Genetic Choir singing on 10 June

Genetic Choir is the in-flesh experience of a utopian idea: To create the music that any moment asks for – together – without knowing the music beforehand. But if everything is possible, how do you decide what to go for? In Genetic Choir workshops you learn how to sync with each other and navigate smoothly in a swarm full of sound possibilities.

Anyone who would like to experience again – or for the first time – the feeling of being a swarm singer, is very much welcome on the upcoming workhop on 10 June in Amsterdam!

Iedereen die weer eens – of voor het eerst – de ervaring wil maken van zingen als een zwerm zangers op de Genetic Choir manier is van harte uitgenodigd voor deze aankomende workshop!

Saturday 10 June – Genetic Choir workshop

14:00-16:30 uur / 37,- euro / studio De Eester / C. van Eesterenlaan 302, 1019 JR Amsterdam

Mocht je onderdeel worden van het Stem&Luister project als zanger-vrijwilliger, dan is deze workshop achteraf gratis voor je!

Reserve a place in this workshop via this form.

Structures & Flow workshop on 8th & 9th of July

There’s a Genetic Choir weekend coming up for experienced improvisers who want to deepen their understanding and technique of using Structures and Flow to let new music emerge!

While intuitively, Flow and Structures might seem opposites of each other, they are in fact completely intertwined. Take river deltas and city traffic: Flow creates Structures (all by itself) and Structures create Flow. When improvising together, we can use the same principles and from two side: We can self-impose structures in order to strengthen our flow, or dive happily into free music and become aware of the structures that emerge.

Structures & Flow workshop

When: whole weekend, 8/9 July, 10:00-16:30
For whom: improvisers with experience
How much: 139,- euro
To directly reserve a place, click here.

Flow is one of those central words of improvising: when there is no flow and vivid engagement in the moment, up comes thinking, doubt, trying to do it ‘right’ – all the things we want to avoid when creating music on the spot.

Structures, however, seem just as important, even if those structures appear in the moment. We need clarity and a certain definition of the musical landscape in order to deepen our material and give shape to the music, rather than going in all directions at once.

One thing is recognising these emerging structures and working with them in the moment, another is using self-imposed limitations (scores, rules or scripts) for our improvisations. But what sort of ‘extra’ structures work well within improvised performance? Which limitations are energizing, rather than smothering the improvisation or numbing it? Which structures make the currents of improvisation engagingly vivid and increase our flow?

The idea of this workshop is to let you create and undergo many different types of scores and frames and by trying them all discover the workings of a well-designed set-up.

Improvisers and voice adventurers – see you in July! 😊

Improviseren leren – Can you learn how to improvise?

Improvisation – Kan iedereen het leren of moet je er talent voor hebben?

Twee afleveringen van de VPRO / NPO Klassiek podcast serie Improvisatie! gaan hierover, met erg leuke bijdragen van tal van Nederlandse improvisatoren. Een heel palet van intrigerende onderwerpen komt langs, en onder andere ook de manier hoe Oosterse filosofie en praktijken hier een rol in kunnen spelen.

Thomas Johannsen sluit zich in de tweede aflevering aan bij saxofoniste Jelske Hoogervorst, die verteld over hoe de Japanse krijgskunst aikido haar essentiële dingen over improviseren leert. Thomas licht toe waarom aikido daarom zo’n groot deel uitmaakt van de training van zangers in het Genetic Choir. Wie erheen wil skippen: het zit rond minuut 27 van de tweede aflevering.

Wie hierdoor nieuwsgierig wordt om ook eens een aikido les mee te maken – kom gewoon eens langs voor een proefles bij de Kishinkai aikido dojo bij Amsterdam Centraal. Of lees eerst hier nog meer over waarom het zo een goede bezigheid is voor improvisatoren.

De betreffende podcast afleveringen zijn hier te beluisteren:

Improvisatie – Kun je het leren? – Episode 1

Improvisatie – Kun je het leren? – Episode 2

En ook de rest van de serie is de moeite waard, zoals de episode over vocale improviatie! –> click hier voor het overzicht van alle afleveringen.

The Improvisation podcast series that was created in the wake of 50 years of Improvisation in the Netherlands (of is continuing to be a rich resource of improvisation topics and thoughts. (unfortunately for non-Dutch speakers not accessible, therefore this blogpost was mainly in Dutch, for a change)

Let’s talk about improvisation! – Round Table Talk #2

After an inspiring first Round Table Talk Improvisation in November, there will now be a second edition:

On Sunday February 5th, 14:00-16:30
in the ONDERBUIK (Koningsweg 290, 3585LD) in Utrecht.

The first edition was organized last November on the occasion of 50 years of BIM. During the conversations, there was curiosity about the various improvisation initiatives throughout the country and the expressed wish to come together in this form more frequently. Improvisation ensemble and platform BUI therefore invites you to continue the conversation in Utrecht. The UNDERBUIK is a former nuclear bunker on Fort Lunet I and has now been used for a number of years as a musical breeding ground for young Utrecht musicians, managed by the BUI Foundation.

In this second edition we will continue with the themes that have been offered and new themes and perspectives will be addressed. Above all, the conversation is an encounter!

Free entrance, public, musicians, non-musicians, everyone welcome!

(please park on Koningsweg, after the viaduct it is free, or come by public transport!)

Rondetafelgesprek Improvisatie #2

Na een inspirerende eerste gespreksmiddag in november, komt er nu een tweede editie van het Rondetafelgesprek Improvisatie.

Deze is op zondag 5 Februari, 14:00-16:30 in de ONDERBUIK (Koningsweg 290, 3585LD) in Utrecht.

De eerste editie werd vorig jaar november ter gelegenheid van 50jaar BIM georganiseerd. Tijdens de gesprekken kwam naar voren er nieuwsgierigheid is naar de verschillende improvisatie initiatieven door het hele land. Improvisatie ensemble en platform BUI nodigt jullie daarom uit om het gesprek voort te zetten in Utrecht. De ONDERBUIK is een voormalig atoombunker op Fort Lunet I en wordt nu sinds een aantal jaar gebruikt als muzikale broedplaats voor jonge Utrechtse musici, beheerd door Stichting BUI.

In deze tweede editie gaan we verder door op thema’s aanbod zijn gekomen en er worden nieuwe thema’s en invalshoeken aangesneden.

Bovenal is het gesprek een ontmoeting!
Toegang gratis, publiek, musici, non-musici, iedereen welkom!


New year, Last places…

Dear Genetic Choir blog followers,

Genetic Choir in Japan, 2016

a Happy New Year to everyone!

Always a good time to look forward and back at the turning of the years. Doing so, I found this picture from six years ago at the beautiful shinto shrine in Tokushima province, Japan, where we performed (and where there was for sure a New Year ritual these days, to appease the kami ).

Here in Amsterdam, we start the year with upcoming workshops being almost full, which is lovely, but maybe there are people who still wanted to join? Here the update for last places:

There is one last place available in the Melody Makers weekend workshop. 21+22 January 2023. More info here.

There are three more places in the Friday Morning Sessions of 9:00-11:00 (eight mornings, starting in February). If you have done a Genetic Choir workshop before, you can reserve your place here.

The later Friday Morning group at 11:30-13:30 is already full!

There are also a few more places in the free Introduction workshop of Genetic Choir singing in the Stem&Luister project: this coming Saturday, 14 January, from 14:00-16:30. For reserving your free place and more info, click here.

The Ensemble has for 2023 already exciting things lined up, amongst which a documentary that we are going to make with Kim Brand and a pilot research about the effects of music in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and several other partners.

We will update you about all this in the next mailchimp Newsletter, planned for half February!
(if you are not connected to the bigger nieuwsbrieven/newsletters yet, click here.)

Have a good start of your year! 💫

When it’s dark outside, find a melody or two…

It’s becoming more dark outside and the months are getting colder…
In order to get us through the gloomier winter months, Genetic Choir is opening its doors in January for a playful weekend of melody-making!

21 & 22 JANUARY 2023


Melodies are the storytellers of music. Just start singing a few notes and instantly there is a feeling/atmosphere, the beginning and promise of a much longer story. Melodies are also playful creatures, meaning that in bigger numbers they tend to swirl around each other, being looped and copied and transposed, creating ever-new relations and mixed identities, transforming to totally different music or ending in beautiful silences.

time: Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 – 16:30
participant fee: 135,- euro / reserve your place here
place: studio De Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, 1019 JR Amsterdam

In this Genetic Choir weekend workshop, we look at how we use melodies in improvisation singing. Voice work and rhythm will feature along the way, but the focus is on weaving melodies and story. How do you go about it, as an improvisation singer? How do you make it personal and how does ‘meaning’ evolve? But also: how do you work together with other singers when inventing soothing and whirling melodies?

The Genetic Choir approach ensures that you don’t need any particular background to be able to join this workshop. Everybody works from his preferred musical style and own level of experience. The magic happens in the middle.

More info on upcoming Genetic Choir workshops? Check out the agenda.

Let’s talk about Improvisation! – this Sunday @De Ruimte in Amsterdam

Many things have been written and said about improvisation, and still it remains an elusive subject for each new generation of musicians. It’s easy to give up on it all together, because finding words for something that is so multi-faceted and open as improvisation seems often impossible (a popular motto being: “If you get, you get it. And if you don’t get it, there’s no use to talk about it!”).

Still, for all the things that have to happen in order to bring Improvisation to the stage (organising, programming, finding and developing concepts together, selling your act or album, teaching improvisation in whichever context, …) language is needed – somehow.

So at the closing of BIM50the celebration of 50 years of jazz and improvised music in the Netherlands – Dodó Kis and Thomas Johannsen are bringing together a broad range of people from different corners of the impro scene to spend some time to share and exchange ideas in a Round Table Talk. Musicians, programmers, journalists, educators from all over the country will bring their fascination or question to the table, within two rounds of exploration:

What are the essential aspects of improvisation and therefore, what connects us as improvisers, across all genres and approaches?

What is needed for a lively scene that nurtures the craft of improvised music?

Sunday, November 6th, 2022 – De Ruimte, Distelweg 83, Amsterdam

14:00 to 16:30 — Doors open at 13:45

Colleagues from whichever background, but also curious audiences, everyone with a big heart for improvisation, very welcome to join us this Sunday afternoon!

Admission is free, drinks and snacks available. 😀

To share the event on facebook and support the inititative with an ‘Interested’ or ‘Coming’:

podcast “Improvisation!” by VPRO/Radio4 features Thomas talking about Genetic Choir

In the wake of “50 years of jazz and improvisation in the Netherlands” (BIM50), Vrije Geluiden is producing a whole podcast series about the art of improvisation music for the Dutch Radio 4.

In the two-part investigation of ‘Vocal Improvisation’ (podcast #5 and podcast #6 of the whole series, vocalist-improvisers Greetje Bijlma, Kristina Fuchs, Rianne Wilbers and Thomas Johannsen talk about improvising with the human voice.

In the middle of it all, Thomas explains a thing or two about the Genetic Choir way of improvising!

Listen to it here:

Improvisatie! Vocaal (1) – about emotion, sound and text

Improvisatie! Vocaal (2) – about micro-tonal singing, trust and the presence of an audience

And for those who want to see vocal improvisation in action, come to the

Hidden Songs BIM50 concert

tonight in TivoliVredenburg!

21:00 hours, 14-10-2022, Club 9, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht

Genetic Choir singers participate in Freedom to Move on November Music 2022

Genetic Choir singers Ilyas Nadjafi en Yank Bicakci are part of Freedom to Move, a project of Sounds Now on international music festival November Music 2022!

They will give a concert-presentation tomorrow night in the Verkadefabriek in Den Bosch, together with ringleader Sofia Jernberg and the other selected singers, Jodi Gilbert, Rianne Wilbers and Paloma Lázaro Arteaga (each of them great improvisers in their own right!!).

October 12, 20.30 hrs in Verkadefabriek, ’s-Hertogenbosch. Bar is open from 20 hrs. Free entry!

The human voice literally crosses borders in this project:

At the invitation of Sounds Now, a network of European music festivals and cultural centers, singer and composer Sofia Jernberg is working for three days with five singers from diverse backgrounds. They were selected on the basis of an Open Call in which their motivation to participate was central. The participants are asked to leave their comfort zone and go on an expedition beyond language, voice, and musical barriers. The voice is given all the freedom to develop. So: Freedom To Move. The presentation of this intens journey is in October 12, 20.30 hrs in Verkadefabriek, ’s-Hertogenbosch. Bar is open from 20 hrs.

Five festivals participate in Freedom to Move and each selects its own singers with Sofia Jernberg as the connecting link. November Music kicks off this exciting project.

Sofia Jernberg
The Swedish-Ethiopian singer and composer Sofia Jernberg flashes rapidly past all limits of the vocal metier. With her flexible, expressive voice, this voice acrobat is equally at home in improvisational music, as well as performing contemporary scores and her own experimental excursions.
As a workshop leader, Jernberg can boast a wealth of experience. She studied not only jazz music but also composition. Jernberg has worked with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and improvisers such as Mats Gustafsson, Nate Wooley, Petter Eldh and Christian Lillinger. But she also plays a leading role in compositions by Arnold Schönberg (Pierrot Lunaire), Chaya Czernowin and Anna Thorvaldsdottir.

Part of the Sounds Now project, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. In collaboration with HCMF (ENG), Wilde Westen (B) Onasis Foundation (GR) and Ultima (NOR).

BIM50 receives brilliant review in national newspaper NRC —> next concert tomorrow in Haarlem…

Last Mondays edition of Dutch newspaper NRC featured Thomas and the BIM50 project “Hidden Songs” in a cultural review that described Saturday’s concert at the Bimhuis as a ‘dedicated, intimate listening concert’. You can experience ‘Hidden Songs’ tomorrow evening in Haarlem’s jazz-hub De Pletterij. (tickets, click here) – and next week in Utrecht!

“Vocalist and composer Thomas Johannsen plays in his ‘Hidden Songs’ together with two astonishing singers from world music”

Read the full article further below or here on the NRC website.

Next to Genetic Choir singer/artistic leader Thomas Johannsen you will experience pianist Nora Mulder, double-bass player Raoul van der Weide, Cuban singer Estrella Acosta and Turkish singer Cigdem Okuyucu in unprecedented musical interplay of free improv and world music!

photos: Karen van Gilst

Genetic Choir sounds, world and jazz in Bimhuis, Tivoli, Pletterij coming up!

The feast of 50 years of Improvisation (BIM50) is now experiencing its climax with double-bill concerts with the five intergenerational bands on the big jazz podia of the Netherlands!

Thomas is leading one of them, soloing on Genetic Choir sounds and collaborating with amazing musicians Nora Mulder, Estrella Acosta, Raoul v/d Weide and Cigdem Okuyucu in his ‘Hidden Songs’ project.

1 October 2022 – Bimhuis Amsterdam (all five bands with short sets)

7 October 2022 – Pletterij Haarlem (double-bill, longer concert)

14 October 2022 – Tivoli Utrecht (double-bill, longer concert)

21 October 2022 – Muziekgebouw Eindhoven (double-bill, longer concert)

See all the other bands and events on

vocalist en instant componist Thomas Johannsen valt in de smaak met zijn elementaire aanpak van improvisatie die hij met het Genetic Choir Ensemble ontwikkelt en uitvoert. Onlangs werd dat beloond met een werkbijdrage vanuit het Fonds Podiumkunsten. Voor BIM50 bedacht hij de ongewone combinatie van veteranen en jonge honden uit de wereldmuziek én de vrije impro samen in dezelfde band. Met de geest van de BIM-oprichters in het bloed en drie vocalisten op het podium, staat zijn kwintet garant voor avontuurlijke muziek waarin talloze stijlen verbintenis vinden.

Come and experience this! 😀

Tickets: click on the above hyperlinks per concert.

Try out Aikido – season is starting!

Huh, aikido? I thought this was the Genetic Choir blog?

You are right! But not everyone will be surprised about this announcement here. Aikido principles pass by in many disguises while training your voice and improvisation with the Genetic Choir. If you ever balanced a stick or have cut other people in half during a workshop with Thomas, you know what this is about. 🙂😎

So if you sometimes thought: I want to experience more of this martial art that combines sensitivity with decisiveness, mutual connection with standing your ground, here’s your chance!

The aikido season is starting with lessons on Monday and Thursday evening at the dojo of Kishinkai Amsterdam at the Tolhuistuin (just across the water at Amsterdam Central Station).

It’s the dojo where Thomas is training every week and guest-teaching every now and again.

Check it out on
– The website is in Dutch, but English – also during the lessons – no problem!

Or simply send an email to Chuntug and Robert – the masters of the dojo – via

Trial lesson for free and an inexpensive first months to check it out – all possible.

And if you don’t live anywhere near, check out the nearest dojo in your city or town to improve your improvisation practice. Aikido is practiced in many different ways, and for that matter, any martial art should improve your sensitivity and split-second ability to make precise choices as a bird in a swarm of sounds!

fotos: Dennis Goedbloed

Watch Genetic Choir in live stream festival – between NOW and the coming hour!

The 24 hour IF festivalstreaming online as we speak – has no schedule for their audiences. You can only tune in and be surprised. But we were informed that Genetic Choir’s contribution will be streamed somewhere in the next 90 minutes…!

So if you have nothing to do, grab a beer or juice and get settled now, and watch the live stream HERE.

Just watched some great Irish musicians turning Irish folk into contemporary instant compositions…

Listen to Genetic Choir & 150 other artists on 24h IF festival!

We are looking forward to this week’s
IF Festival 2022
a 24-hour celebration of improvised arts happening worldwide this Friday night (from 2am Amsterdam time) all through to Saturday night. The festival will feature a lineup of 150+ amazing artists of all artistic disciplines from all around the world, performing original works.

Genetic Choir participates with a work created together with Cecilia Bengtsson, derived from our collaboration with her earlier this year: “Distribution“.

Watch the TRAILER of the festival here

Where do I watch / How do I tune in?

The festival will be streamed on the IF 2022 website ( under the “watch” tab. You can access the event through this link. We welcome you to treat yourself to a full festival experience as much as you can at home: invite your loved ones over and host a viewing party; bake a special dessert; lay in the hammock; make a blanket fort; ride the stationary bike—it’s up to you!

When does IF 2022 start and end? 

Given that IF 2022 is an international festival, it will begin and end different times depending on where you live. To find your local start time, please use the handy tool on our website.

What if I miss the festival? 

Much like an in-person festival, you can only experience IF 2022 on the days during which it is taking place: August 26th and 27th. This means that performances will only be available for the 24-hour duration of the festival.

Is there a schedule for IF 2022? 

In the spirit of 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. Countering the experience of art on-demand, we want to invite chance, surprise, and ephemerality with IF 2022.

Collaboration on animal sounds and gardening

This Sunday, 10 July, Sol Archer will be showing a new film work, soundtracked in collaboration with Genetic Choir member Jeannette Huizinga.

They lead volunteer gardeners from the Tropische Kas in Beetsterzwaag, Friesland, to re-perform with their voices transcriptions of animal sounds from the 19th century.

Come and experience it at the 

Kunsthuis SYB, Beetsterzwaag

10 July, 2022 at 13:00-17:00 hrs

Click here for details.

Thinking through the construction of Nature as an image making framework, rooted in colonial scientific discourse, and gardening as a practice of world-making and environmental construction, Sol and Jeannette worked from 19th century documents of animal sounds in Brazil transcribed by Monagasque Brazilian Hercule Florence during the Langsdorff expedition of the 1830s. With volunteers of the Tropische Kas, a 19th century botanical greenhouse in rural Friesland, they re-performed these musical transcriptions of environmental sound through voice, to soundtrack a short film work on the construction and maintenance of the glasshouse ecosystem as image practice.


Art & Dementia / Terugblik “Werkplaats Kunst en Dementie”

For our English followers: the below article is in Dutch only, but the project is described in English on the website (language toggle in right-top corner)

Op 27 Juni 2022 organiseerde het Ben Sajet Centrum in samenwerking met het Genetic Choir de Werkplaats Kunst En Dementie – het was een zeer geslaagde middag. Zo hebben we samen met een divers palet aan professionals kennis genomen van het project Stem&Luister en samen gesproken over de waarde en toekomst van projecten als deze in de zorg voor mensen met dementie. 

En toen het opeens stil was binnen de beeldschone muren van het Dr Sarphatihuis in Amsterdam, stonden we onder begeleiding van Thomas Johannsen (artistiek leider van het Genetic Choir Ensemble) te luisteren naar de textuur van klanken om ons heen om even later allerlei tonen te zingen, als of het er gewoon bij hoort. 

Vertrekkend vanuit de ervaring was de brug snel gemaakt naar het thema van deze middag: kunst in de zorg voor mensen met dementie en hoe we kunst blijvend kunnen inzetten – zowel voor kwaliteit van leven en welzijn van bewoners als ook voor waardering en werkplezier van de zorgmedewerkers.


Met Stem&Luister als voorbeeldproject, dat zij al meer dan 2 jaar intensief volgt, legde Dr Marjolein Gysels (antropologe)  uit dat ‘betekenisvol contact maken’ de kern was die de zangers voor het project hebben gekozen. Via een omgevingssensitieve inzet van stem en klank wordt ruimte gecreëerd om aandachtig te luisteren naar elkaar, voor plezier, expressie en spel – en een ruimte waar saamhorigheid en ‘agency’* vaak hand in hand gaan, weten de zangers aan de hand van praktijkvoorbeelden aan te vullen. De combinatie van groepswerk, stem en klank en improvisatie is wat de methode uniek maakt in zijn soort, zet Dr Marjolein Gysels (antropologe) helder uiteen.
Stem&Luister blijkt daarnaast via het traject met de werknemers erin te slagen omgevingsbewustzijn te stimuleren en handvatten te bieden evenals waardering en werkplezier te bevorderen. Hier hoopt zij binnenkort meer over te kunnen vertellen .

Na de pauze is er in kleinere groepen geanimeerd gesproken over uitdagende vragen als:

Hoe en welk type onderzoek kan aantonen dat deze methode werkt? Hoe meten en weten we effecten voor bewoners, medewerkers en vrijwilligers? Hoe kan een cultuuromslag in de zorg ontstaan vanuit een methodiek als die van Stem&Luister (of soortgelijke projecten)? Wat is nodig om het meer te laten zijn dan een lokaal succesvol project? Wat kan het betekenen voor duurzame inzetbaarheid van medewerkers en vrijwilligers?

Benadrukt werd bijvoorbeeld het positieve effect van de langdurige aanwezigheid van het Genetic Choir in het Flevohuis op de betrokkenheid van de zorgmedewerkers aan het project; en ook dat het belangrijk is tijd te maken met elkaar voor scholing en ontwikkeling; dat coachend leren op de werkvloer het beste werkt; dat onderzocht zou kunnen worden in hoeverre de inzet van technologie ondersteunend zou kunnen werken; dat omgevingssensitiviteit een vaardigheid is die breder terug zou mogen komen in de opleidingen en dat de hedendaagse en toekomstige uitdagingen binnen de zorgsector vragen om innovatieve projecten die net als Stem&Luister zowel een meerwaarde hebben voor de cliënten als ook voor de zorgmedewerkers en daarmee lonende investeringen kunnen zijn voor zorginstellingen.

Stem & Luister gaat het werk in het Flevohuis gaandeweg overdragen aan vrijwilligers die momenteel trainingen volgen en die met ondersteuning van ZGAO en het Genetic Choir het werk gaan voortzetten. 
Ondertussen wordt gezocht naar andere instellingen die Stem&Luister in hun huis willen halen en zijn er op deze middag al concrete contacten gelegd. Het idee om bijvoorbeeld uitwisseling te organiseren tussen personeel van Amsterdamse huizen waar het project draait werd toegejuicht. 

Het Ben Sajet Centrum heeft de ambitie om ook in de toekomst de zorg voor ouderen en mensen met een beperking te vernieuwen en te verbeteren door onderzoek, praktijk en onderwijs met elkaar te verbinden.

En zo kijken we terug op een waardevolle en inspirerende middag!

*‘agency’ omvat een breed concept en is moeilijk te vatten in één woord. Het beschrijft het vermogen dat je staat bent vanuit jezelf iets in beweging te brengen. Het gaat om zelfverwezenlijking, vormkracht of participatiekracht.

Upcoming workshops – An overview!

There are new workshops in the agenda, and a couple planned ones just coming up. Here an overview until Autumn for everyone who is interested or who is already longer part of the Genetic Choir workshop community!


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

25+26 June 2022, 10:00-16:30 – 135 euro
Studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam

2 places left as we speak, reserve here…


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.

3 July 2022, 10:00-13:30 – 37 euro
Studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302
4 places left, reserve here…


Free intro workshops for people interested in becoming volunteers of this project, where you sing and make contact with people in the last stages of dementia. More info on Stem & Luister is here.

25 June 2022, 14:00-16:30 register for this date
10 September 2022, 14:00-16:30register for this date


In September starts a new 8-session flow for improvisers who want to deepen their technique. You can only join if you have done a Genetic Choir workshop before, so if you are new to us, join one of the workshops before the summer break first!

Dates: 16+30 Sept, 7+28 Oct, 18+25 Nov, 9+16 Dec
More info and for reserving your place, go here.

SYNERGY – a Genetic Choir workshop on the island of Texel

Surrounded by nature, the experience of the body and the voice is very different from when we are in the city. Time is experienced differently. With wind, sand, trees and stones as our allies in performance, this yearly weekend is about vocal improvisation & performance art with ears and eyes wide open!

1+2 October 2022 – 195,- euro including culinary lunches both days
outside locations and buurthuis de Waal on Texel

The workshop is organised by Atelier de Waal / Anet van de Elzen. More info and registration here.

BIM50: 50 years of improvisation!

Tonight and next week, the feast of 50 year’s of BIM is kicking in, with a Double-Bill in BIMHUIS on June 4 and an Improvisation Orchestra event in De Tanker on June 12 !

From now until end of October, the ‘union of improvised musicians’ in the Netherlands is celebrating their 50 years of existence, with intergenerational bands on all the big jazzpodia of the Netherlands, locally ’embedded’ improvisation events (‘BIM in de Wijk’) and talks and radio-podcasts about improvisation.

What most people don’t is that BIM and BIMHUIS are two separate entities: The first is the ‘union’ of improvisation musicians that founded themselves 50 years ago (BIM = Beroepsorganisatie Improviserende Musici). A few years later, they founded the BIMHUIS, which through the decennia grew from a musician’s initiative into an internationally renowned jazz venue. Today, they are separate organisations, but they honour the historical and visionary bond they still share.

See for the full programme the website of the BIM vereniging – – which will be more and more updated and revamped in the next few months!

What is the connection with the Genetic Choir?

Thomas Johannsen is leading one of the intergenerational bands (with Nora Mulder, Raoul v/d Weide, Çiğdem Okuyucu and Estrella Acosta) that will perform in Bimhuis, Tivoli Vredenburgh, Pletterij Haarlem and Muziekgebouw Eindhoven in October. He also helped at an early stage to secure the funding for this half year of celebrations as director of stichting Here&Now, the organisation behind the Genetic Choir. Together with BIM vereniging and the BIMHUIS, the stichting applied for parts of the money and set up the organisational infrastructure for this feast of improvisation!

Though Thomas could not involve other Genetic Choir singers directly (the intergenerational bands had to be ‘new formations’), former Genetic Choir collaborators are involved in the production, like Turkish singer Çiğdem Okuyucu, who is singing in Thomas’ band and Annelie Koning, who will be part of the Improvisation Orchestra on 12 June.

Additionally, Thomas helped developing the concept for a 12-part Radio 4 podcast series about Improvisation, hosted and made bij Aad van Nieuwkerk (VPRO / Vrije Geluiden). The intro podcast (‘nulde aflevering’) is online now, click here to listen to it.

There is much to enjoy the next half year, hope you will come and tune in!

And if you are a professional singer/musician who is working with improvisation, consider becoming a BIM memberTogether we stand strong!

Health/Inequalities event on RUG with Genetic Choir speaker this afternoon

We will be part of this event this afternoon on Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), organised by the Groningen Centre for Health and Humanities:

Choirs, Health, and Social Inequalities

The hybrid seminar will feature the choirmasters of the Choir with no Name (Kate Wareham), the Berlin Strassenchor (Steven Schmidt) and the Genetic Choir (Thomas Johannsen). Together with Chris Tonelli (RUG Faculty of Arts), they will discuss how music and singing can help people affected by homelessness.

When:Mo 16 May 2022 – 15:00 – 16:45
Where:Room 002, Oude Boteringestraat 34 & Online

Thomas will talk about the Stem&Luister project of the Genetic Choir and others projects with which the Ensemble carries out their ongoing ambition to (also) reach people and audiences who not easily get involved in (modern) art.

You can be part of it, live or online, see the RUG announcement for how to get in:

The Edge of Language – voice impro workshop 25+26 June

YES! Finally we are doing full weekend Intensives again, on subjects that we as Genetic Choir love to explore. 😎

And we start with an old-time favorite:


25+26 June 2022, 10:00-16:30 – 135 euro for both days
Studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam

Reserve your place here!

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?

It is fun to play with the sound of words, it is what children do a lot and it is a bliss to wander around and indulge ourselves in this word-sound playfulness.

But as improvisers, we are looking for more: clarity and depth of expression, not only in music but also when words come in to play. For the audience, the shift from music to words is sudden and momentous, because our minds work that way: they cling to understandable words and story whenever they can. So how do we handle this shift as improvisers? How do we keep the imagination open when words pretend to pin down all meaning? Can we serve both, the god of poetry and the god of music? Or even better: can we stay in the no-mans land between music and meaning, and take all our time to balance on the Edge of Language?