Voice Improvisation workshops starting up again!

We can sing again, yay!

–> not only outside, as we did with the Genetic Choir Ensemble in June to practice the fine art of soloing, but also again inside, in well-ventilated studio spaces.

So we fixed some dates, and you can inscribe to these upcoming workshops, if you like:

6 September 2020One Day workshop Genetic Choir

10:30-17:00, studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam
costs: 73 euro incl. BTW / Reserve by clicking here.

UPDATE: we postpone the start of the Friday Morning Sessions until January:

Friday Morning Sessions – Spring 2021

10:00-12:30, studio de Eester, on every second Friday morning, starting in January 2021. Exact dates still to be announced.
costs: 236 euro incl. BTW for 8 morning workshops, every second Friday.

You can inscribe if you have done a Genetic Choir workshop before (or if you come to the workshop on 6 September, see above). For reserving your place in the Friday Morning group this Autumn, click here.

Depending on corona regulations from September we will work in two smaller groups or one bigger group. Timing on the Fridays might change a little bit still due to this uncertainty.

You can find more info on all the workshops we give on the Genetic Choir website, here.

See you singing! 😀

WhatIIIF? 2020 goes online

Genetic Choir performance projects are on corona pause, but through our affiliation with the interdisciplinary WhatIIIF? improvisation network we are busy developing new initiatives with the current restrictions inspiring us (never waste a good crisis, as they say 😀 ) !

Instead of meeting physically in Berlin (the festival is postponed to May 2021), WhatIIIF? now started two distinct projects that accept the limitations due to the covid-19 situation and try to create momentum from these circumstances in their own ways:

WhatIIIF? 2020 – Nowhere and Everywhere festival

How to improvise via technological tools like tele-conferencing?  What are the limitations, what are the joys of these modes of live gatherings, extending into the living spaces of so many people at once, making all those places performance spaces to be used!

Instead of waiting for the moment that physically coming together is possible again, we attempt the impossible and invite everyone to do their own performative research in the possibilities and restrictions of performing via Zoom (or other tools).

We started this in May with the interdisciplinary group of improvisers who had been planning to come to Berlin. We now want to open these performance and research sessions up to anyone out there who is interested.

We have a WhatsApp group in which we announce the online gatherings. Fixed appointment for performing together are for now Wednesdays at 14:00 hours (CEST). With an optional aftertalk/afterdraw session afterwards. Also other performance or research gatherings can be announced through the same channel.

Click here to read more and how to join the research!

An Expandable Networked Universe for the Art of Improvisation

We also started gathering our network and are at the moment looking for funds to build a website as a platform and interactive library for all improvisation artists, from any country, from any discipline. We want to connect improvisation artists and audiences now that physical proximity and travelling is so much prohibited and most of us might still be sitting at home for months to come. A website to research, get inspired and connected and engage about the art of improvisation – with each other and with our audiences.

Read more about our ambitious plans here.

You are very welcome to join this network of now already 83 artists and organisations from 20 European countries who support this idea and want to be involved.

Contact thomas@genetic-choir.org if you would like to be part of this idea!

Once the project starts happening, we will post more here.

Improvising in times of Corona

dear everyone,

as you can imagine, all activities of the Genetic Choir that relate to physically being together, in training or with an audience, have been postponed at the moment.

Concretely, this means cancelling the Space Sound Bodies workshop and postponing the Friday morning sessions of March/April. Also the Huis van Lied en Geluid activities are postponed for now. We hope that in June we can start again, and that the Edge of Language workshop can happen as planned.

For May, we were involved in organising the Improvisation Festival in Berlin (WhatIIIF2020), which we will postpone to 2021 for the physical meeting, and we are thinking of creating an online improvised festival for the coming month(s). If it happens, we will let you know.

And here some more thoughts, for in the waiting state:


It is not the world’s choice, and the situation is severe, but it is also worth considering that these are big times for improvisation, from small to big : parents with their children, self-employed people, businesses, care organisations, governments, everyone is improvising – we have no choice.

Here’s the serious side of improvisation, as improvisation is, as you know from training, so much more than just being playful:
How to act and react inside a context that is completely new to us and has many unsure variables that we cannot control? How to make choices that are bold, enriching and constructive for you and your environment in order to let new structures emerge?

Governments and care organisations are improvising on the very edge of the knife, having to make decisions with incomplete data daily that effect (current or future) life and death of a lot of people. But also the rest of us is asked to improvise, find new (daily) meaning for our lives while being mainly at home, create new structures and warm experiences for ourselves and the ones that are close to us, while the times are uncertain.


To create live music together is such a strong, life-giving force, and it seems that we will run short of it in the coming months, although there are a lot of examples that could inspire us to initiate live music in our own neighbourhood: There are the balcony/window concerts that we saw starting in Italy, there is howling together as wolves every evening at a set time (in the US). Do you know of any other nice examples of creating live music in Corona times?

Seems like these are times when you could get to know your neighbours in a different way than you would have done without this crisis, by for example asking them if they want to sing with you from their windows? 😀

As long distance (online) making live music together is concerned, things are a bit more complicated for improvisers because of the time-latency during online calls. But it is not impossible for some kinds of music at least…. Maybe there are some technology savvy improvisers who have found good ways, or will develop this now that the need is higher than usual.

For any of the above, we are curious to hear thoughts, links and inspiration from you, if you like. Get in touch by any method you know, or via: info@genetic-choir.org

Wishing everyone out there health, happiness and music in these trying times!


Explore Space and Language in two weekend workshops in April and June

Planning is ready for two Genetic Choir weekend workshops that are coming up:

SPACE SOUND BODIES – 18/19 April 2020

Our body, the space around us and our voice in the room are all subtly interconnected: if one changes, the other two are affected. The focus of this workshop is to become specialists of this triangular relationship, to be moved and transformed by it while we instantly compose musical performances in space.

THE EDGE OF LANGUAGE – 13/14 June 2020

When we improvise with our voices, sometimes sounds emerge which are language-like, or even very much like comprehensible words. How do we treat this moment when singers are on the verge of becoming improvising poets? And also the other way around: What kind of music is hidden in existing words and texts?

Find them in our AGENDA on the new website to read more about it, and to inscribe and reserve your place.

Improvisation and Memory – inviting improvisers to WhatIIIF Berlin – 21-24 May 2020

Upcoming in May, and this time in Berlin, Germany, is the 2020 edition of WhatIIIF? – a meeting of improvisers from all disciplines interested in improvisation research.

Genetic Choir has been standing at the cradle of this festival and hosted the 2017 edition in Amsterdam, after which being involved in generating two more editions in London (UK, 2018) and in Gothenborg (SE, 2019).

Now you are invited to join us in Berlin!

21 May 2020 (13:00) – 24 May 2020 (13:00) – WhatIIIF Berlin 2020

IIIF stands for International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival and the WhatIIIF? gatherings/meetings/festivals are dedicated to attempting to answer the absurd question: Can improvisation be documented and reflected upon (and how should that be done)?

This years theme is: Improvisation and Memory

The website improvisation.wiki is a constant working space and open library of improvisation aspects. It gets energized through the yearly meetings of WhatIIIF? and everyone is invited to contribute to it through these yearly gatherings, or at any other time, from their own improvisation practice and perspective.

We invite now all interested improvisers to join us from 21-24 May 2020 in Berlin to take this utopian idea of a shared language for interdisciplinary improvisation practice further. Our hosts this year are the Exploratorium Berlin and Impro-Per-Arts.

Find the open call for participation here:

Invitation Call WhatIIIF Berlin 2020

WhatIIIF 2020 logo by Catharine Cary, photo below by Fabien Collini / performance by Constantin Leu and Catharine Cary

Happy New Melodies & more

Happy New Year and welcome in Genetic Choir’s 2020 !

We have a full year ahead, but let’s start slowly and with January only… 🙂

13 January – introduction workshop for volunteers (in Dutch) for the Huis van Lied en Geluid project in the Flevohuis, Amsterdam –> more info

18+19 January – MELODY MAKERS – a Genetic Choir weekend workshop about weaving melodies and story in improvisation singing –> more info

24 January – the spring block of Friday Morning Sessions is starting up!
You can still join, if you have done a Genetic Choir workshop before (and otherwise, you can come on 18+19 January and join as well 🙂 ) –> more info

All these things you can find on the agenda of our BRAND NEW WEBSITE!

Have a great, warm, melodious year!

Magical silences during the premiere & Genetic Choir on Radio 1 today

With anticipation, we expected our audience in the wide, dark space of the Dominicuskerk, last Sunday evening, for our premiere of (Non)Corpus: God.

Lamps came closer to us, each audience member carrying one, finding their place on the wooden floor, on red pillows and on randomly placed chairs.

What followed was an intense concert experience for both performers and audience, with a beautiful, silent intermission (with nourishment for the second half of the journey) and (the acoustics of) the church building as the most intimate companion.

It ended as well in the most refreshing, magical, held silence between singers and audience we have experienced yet. A silence in which all the music that passed by in the previous hour reverberated in the air and in the people present.

Like one audience member said to us afterwards: “I was so much in the experience after the concert, I didn’t want to leave!”

Coming Saturday, we are doing it one more time. Grab your chance for this experience and reserve:

Tickets (Non)Corpus: God – Saturday 28 december 2019 – 20:00

Christmas Eve with Genetic Choir on Radio 1

On the Dutch national news radio – NPO Radio 1 – the Genetic Choir will appear today between 16:15 and 17:00. There will be an interview with singers Jeannette Huizinga, Yanki Bicakci, Irene Rametta and Thomas Johannsen, and we will do also some instant improvising/composing in the mobile send truck of Radio 1 that will park for us near Amsterdam Central Station today (a stone throw away from the Dominicuskerk).

Talkhost Naeeda Aurangzeb will be discussing with us the (Non)Corpus: God project and the possibility of celebrating the intangible, across religious / non-religious borders (on Christmas Eve 🙂 )

UPDATE: you can listen now to the interview we gave via the Soundcloud link below.

photos: Frank Verhagen

Dutch News puts (Non)Corpus Concerts in the spotlight!

NRC Handelsblad and Radio 4 have put the upcoming premiere of (Non)Corpus: God in the spotlight with tipping the 22+28 december concerts in the NRC weekend agenda and with an interview with Thomas Johannsen last Thursday in Podium on NPO Radio 4

Click here to listen to the interview (in Dutch language), with examples of the concert’s source material.

There are still tickets for the premiere tomorrow, 22-12: click here

Or on Saturday next week, 28-12: click here

Watch the trailer of our concert here. 😀

Inside View of (Non)Corpus: God / PREMIERE this Sunday!

IMPROFIL, leading German magazine for improvising musicians, has published an article about (Non)Corpus: God, written by artistic director Thomas Johannsen in its annual edition. The article gives the reader a deeper insight into the thoughts/intentions and (work) process of this project. The article is in English. >>  Read article

You can also listen to the recent (Dutch) interview about the project that was broadcast by NPS Radio 4 here.

All the while, the premiere of (Non)Corpus: God is approaching!

This Sunday, we will fill the big and beautiful Dominicuskerk in Amsterdam with 100 moving lights, sounds from east to west, and music from deep inside and from intangibly far away.

Tickets for 22 december, 20:00 – Click here

Tickets for 28 december, 20:00 – Click here

See you there!

Singing IDENTITIES of migrants today

Premiere Identities Amsterdam,
In the context of the programVan heinde en ver, artist duo Take Twee has realized five film portraits of Amsterdammers with a migration background for Museum Perron Oost. On the occasion of the premiere, the Genetic Choir provides a musical portrait of the people portrayed. There will also be talks with the film makers and the people in the film.

Friday, 13 December 2019, 16:00-18:00
Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis (IISG), Zeeburgerkade 10, Amsterdam

Première Identities Amsterdam,
Kunstenaarsduo Take Twee heeft voor Museum Perron Oost – in het kader van het Programma Van heinde en ver – vijf filmportretten gerealiseerd van Amsterdammers met een migratieachtergrond. Ter gelegenheid van de première verzorgt verzorgt het Genetic Choir een muzikaal portret van de geportreteerden. Er zullen tevens gesprekken zijn met de filmmakers en met de mensen die in de film te zien zijn.

(Non)Corpus: God concert trailer is out!

For the upcoming concerts in the Dominicuskerk on 22 and 28 december, Peter Franken has made a second trailer for (Non)Corpus: God. Images and sound are taken from the try-out at Pakhuis de Zwiger on 20 november.

Come and see the whole concert, with special light and space concept in the big historic church by architect Kuypers on the Spuistraat in Amsterdam!

Both days at 20:00 – Dominicuskerk – Spuistraat 12a – Amsterdam

Tickets 22 december: Click here.

Tickets 28 december: Click here.

You can also go to our NEW website here for more info on the project.

30 Nov: Mystic Festival Rotterdam & Workhop in Breda

This Saturday, 30 November, you can join a Genetic Choir workshop in Breda and afterwards follow us to the Mystic Festival in Rotterdam Grounds, where we will be the final act of the evening with another teaser/try-out of the (Non)Corpus: God material (which will fully be heard in the concerts on 22+28 december).

For the workshop, send us an email on workshops@genetic-choir.org and reserve your place via the paylink here: Saturday, 30 November 201911:00-17:00
Belcrumhuis, Pastoor Pottersplein 12, 4815 BC Breda69 euro (incl. 21%btw)

For the Mystic Festival, you can join the festivities from 15:00 in Rotterdam Grounds, or whenever you’re ready to enter the mystic feeling. 🙂
Genetic Choir will perform late, around 22:00. Info and Tickets here.

Yesterday, (Non)Corpus at Pakhuis De Zwijger

We woke up with a warm and thankful feeling today, after the first public try-out of (Non)Corpus: God yesterday in Pakhuis de Zwijger. Thanks! speakers and audience who where there. Thanks for the beautfiul words and valuable feedback we got from you in the aftertalk. We will take them with us in our further proces towards the Dominicuskerk concerts in december.

Next stop for (Non)Corpus is the Mystic Festival in Rotterdam on 30 November.

Don’t forget to secure your tickets for 22nd and/or 28th of December. There is a cap at 200 people per concert and reservations start rolling in…  🙂

Free entrance try-out (Non)Corpus: GOD

On Wednesday, November 20, 2019, there will be a try-out of (Non) Corpus: God @Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam.

The audience can choose which ‘route’ to follow into the listening experience, according to the ideas of an expert from an Islamic, Christian and secular perspective respectively. Everyone experiences then the same concert together. Afterwards there will be a podium discussion with everyone present.

Entrance is free. Reservations are required > Pakhuis de Zwijger

Impro principles & Basketball principles

How to guard an impro singer who has ‘the ball’? How to find a loophole in the defense through which the music can express itself? 😀

Yesterday and today, we enjoy asking these and other unusual questions to ourselves during the research we are doing for November Music 2019 and Loop-Copy-Mutate: Ball Games. We had really inspiring rehearsals and are traveling to Den Bosch tomorrow for two days of artist-in-residency on the beautiful November Music festival.

We share our laboratory research on Friday, 8 November, at 16:00 and Saturday, 9 November, at 20:30. On Saturday with live basketball players present in the musical lab!

Place: Babel, Hinthamerstraat 74, Den Bosch, NL

Entrance: Free, but reservation recommended: info@novembermusic.net

Genetic Choir plays basketball on November Music

voor Nederlands, klik hier

Invited by November Music in Den Bosch – one of the Netherlands most prestigious music festivals – the Genetic Choir is developing this autumn a new sibling of the Loop-Copy-Mutate project from 2017. This time, the singers delve into the musicality of another type of ‘everyday sounds’: sport sounds.

On two days during the upcoming festival, the singers explore with Loop-Copy-Mutate: Ball Games how to create music from the sounds and idiosyncrasies of a basketball match.

On Friday 8 November, we will involve November Music audience to work with the sounds we recorded, and on Saturday 9 November, the singers will also interact directly with basketball players. Both days, you will experience small ad-hoc concerts by Genetic Choir singers and laptopist Robert van Heumen, while they involve the audience to listen with new ears to sounds they think they already know.

More info in Dutch can be found on

Friday, 8 November 2019, 16:00-17:00

Saturday, 9 november 2019, 20.30-21.30

Venue: Babel, Hinthamerstraat 74, ’s-Hertogenbosch, NL

Entrance is free, but seating is limited! Be sure to reserve your place by sending an email to info@novembermusic.net

@Dominicuskerk, Sunday October 6

Genetic Choir sings the Abendlied in the Dominicuskerk during the Sunday celebration of 6 October (11 am). Josef Rheinberger’s composition is part of the rehearsal process for the (Non)Corpus: God project, which will be crowned with two evening-filling concerts in the Dominicus Church on 22 and 28 December.

At the end of the service (12:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) there is a follow-up discussion where feedback can be given and or questions can be asked about the project.

The presentation is part of the series of meetings that are organized for the public from October-December. A unique opportunity to become an active participant in this special creative process. Interested parties can register via noncorpus@genetic-choir.org. You will then receive a list of dates on which your presence is greatly appreciated. The next meeting is Friday October 11 (7:00 PM to 10:00 PM) also in the Dominicuskerk.

Genetic Choir zingt tijdens de zondagsviering 6 oktober (11.00u) in de Dominicuskerk het Abendlied. Josef Rheinberger’s compositie maakt deel uit van het repetitieproces voor het project (Non)Corpus: God, dat op 22 en 28 december in de Dominicuskerk bekroond wordt met een 2-tal avondvullende concerten.
Na afloop van de dienst (12:30-14:00u) is er een nagesprek waarin er feedback kan worden gegeven en/of vragen worden gesteld over het project.

De presentatie maakt deel uit van de serie ontmoetingen die van oktober-december door Genetic Choir voor het publiek worden georganiseerd. Een unieke mogelijkheid om actief deelgenoot te worden van dit bijzondere maakproces. Geïnteresseerden kunnen zich aanmelden via noncorpus@genetic-choir.org. U ontvangt dan een lijst met data waarop uw aanwezigheid zeer op prijs wordt gesteld. De eerstvolgende bijeenkomst is vrijdag 11 oktober (19:00-22:00) in de Dominicuskerk

Friday Sessions starting next week!

A new set of eight Genetic Choir sessions on Friday morning (10:00-12:30) is kicking off on 13 september. We work with a fixed group (now 14) to deepen the work from session to session. One or two singers could still hook on, if you are interested.

DATES: 13-09 / 20-09 / 04-10 / 18-10 / 01-11 / 15-11 / 29-11 / 13-12
MORE INFO: on our workshop page

To reserve your place in the Friday group for Autumn 2019:

  1. please transfer the workshop fee by clicking this payment link
  2. send us an e-mail via workshops@genetic-choir.org with your name (and account owner from where you made the payment) and your telephone number

European Conference CEPI with Genetic Choir practice

Coming weekend, the 4th edition of CEPI (Conférence Européenne Pour l’Improvisation) is bringing together improvisers from all over Europe in Valcivières, France.

Thomas is invited to present Genetic Choir work in two workshop/presentations on Saturday. It will also be a moment to make friends and connect the WhatIIIF? initiative of a nomadic Improvisation Festival (that Genetic Choir is involved in) to the CEPI community.

If you want to pass by, look in the programme, and contact the organisers:

Next chance to do Genetic Choir practice in the Netherlands is by joining the Friday Sessions in Amsterdam (only if you already know Genetic Choir work) or come to the open One-Day workshop in Breda on 30 November 2019.