Genetic Choir workshop on Sunday, 6 February

Looking past the current lockdown in the Netherlands, we have already workshops planned for the new year!

What is Genetic Choir singing, actually?

We improvise with the sounds we hear around us and the songs that play in our head. Every sound is interesting to us, from the beep of a microwave to the Ave Maria on the radio.
The Genetic Choir has no conductor who is organizing the music, we compose by means of what we call musical swarm intelligence: Just as birds decide where to go as a swarm in the sky, we believe that we can make decisions in the moment – together. We don’t have to agree beforehand on what kind of music we are going to sing. We just listen to each other and act. Which is not always easy of course and therefore we look closely at how musical and human interaction works when everything is possible. We play, experiment and develop constantly new ways of getting better in what we do: vocal instant composition.

Everyone is welcome and able to experience this. You just need the curiosity to explore voice, music and listening.

Come to the open Genetic Choir workshop that we organize on
February 6th, 10:00-13:30 in Amsterdam.
place: studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302 // costs: 37 euro
–> reserve you place here

For those who want to train more extensively:

The Friday Morning Sessions for coming spring are planned already:
4, 11 en 25 maart, 1, 8 en 22 april, 13 en 20 mei

Read more about the Friday Morning group here.

Family of people with dementia and singers of all kinds: Join free workshops of “Stem & Luister”

New intro workshops are coming up for the dementia project of the Genetic Choir:

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 14:00-16:30
Thursday, 25 November 2021 14:00-16:30
Saturday, 22 January 2022 10:00-12:30
Saturday, 29 January 2022 10:00-12:30

Place: Flevopoortzaal, Flevopoort, Kramatplantsoen 101 h, Amsterdam

The workshops are for free, but registration is needed. To secure a place, write to Geeske Coebergh, coordinator of the project:

“Stem & Luister”, the method that the Genetic Choir has been developing with the Huis van Lied en Geluid project since 2019, has as a number of connotations in Dutch language:

the voice (stem), tuning in (afstemmen), listening (luisteren) and luster/brightness (luister). All these are all central words for us in the contact with people who are starting to lose their capacity for verbal conversation.

Read more about the project on our project page or watch the video below.

“Hoort en Ziet” – a weekend workshop on Texel

On 2 and 3 Oktober 2021 there will be an intensive voice improvisation workshop on the island of Texel. The workshop will be lead primarily by Thomas Johannsen (Genetic Choir). Anet van de Elzen will add to this from her practice as performance artist.

Surrounded by nature the experience of the body and the voice become very different from when being in the city. Time becomes a different experience. And there is silence, in a thousand of ways.

Connected to the immensity of nature, its rich palet of colours, the silence and the wind become our allies. And new improvisation and performance possibilities arise…

The weekend is about embodied voice improvisation the Genetic Choir way, combined with the eyes and ears of the performance artist in nature. We will work half of the time outside. Sunday morning is scheduled as an early riser to experience and work with the sunrise on the island.

Saturday: 9:00-17:00 uur
Sunday: 7:30-16:00 uur

The costs of the workshop are € 190, including coffee and tea, a culinary lunch on Saturday and idem brunch on Sunday. If you need lodging on the island, Atelier de Waal can help.

Booking for this workshop and more information via Atelier de Waal here.

WhatIIIF? Berlin is on!

Three Genetic Choir members have travelled today to Berlin to be part of the 5th edition of WhatIIIF? – the international, interdisciplinary improvisation research festival that travels every year from one European city to the next.

There is a performance on Saturday with limited seating, for all Berlin dwellers and improvisation addicts. There might be live streaming by the team of the Exploratorium.

Watch this space, and reserve if you want to be there:

Tune into 24 hour improvisation festival this weekend!

As collaborator of WhatIIIF? Genetic Choir will be part of this international improvisation festival, streaming this Friday/Saturday from Canada:
A 10 minute compilation will be shown of the 12 hour WhatIIIF? event on 15 May in which Genetic Choir singers participated, together with improvising artists from around the globe.

IF – Improvfest 2021

Tune in!

It starts at midnight UTC+01 which is 1 am in the night for those of you living in Amsterdam. It will last for 25,5 hours, so you can easily also tune in while having coffee on Saturday morning. 🙂 If you live elsewhere on the globe, find your local start time here. Experience 150 artists, 10 minutes each, projected from Toronto but recorded in all the far corners of this rounded planet.

In the spirit of happenstance discovery, this festival has no posted schedule. Depending on when you tune in, you may catch a performer you already know and love, but you might instead discover an intriguing performance by an act you’ve never experienced. As we become more and more used to experiencing art on-demand, we feel it’s important to invite chance, surprise, and ephemerality into our experiences of artistic performance, especially in an online context.

Poetic article describing Genetic Choir

In ImprovNotes, the newsletter of the Canadian International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Genetic Choir featured with a poetic introduction by Catharine Cary. Read it here inside the newsletter or below:

Letters to my Original Geography
Dear Guelph,

We all dream of nailing that one thing that renders us uniquely an artist. Genetic Choir’s one thing-ness emerges from their attention to the tiniest sounds: a mouse soundbite in Amsterdam’s Central station at rush hour. Their music-making improvisational process chews on this tiniest sound and changes its texture, rolling it around in their mouths like cough drops to emit a new tiny sound. Sometimes they shred pop or classical to wend a new world. Each member of each instant composition is glued to the ear of the other—grabbing each other’s sounds to rub the corduroy ribbing into silk.
Genetic Choir, started in 2008 in Amsterdam by Thomas Johannsen, has transcendent goals and applies transcendent means to live better in the now. Their name comes from nothing less than the genetic code. The Genetic Choir seeks the DNA of music made from us, inside us, and part of us, as a parallel to the amazingly beautiful organization of this world composed by the sheer process of its living, not by some divine intervention.
The House of Song and Sound project gave Genetic Choir an island to live on during these covidious times, a musical project through which they could connect with people who have lost their verbal abilities. Ofttimes, what dementia patients say is incomprehensible or stuck in repetition. However, if you render that moment musical, suddenly there is understanding. This has inspired the Genetic Choir to develop tools, upside down ways, for caregivers to carebetter.
Talk nonsense, and I will listen; it is only nonsense when you are not willing to listen.

Friday Morning Sessions – Autumn 2021

Do you want to training regularly with a fixed group of improvisers? Join the Friday Morning Sessions of the Genetic Choir!

Every half year, we develop with a group of dedicated workshoppers within 8 sessions into a true organism of musical swarm intelligence. All essential aspects of Genetic Choir technique pass by and are deepened in interaction with your fellow singers.

You can join if you did at least one Genetic Choir workshop before (if you never have, join the workshop on 29 August).

The dates are this time a bit unregular, but from 15 oktober it’s the regular bi-weekly rhtyhm:

3, 10, 24 september, 15+29 oktober, 12+26 november and 10 december 2021

Times/group size:
To be prepared for corona restrictions, we do two small groups (10 people max.) for 2 hours per session. Depending on the amount of people who will inscribe we will open one or two of the slots:

9:00-11:00 / 11:15-13:15
If you have a preference for a slot, let us know.

studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam

Workshop fee for 8 sessions is 238,- euro (incl. BTW)

If you want to reserve your place, please use this payment link
…and send us an email afterwards so we know who you are:

If you want to join but cannot pay the full amount directly, get in touch first – we can spread for you the money, don’t worry!

Hard-core singers can also join both sessions (4 hours) 🙂 –> we will make a different program for the first and second group each Friday to keep you on your toes!

We strive to have a group of vaccinated singers to be more free in training and interacting. Let us know if that is a problem for you before inscribing, then we can see how to deal with it.

Half-Day Genetic Choir workshop on 29 August

A Genetic Choir workshop is a musical stew with improvised ingredients. Everyone can participate without prior knowledge, because all types of voices and musical preferences are welcome. But if everything is possible, how do you decide what to go for? In this workshop you learn how to navigate smoothly in a kitchen full of sound possibilities. We train decisiveness and surrender, the pleasure of listening and the enjoyment of (your own) sound.

Join us for half a day of Genetic Choir improvising!

Sunday, 29 August 2021.
10:00-13:30 – studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam – € 35,-

Inscribe here if you want a place and please send us an email ( so we know who you are. 😀

For people thinking about joining the Friday Morning group that will start on 3 September (8 sessions of training) or the advanced workshop on Texel:

This will be your last chance to get to know us (requirement for the advanced groups) if you never did a Genetic Choir workshop before!

Breath, glass & the music of plants…

Here’s a call for improvisation singers from Rietveld academy graduate Eva van der Zand, who last Sunday did her first Genetic Choir workshop!

Please contact her if you are interested in her proposal (rehearsals are soon):

Ciao Tutti Frutti!  
After following a workshop with the Genetic Choir I’m in search for 3 voices (age under 40) who would like to improvise with me during the graduation show of Rietveld! 

It’s an improvisation inspired on a neighborhood in Amsterdam Noord named “tutti frutti dorp”. It’s about the allergies there are for the air we breath in…. and out! So also toxic air! The focus will be mainly singing questions that spin around in our inside world around the topic of air. I’m a voice artist and research the breath by singing and glass blowing… so there will be glass in the space as well. We will be singing together with tunes composed by plants.  You can search for “Music of the plants” if you are curious to hear an example. 

Performance day: 5 July at 16.00

If you want to have more performance moments that is possible! 

Preparation session: weekend of 26/27 June

Get in touch with me: – – – 0612326402 
We can exchange during our first meeting your needs. I’m open to hear them! If you have questions please ask! 

20 June – opening up again!

Dear Genetic Choir followers, the time has come – we can organise public workshops again!

Make a dance inside your corona bubble and shout it out – YAY!
Do you want to dive again into the magic of Genetic Choir instant composing?

20 June 2021 – open Genetic Choir workshop

  • Max. group size will be 10 people so we can be sure to abide to corona rules and have some tight improvising together.
  • No previous experience needed, open to everyone.
  • We can do two slots of 3,5 hours and will start with filling the afternoon slot: 14:00-17:30.
  • If more people sign up, we will also open the morning slot: 9:30-13:00
  • Workshop price p.p. per slot: 35,- euro

Reserve your place here:

If the workshop is booked out or it cannot happen due to circumstances, you will receive the workshop fee back in full.

It also seems likely that we can have a full block of Friday Morning Sessions again from September-December 2021. If you would like to pre-subscribe, send us a mail on

photo credits: René Castelijn, GC singers, (Non)Corpus sesssion

Tomorrow 19:30 – Genetic Choir with Iranian guest performing as part of WhatIIIF? 10 to 10

Genetic Choir singers will perform live together tomorrow and create an interdisciplinary instant composition with other improvisers, spanning places like Rio, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Pisa, Teheran, Manchester, Nice, Rotterdam and Berlin.

We are part of a 12 h durational performance that is organised by improvisers from many countries united through the WhatIIIF? initiative (read about all the artists and the full info of the telematic performance here)

You can tune in anytime between 10am and 10pm via this facebook stream:

The Genetic Choir will tune in at 19:30 and create half an hour of music in interaction with the images streamed from all other locations. This will be followed by a live concert in Exploratorium Berlin, combining as well the input from all other locations, and traces/memories captured and improvisationally sorted during the day via a Taswir Atlas.

As singers, we connect from different locations via Jamulus, and have a special guest from Teheran that we never sang with before, but are very excited to meet! —> Shaghayegh Bagheri

We hope all will work out and the sound reaching you will be crisp, coming together from all these places! 😀

photo above: WhatIIIF? Nowhere and Everywhere moment featuring Kamura Obscura and a tree and a clip of Titian) // photo below: Shaghayegh Bagheri

WhatIIIF? duration performance this Saturday & festival postponed to September

Instead of meeting in Berlin as planned for these days, the WhatIIIF? community of interdisciplinary improvisers is creating a 12 hour online performance this Saturday, 15 May, and the Genetic Choir will be part of it!

You can watch and listen from 10am to 10pm here:

Genetic Choir will perform in this whole-day experience at 19:30.

More info soon!

The physical WhatIIIF? Festival in Berlin got a new date :

17-19 September 2021

Improvisation and MEMORY

We don’t know if we can travel in May, but we are just going to plan and see!

The under-the-radar research festival of interdisciplinary improvisers – WhatIIIF? – is going to happen in Berlin from 13-16 May 2021, hosted by the Exploratorium Berlin. Be welcome.

The physical festival is postponed to 17-19 September 2021.
On 15 May, we will hold a 10am to 10pm online improvisation extravaganza, that you can watch live here:

Read the full invite to WhatIIIF? 2021 here.

Genetic Choir is one of the founders of this yearly gathering now in it’s fifth (!) year, organised – again – by lovely people from various disciplines of the international scene of improvisers (read here more about WhatIIIF?).

This year’s theme will be: MEMORY. We are interested in questions like:

  • “What questions, obsessions, fascinations and discomforts does the subject of memory bring to your practice as improviser?”
  • “How can we use strategies of remembering, reminding, forgetting in improvisation performance?”
  • … (–> Formulate your own research question and join us in May!)

How? And what is going to happen there? Read further here.

logo WhatIIIF 2020/2021 by Catharine Cary_latagueuseélégante

Merry Christmas with memories…

It’s been a year ago that we have given our last concert – but what a concert! For our Christmas wishes of 2020, we bring you back to the lights and warmth of (Non)Corpus: God in the Dominicuskerk Amsterdam.

Christmas Eve 2019, we also sang on NOS national Radio 1. Listen here for your Christmas podcast with Genetic Choir, or enjoy (again) a view back into the concert below.

Live concerts and singing will be back! Just hang in there a bit longer, dear people. We are looking forward to the coming year and meeting all of you again!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a beautiful 2021 !


Genetic Choir music for Onna Musha short film

While public performances stay difficult to organise, Genetic Choir singers are not only still creating music and meaningful moments every week with the dear old people in the Flevohuis in Amsterdam, but we are also suddenly present online, with music we created 5 years ago:

In a puppetry/dance video made by Kristien Sonnevijlle and Matt Jackson, Genetic Choir compositions from our second CD – Church Songs for the 21st Century – are featuring as a prominent ingredient to tell the non-verbal story of the warrior Onna Musha.

The film is part of the Indonesian international Puppetry festival Pesta Boneka and can still be watched until the 11th of November.

Watch below (Onna Musha starts at 42:30, and lasts 9 minutes)

or Click this direct link.

There is also afterwards a nice Q&A with Matt & Kristien and the other makers who contributed short films to Day 4 of the online version of this festival.

In the amazing festival area named “When Puppeteers Cook” we can even watch them at home making apple pie! Don’t miss that… 🙂 Go here for the Apple Pie.

Gaudeamus posts about Expandable Networked Universe of Improvisation

Next week, the Gaudemaus muziekweek 2020 is opening its (virtual) doors.

Last week, Gaudeamus posted about the WhatIIIF? initiative of bringing together improvisation practitioners from all disciplines, for which the foundation behind Genetic Choir is still in the process of gathering funds for.

An Expandable Networked Universe for the Art of Improvisation

There are many modern composers who work with improvisation, and it is lovely that we can reach out to the Gaudemaus community as well with our idea.

Find the facebook post here:

As an update for those who follow the initiative:
Our first attempts at finding funds for this project from the funding bodies we know have been unsuccessful, mainly because we imagine a knowledge gathering platform run by artists, rather than a project resulting in concrete artistic work (which most cultural funds are seeing as their core business to fund).

If you, as part of the network of Genetic Choir, know any (international) fundraising routes we could take – funding bodies that value initiatives for new forms of artistic knowledge development, sharing and artistic research – please let us know!
You can contact us via

And concerning Gaudemaus – the festival will be happening live and online next week and is surely worth a visit! Find the programme here.

Bijna! Van 9-13 september vindt de @Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2020 plaats in Utrecht en online! @Gaudeamusnl viert haar 75e verjaardag met live bij te wonen én te streamen concerten, interactieve werken, multidisciplinaire voorstellingen, workshops, podcasts, een seminar en een heus wandelconcert. 

Quiet now – a voice workshop on island Texel

voor Nederlands, zie beneden

Quiet now – 3 and 4 October on the island Texel
Nature – Improvisation – Solo

In the far sights on the island and surrounded by nature the experience of the body and the voice become very different from when being in the city. Time becomes a different experience. And there is silence, in thousands of ways. Wind and bird sounds are intriguingly present and at some moments it is really quiet. From the silence space and possibility arises. And then there is the voice.

On 3 and 4 October 2020 there will be a voice improvisation workshop on the island of Texel, organised by Atelier De Waal (Anet van de Elzen).
The workshop will be guided primarily by Thomas Johannsen from his practice of vocal improvisation with the Genetic Choir. Anet van de Elzen will add to this from her practice as performance artist.

We offer an experience-oriented weekend that is about ‘solo improvisation’. In order to improvise with and for others, exploring the specific state of ‘being solo’ is enormously important. This workshop is for beginners as well as for those who are more advanced in singing and improvisation. The solo element and listening to your surrounding and the other are facets that will be recurrently addressed. In this, the immensity of nature, the silence and the wind become our allies.

All RIVM measures due to covid-19 are taken into account during the workshop. This is possible because we work outside a lot and the theater space we will be using is large enough to keep 1.5 meters distance from each other.

The costs of the workshop are € 175, including coffee and tea, lunch on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. It is also possible to book an overnight stay including breakfast through Atelier De Waal (based on availability).

More information about all this on the website of Atelier de Waal.

If you have questions or would like to register for the workshop, write to Anet van Elzen via:

Stil Nu – 3 en 4 oktober op Texel
Natuur – Improvisatie – Solo

In de vergezichten op het eiland en omringd door de natuur wordt de beleving van het lichaam en de stem heel anders dan wanneer we in de stad zijn. De tijd lijkt ook anders te worden ondergaan. En het is er stil, op wel duizend manieren. De wind en de vogels zijn aanwezig met hun geluiden, en op sommige momenten is het opeens écht helemaal stil. Uit stilte ontstaat mogelijkheid en ruimte. En dan de stem.

Op 3 en 4 oktober 2020 vindt er een stem improvisatie workshop plaats op Texel, georganiseerd door Atelier De Waal (Anet van de Elzen).
De workshop wordt voor het grootste deel gegeven door Thomas Johannsen vanuit zijn stem improvisatie praktijk met het Genetic Choir. Anet van de Elzen vult dit aan vanuit haar beroepspraktijk als performance kunstenaar.

We bieden een ervaringsgericht weekend aan dat over ‘solo improvisatie’ gaat: Om met en voor anderen te improviseren is het waardevol de specifieke staat van ‘solo gaan’ goed te hebben verkend. De workshop is zowel voor mensen die niet bekend zijn met improvisatie als voor gevorderde zangers en improvisatoren. Het solo element en het luisteren naar de omgeving en de ander, zijn facetten die steeds aan de orde zullen komen. De onmetelijkheid van de natuur, de stilte en de wind zijn daarbij onze bondgenoten.

Bij de workshop worden alle RIVM maatregelen in acht genomen. Dat is mogelijk omdat we veel buiten werken en de theaterzaal voor binnen groot genoeg is om 1,5 meter afstand te houden.

Kosten van de workshop zijn € 175,—, inclusief koffie en thee, lunch op zaterdag en brunch op zondag. Het is ook mogelijk via Atelier De Waal een overnachtingsplek inclusief ontbijt te boeken (op basis van beschikbaarheid)

Meer informatie hierover vind je op de website van Atelier de Waal.

Voor alle vragen, of om je alvast aan te melden, mail naar Anet van de Elzen via:

photo above: Milda Lomaniené, Texel 2015

Humming Together Apart on 23 August

This is such a charming no-computer-needed collaborative singing initiative for pandemic times that we just have to spread the word! 😀

Bonnie Barnett is inviting everyone to hum together apart from wherever you are, on Sunday, 23 August at 21:00 European time! Read the invitation in Bonnie’s words below.

A socially-distant participatory vocal event
                                                    by BONNIE BARNETT

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23, 2020 at:
HST (Hawaii) – 9 a.m.
PDT – NoonEDT – 3 p.m.
U.K. – 8 p.m.
Europe – 9 p.m.
St. Petersburg – 10 p.m.
Australia – MONDAY at 6 a.m.

You are invited to breathe and tone from wherever you are during the performance time (starting at the listed time, and continuing for about 15 minutes). Imagine your breath and tone reaching out and mixing with other people’s breaths and tones, surrounding the planet with a sound bath of vibration.  See the earth and visualize the vibrating vocal energy buzzing us all to community and health.

18 participants wrote in after the 3rd event on June 28, 2020 and let me know their locations – from Russia to New York to Michigan to Pennsylvania to Illinois to Colorado to California… Please document your geographical location during your participation by contacting me through my website – — to help create a sound map. I really look forward to hearing from you.
And … Here is another option for any of you who are interested.  Even though this 4th event is still an ephemeral, conceptual event, if you feel like recording your sounds, you are invited to upload them as an mp3 to this folder:

please name your file:

and remember, please upload mp3’s only, thanks!  The sounds quality of the recording doesn’t matter. You can use a zoom recorder, your laptop microphone, your cell phone… anything! Ulrich Krieger will mix the sounds that we receive…

©  Bonnie Barnett 2020

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:

One Day workshop Genetic Choir6 September 2020

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

UPDATE: The workshop on 6 September is already full!
–> if you would like to join another Genetic Choir workshop soon, please write us about your interest – – and we can see to it that another ONE-DAY WORKSHOP is organised soon enough!

Friday Morning SessionsJanuary-April 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 only inscribe to these sessions if you have done a Genetic Choir workshop before. Please let us know if you would like us to organise another Introduction Workshop before January, so you are able to join the Fridays as well! –>

If you are a regular guest, you can directly reserve your place in the Friday Morning group that starts in January, by inscribing via this payment link.

Depending on corona regulations from January, 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 if you would like to be part of this idea!

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