German Language Blog

Das Wiener Gemüseorchester – The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in Food, Music

Do you play an instrument? Maybe the carrot? The cucumber? The pepper? The celeriac? Leek? Or parsley? What sounds like a vegetarian shopping list are, for some people, indeed tools to make music. How can music be fresher and healthier than that?


The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra was founded in 1998 and consists of twelve members who use different vegetables to produce a quite experimental kind of music that fuses a variety of music styles such as contemporary music, beat-oriented house, jazz, noise, dub, and clicks’n’cuts.

All instruments are self-made of fresh vegetables and dried plant material. Very popular veggies are carrots, peppers, cucumbers, dried pumpkins, leek, artichokes, celeriac, and onionskin. This results in instruments like: pumpkin drum, celery guitar, cucumber phone, carrot recorder, eggplant clap, celeriac bongo, leek violin, radish bass flute, leek zucchini vibrator, pumpkin triangle, and carrot marimba. In order to build the instruments the musicians use drilling machines, sharp knives, and other kitchen tools. How long it takes to prepare a vegetable instrument depends very much on the instrument. For example, a tomato takes no time at all, and other instruments like a cucumber phone or carrot recorder take between ten to thirty minutes.

The members of the Vegetable Orchestra don’t see their music as a fun project but take it serious and they give concerts all over the world. This can make it sometimes difficult to get the right vegetables. Since vegetables go off soon the musicians have to build their instruments immediately before a concert. Further, they cannot carry the vegetables with them on the plane. Therefore, they need to buy all the vegetables in the country where they appear on stage. One problem is that the quality of the vegetables differs from country to country. For example, in order to build a carrot recorder it is necessary that the carrot has a certain size. Since the instruments do only last for one concert, the Vegetable Orchestra gives some parts of the vegetables in a soup and distributes it to the audience after the concert.

The members see themselves as “Gemüsiker” and “Gemüsikerinnen”, which is a blend of the German words Gemüse (vegetables) and Musiker (m) / Musikerinnen (f) (musicians). So, that you can talk of “vegeticians” in English.

Until now the orchestra has released three albums. The latest one is called “Onionoise”. If you want to know how the instruments are built and how they sound watch the clip below. Enjoy.



If you live in Russia, France or Hong Kong you have the chance to attend a concert this year. The dates are:


30.11.2011 International House of Music, Moscow (Russia)

13.12.2011 Reims (France)

30.12.2011 Ngau Chi Wan Civic Center/Theatre, Hong Kong

31.12.2011 Tai Po Civic Center/Theatre, Hong Kong

1.1.2012 Yuen Long Theatre, Hong Kong


die Karotte – carrot
der Kürbis – pumpkin
die Gurke – cucumber
das Radieschen – radish
die Paprika – pepper
der Lauch – leek
die Sellerieknolle – celeriac
die Selleriestange – celery
die Aubergine – eggplant
die Zwiebel – onion
der Knoblauch – garlic
der Blumenkohl – cauliflower
die Zucchini – zucchini
der Brokkoli – broccoli
die Tomate – tomato
der Kopfsalat – lettuce
der Eisbergsalat – ice lettuce
der Feldsalat / die Rapunzel – lamb’s lettuce
die Petersilie – parsley
der Schnittlauch – chives
der Dill – dill
das Basilikum – basil
die Frühlingszwiebel – spring onion
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About the Author: Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


  1. mex:

    pretty cool. go figure….for something as conventional as the above –

    • Sandra Rösner:

      @mex Pretty cool, too! Virtually, there is music everywhere and in everything 😀