Ice Orchestra Lights Up with LEDs

The ice orchestra in the Swedish town of Luleå

The ice orchestra in the Swedish town of Luleå

We like to talk about applications of LEDs on Clearlysapphire. This might be one of the most unusual applications so far. The remote Swedish town of Luleå, near the Arctic Circle, features an orchestra with instruments made of ice and LEDs. Using an igloo that seats 170 people for an auditorium, the orchestra using ice instruments has been playing music for 15 years in Sweden and around the world.

American ex-patriot Tim Linhart makes each instrument in his back yard each year – from cellos and violas to an ice xylophone, guitars, congas and a banjo – out of ice.  The finely chiseled instruments take about a week each to build, but that’s not the hardest part of the process.  Being made of ice, you need to make sure that the instruments don’t melt when played. They are so fragile that even the heat from a player’s breath will make them out-of-tune.  And, of course, you need to play them in a suitably cold environment, an ice auditorium.

Linhart uses LEDs to light the instruments bringing an otherworldly feel to the concerts.  LEDs are a perfect medium for lighting the fragile instruments because they don’t emit heat along with light.  Traditional lighting would melt the instruments.

You can see the instruments with the LEDs and listen to a performance in this story from CNN.

For Further Reading

CNN, i(ce)-Tunes: Sweden’s incredible ice orchestra,