Orchestra Makes Music Using Instruments You Won't Believe
Joshua Patton 9/15/2017
A group of musicians in Vienna, Austria entertain big crowds every night, then after the performance people gather round and eat the instruments. Of course, this orchestra is unlike any other you've seen before, and is likely the only one to have a dedicated cook.
The group is known as Das erste Wiener Gemüseorchester, which is German for "the vegetable orchestra." They've been around since 1998, carving instruments out of fruits and vegetables, creating unique music each night.
Susanna Gartmayer spoke to Great Big Story in September 2016, saying that while their act may seem like gimmick, they are very serious musicians.
"Very often people think it's going to be funny and then they realize it's not really. We really do music. It's not impossible to make music with vegetables."
Gartmeyer narrates as the group chooses their vegetables at the market, and then we get to see how they cut and carve the food to make everything from percussive instruments to working flutes. Some vegetables, like peppers, are simply rubbed together to make eerie, musical sounds.
What's interesting about this act which uses food items as musical instruments, is that very little food is actually wasted. While the musicians carve up the veggies to make their flutes or percussion instruments, what they cut away is then gathered up and made into a soup.
After the performance, their actual instruments are thrown away, but what was left of them is shared with the audience as they and the performs have a communal meal.
But what's most remarkable about the Vegetable Orchestra is the music they actually produce. In the video below, you can hear that it has an almost otherworldly quality. Still, it also has a very natural tone to it as well, mostly simple percussion sounds with the occasional melody from a wind instrument.
They have released three albums so far, and have gone on tour in the early part of the decade. Usually, though, they operate out of a theater in their native Vienna. The musicians will sit onstage in a semi-circle, playing vegetable versions of contemporary and classical songs.
Along with Gartmeyer, there are a number of other musicians in the group: Christina Bauer, Juergen Berlakovich, Nikolaus Gansterer, Barbara Kaiser, Matthias Meinharter, Jörg Piringer, Richard Repey, Marie Steinauer, Ingrid Schlögl, Ulrich Troyer, and Tamara Wilhelm