The Vegetable Orchestra
Foto: ©zoefotografie
Making instruments for the concert ©ArsVitha

The Vegetable Orchestra

The Vegetable Orchestra was founded in in Vienna in 1998. The unconventional orchestra uses a wide variety of vegetables as musical instruments. The 10-12 member ensemble is a heterogeneous group of artists who understand their interdisciplinarity as an essential part of their musical self-image, therefore they work together on the research and further development of vegetable music. Besides trained musicians members of the orchestra are also sculptors, architects and designers as well as media artists, writers and sound poets. Current ensemble members are Jürgen Berlakovich, Verena Fuchs, Susanna Gartmayer, Barbara Kaiser, Matthias Meinharter, Jörg Piringer, Ingrid Schlögl, Ulrich Troyer, Stefan Voglsinger and Martina Winkler. Former members among others are Christina Bauer Bob Kaiser, Ernst Reitermaier Nikolaus Gansterer Richard Repey Maria Steinauer Tamara Wilhelm Sabine Höllwerth Stefan Kühn. Former member Nikolaus Gansterer reported about ​​how the ensemble started: …“There is a big festival for contemporary music in Vienna every year, "Wien Modern". We sat in the audience and thought, what if this big orchestra came on stage and the musicians had baskets full of vegetables instead of violins? After we performed together for the first time, a performance; in Vienna, we pursued further this idea. At first, none of us knew how it was supposed to work”…

The ensemble tries to explore the possibilities of vegetal sound production and is constantly searching for new instruments and sound worlds. Sources of inspiration for the orchestra can be as diverse as John Cage, Steve Reich, Kraftwerk, Radian, Christian Fennesz, Franz Hautzinger, Aphex Twin, Merzbow, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, Klangforum Wien, as well as influences coming from sound art, experimental and electronic music. Collaborations with composers such as Franz Hautzinger (2000-2004), Klangforum Wien (2000) and the Danish composer Bent Soerensen (2008) expanded their compositional spectrum. Various types of vegetables are used as instruments, for example hollowed-out cucumbers or carrots as flutes or bell peppers as trumpets. Occasionally, kitchen appliances are used to support the sound such as mixers, juicers, knives or graters. The amplification of the often very sensitive and quiet tones of the vegetal sound bodies is made possible by using special microphones, a mixture of condenser, vocal and contact microphones. The music of the orchestra is notated. Graphic fields show the musicians when they come into play in the piece. However, you are free to use this period of time, whether for longer tones or shorter ones, loud or quiet. This, together with the fact that the instruments are newly made for each performance of the vegetable orchestra.


Concerts and Links


Concerts: The Vegetable Orchestra performs in Europe and Asia, including the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Sonar Festival in Barcelona, ​​the Roma Europa Festival in Rome and the Royal Festival Hall in London. The TV station ARTE dedicated a documentary to them.

Recordings (selection) 2020 Transplants Versions feat. Mystica Tribe - The Vegetable Orchestra (Single; tres)
; 2018 Green Album - The Vegetable Orchestra (tres); 
2010 Onionoise - The Vegetable Orchestra (tres) 2009 Minimal Techno Vol. 7 ([futureaudio] Records) // Track 3: Pumpkin Jam (Märtini Brös. Feat. MC Veggie Mix)
 2003 Automate - The Vegetable Orchestra (tres); 2003 Hearings (tres) // Track 4: Leeks
1999 Gemüse - The Vegetable Orchestra (Extraplatte)
 1999 Construction Sounds (Construction Sounds) // Track 37: Letschomassaker

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