November 8, 2010
Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

Making Instruments with the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra was absolutely incredible (see video below)! The Indiana Humanities Council is proud to have supported their Saturday performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The fun began on Friday (see photos below) with an instrument making workshop, where participants could learn to make their own carrot flutes, cucumberophones and a variety of other instruments! Then, on Saturday night, the orchestra played a great variety of songs to an enthusiastic crowd of all ages. From witty remarks to acknowledging the short-term nature of the instruments, the musicians were extremely entertaining and kept the entire audience engaged.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, they are a highly talented group of musicians from Vienna whose instruments are fresh vegetables. They pride themselves on having no musical boundaries and constantly exploring new genres as they develop new instruments!  I’d highly recommend reading the entertaining Q&A section of their website to learn more.

As an audience member with a deep affection for the humanities and arts, I loved this performance. It really brought human culture and shared condition into the spotlight as I experienced food being used in such an innovative and unconventional way. When the performance ended, the musicians welcomed the audience to take home any of the instruments (that had not been ripped to pieces or blown across the auditorium). With unmistakable joy, people–yes, of all ages–rushed to the stage and excitedly filled their arms with pumpkins, potatoes, cabbages and other musical treasures. The performance was incredible, but the ability to engage the audience through this shared medium made it an unforgettable experience. Certainly food is deeply embedded into each of our cultures and lives, but experiencing it in a new and artistic medium brought a new richness:  a performance by Austrian musicians and the instruments they made themselves…with the local Indianapolis community…using materials from Indianapolis farmers’ markets…to create a beautiful performance that brings into question music, food and how can we redefine some of the most basic cultural elements to inspire, innovate and make new.

Photographs courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

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