[Dixielandjazz] New Musical Taste

Charlie Hooks charliehooks@earthlink.net
Mon, 02 Sep 2002 11:00:02 -0500

A new Viennese ensemble has been playing on instruments made from

The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra can play everything from the Radetzky March
to jazz on their carved-out carrots, aubergines and pumpkins.

They came up with the idea after studying the sounds of vegetables being

Jorg Piringer, the lead musician, plays a "gurkophone" horn which is made
from a hollowed cucumber, a green pepper and a carrot reed.

Fresh vegetables are used at each performance and afterwards a cook makes a
big pot of soup or stew for the musicians and audience to eat.

"We have to buy new vegetables before each rehearsal and performance as the
sound needs to be fresh. It takes a few hours to make the instruments," said
Nikolaus Gansterer, another player.

Matthias Meinharter, who invented and plays the leek violin, said: "When I
was young I was told not to play with my food. Now we're playing with food,
but we still eat it afterwards."

The ensemble uses between 10 and 20 players, depending on the venue and
composer, and its performances have received mixed reviews.

"Needs more salt," sniffed one Viennese critic.