miss the opportunity to hear the Vegetable Orchestra. For this Viennese orchestra’s first would tour, the group will perform songs from their albums Gemise (1999) and Automate (2003), as well as mix of pop and classical music. Enjoy the sounds of vegetables without the use of sequencers, synthesizers or computers. The concerts will be 100% natural.

September concerts:

Saturday 4- Sunday 5: Bies! Theatre Festival –  (Dordrecht, NL);
Friday 10: Bestival – (Isle of Wight, UK);
Thursday 23: Malvern Theatres –  (Malvern, UK);
Saturday 25: Aldeburgh Music –  (Aldeburgh, UK);
Sunday 26: Musica Festival –  (Strasbourg, F).

From October 2-12, the Vegetable Orchestra will be in France and from November 3-14 the group will tour the United States. (See their website for more information.)


Imagine trying to play a pumpkin. Or a cucumber, pepper or eggplant. The members of the Vegetable Orchestra, founded in Vienna in 1998, do just that.
After carving and shaping the vegetables into instruments, the musicians are able to perform a wide variety of music, from classical to electronic, using the fruit of the land.

The morning of a performance, while their fellow artists are rehearsing on stage, the twelve orchestra members head to the local market in search of the freshest, most colorful vegetables to convert into instruments.
Then, they return to their workshop and carve, shape and assemble the vegetables to form guitars, flutes, trumpets, violins and even new instruments.

The fun, however, doesn’t stop there.
At the end of each concert, the audience is served a delicious soup made with the vegetable scrapings left over from making the instruments and flavored with herbs and spices.
This allows the public to experience music not only with their hearts and minds, but with their taste buds too.

The musical selection of the Vegetable Orchestra varies from original compositions to the electronic music of historic groups like the Kraftwerk, as well as songs written by John Cage and pieces composed by Johann Strauss.

The passionate musicians care more about the music itself than they are fascinated with their instruments.
They are neither vegetarian, nor vegan.
They began this project for fun, but then it became something serious.

The orchestra is made up of musicians, architects, designers, visual artists, writers and poets.

Curious to know the first vegetable instrument that they tried to play?
A tomato in 1997.
And the most difficult to make? A carrot flute.
In order to make a successful instrument, the vegetables must be top quality, medium sized and well proportioned.
It generally takes about half an hour to carve an instrument.

When the sounds of the vegetables are not enough, the Vegetable Orchestra will turn to tableware, like plates and spoons.

The Vegetable Orchestra during a concert. Credits:  Matthias Friedrich

The Vegetable Orchestra during a concert. Credits: Matthias Friedrich

Just as the Futurists preached, everything, in nature, has its own specific acoustic quality and generates a universe of sound.
You just have to look for the secret music in things.

Mariagrazia Villa

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