The Vegetable Orchestra in Vienna, Austria performs original music made and inspired by instruments made of vegetables. Cucumberophones, celery bongos and leek violins might seem like something out of a Max Fleischer cartoon, but they are very real. They yield original sounds and music, with an ephemeral quality because of the living – and fleeting – nature of vegetables…
“The reason why our music is kind of fresh is…because we are forced to make something new on stage to improvise …our musical instruments don’t stay the same…”
Members of the Orchestra forge original instruments using knives, drilling machines, and various other tools. Their work is really about unleashing the possibilities inherent in the most ordinary of things around us.
“You can make music out of nearly everything, each thing contains a very specific acoustic quality and represents an intricate universe of sound…each thing could be a tool to open up that point of view”.
The ensemble is dedicated to shifting old conceptions of what music can be made of. They are constantly developing new instruments, and sometimes use a computer to splice riffs of sound together to “compose” new pieces that they then perform live.
It’s worth checking out the orchestra’s website for interesting insight into their process (as well as music to buy and a schedule of concerts):
“…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…”
You can listen to some Vegetable Orchestra compositions here. We’re thinking making vegetable instruments would be a cool thing to do with kids…
To continue expanding our vegetable view, here’s Max Fleischer’s divine The Fresh Vegetable Mystery from 1939:
With huge thanks to Cara de Silva!