Haguenau, France

By Vincent Kessler

I love cooking and I have a passion for music. What then could please me more than an orchestra that plays music with instruments made out of vegetables?

I cannot remember when I first heard about the Vegetable Orchestra. But when I realized that they were planning to hold a concert some 40 kilometers from my home, I got in touch and was given the opportunity to watch them prepare for a performance.

Based in Vienna, Austria, the orchestra was created in 1998 by artists from a range of backgrounds, from musicians to people in visual fields like painting and design. Their website describes their sound as: “influenced by experimental contemporary, electronic music, musique concrete, noise, improvised music [and] pop music”.

Their brand of playing is summed up simply as: “vegetable style”.

Preparing a concert is a lot of work, as almost all the instruments have to be remade for each performance. The orchestra’s website even explains: “it is hard to play on bad or non-fresh vegetables as they prove to be unreliable… if an instrument breaks just before or during a solo for example, it is often because of a low quality vegetable.” The fresher the produce, the better the sound!

 

After spending three hours with drills and knives preparing their instruments, the musicians and technicians have to do another three hours of sound checks. As you can imagine a “leek violin” is not the most powerful instrument in the world and needs to be well amplified.