Vocal Instant Composition



WhatIIIF 2019 in full swing!

Genetic Choir & stichting Here & Now are co-organiser of WhatIIIF? Festival in Gothenborg. For an impression of Day 2, click on the post below.


Interdisciplinary Instant Composition

Dear improvisers,

the 2019 edition of WhatIIIF in Gothenborg, Sweden, is going into its second day and the work is expanding, connecting and thickening. What a wonderful, intense day.

If you happen to be close enough, come tomorrow for witnessing more of this process of exchanging about the art of interdisciplinary improvisation performance at Galleri 54 (10:00-15:00) or in the evening during the Tiny Festival where we will do the opening performance at Theater Trixter (18:00)

participant-performers-observers-researchers-editors-authors of WhatIIIF? 2019:

Tuva Hildebrand, Nathalie Fari, Marianthi Michailidou, Catharine Cary, Reinhard Gagel, Thomas Johannsen, Shelley Owen, Esmeralda Detmers, Benedikte Esperi, Alexandra Mahnke, Lisa Petersen Larsdotter  

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Genetic Choir workshop 26 May – Rhythm & Timing

(zie beneden voor Nederlands)      

A Genetic Choir workshop is musical cooking practice 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 choose what you want to go for? And how do you do that together, in interaction and in contact with others? In this workshop you learn how to move smoothly in a kitchen full of sound possibilities and also to remain true to yourself and your own voice. We train surrender and clarity, pleasure in your own voice and that of another, and the bliss of silences.   

Where? Belcrumhuis, Pastoor Pottersplein 12, Breda

When? Sunday, 26 May 2019, 11:00-17:00

How much? 73 euro       

To register for the workshop on 26 May, please use this payment link:
https://useplink.com/payment/B9MQgHsRKv2ny47b8GqC+ stuur een mailtje met je naam en tel.nummer aan workshops@genetic-choir.org     

A few quotes from previous participants:      

I am still in awe of the affect your workshop had on me.  It helped me re-connect with a part of who I am that I’ve been missing these past few years, which was exactly what I was looking for.  And the warmth and openness of the group made each discovery a gift I will always cherish.  Truly inspiring and soul soothing… it was like coming home. Thanks again.”

“Few days after our workshop in Prague, I realized, that what I took from it really differs from what I thought. I expected to change my perspective, to play, to have fun, to experience lightness of being. And yes, it worked fine, but here is what I unexpectedly found:
Structural clarity of improvisation
I find your way of explanation of techniques and way of speaking about improvisation really revealing. I learned in few exercises we did to understand where am I, what is the “place”, when is the change, to recognize what is coming and to react on it. And this is what I needed. To know where am I in this moment, to understand, that improvisation is not vague, indeterminate, but clear, that there are “places” and changes and “places” that are close to previous ones or really far, that they can return so we can abandon them without frustration and find the old ones or the new unexpected ones with joy. Thank you very much for the workshop!


Een Genetic Choir workshop is een muzikale hutspot met geïmproviseerde ingrediënten. Iedereen kan zonder voorkennis deelnemen, want alle soorten stemmen en muzikale voorkeuren zijn welkom.  Maar als alles mogelijk is, hoe kies je dan waar je voor wil gaan? En hoe doe je dat samen, in samenspel en in contact met anderen? In deze workshop leer je zowel soepel mee te bewegen in een keuken vol met klankmogelijkheden als ook trouw te blijven aan jezelf. We trainen overgave en stevigheid, plezier in je eigen stem en die van een ander, en het plezier in de stilte.

Wanneer? Zondag, 26 mei 2019, 11:00-17:00
Waar? Belcrumhuis, Pastoor Pottersplein 12, Breda
Hoeveel? 73 euro    

Om in te schrijven voor de workshop op 26 mei, gebruik deze link:

+ stuur een mailtje met je naam en tel.nummer aan workshops@genetic-choir.org 

Een paar workshop reacties: 

“Voor mij een hele nieuwe ervaring, het  improviseren met mijn stem. Het was een heerlijke dag met een fijne groep mensen waar ik me veilig voelde om te experimenteren en te spelen met mijn stem. Veel geleerd en gelachen. Genoten van de kundigheid en positieve precisie van Thomas.”

“Thomas, zoals ik je al gesms-t had, ik vond het puur kikken zaterdag, zoals je vanaf het begin zorgde dat het veilig was voor iedereen en je professionaliteit die uit al de oefeningen sprak. Ik heb genoten van alles, de momenten dat er iets ontstaat met de ander(en) zijn voor mij ook een soort stilte momenten in de zin van “wauw” ik beleef dit samen met anderen, ik maak er deel van uit. Kortom een workshop die smaakt naar meer.”

What IIF? festival in Gothenborg and article in German Improfil journal

One of the side endeavours of the Genetic Choir is to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange about improvisation and the nomadic What IIIF? festival is a place where we do exactly that.

The third beta edition of the festival is coming up in Gothenborg, Sweden:

WHAT IIIF? 2019 – 16-19 May 2019

From all niches of Europe and beyond a good handful of improvisers will gather to play, eat and bend their heads together around the maybe impossible question:

How to document and reflect on improvisation in a meaningful way when it comes to interdisciplinarity?

An article has been published in the German improvisation journal “Improfil” last december, which was written by Thomas and his colleague initiators of the festival, Catharine and Benedikte. It gives a good insight into our utopian endeavour. Read it here.

And if after reading, you are interested to come to Gothenborg: feel welcome and read further in this pdf.


What IIIF logo Gothenburg 2019

artwork: Catharine Cary

Concert this Saturday: “Voices of Salt Water Skin”

salt water skin boats erica grimm cropped left

Genetic Choir is performing a special concert this Saturday in the Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam. Our voices will interweave with the architecture of the church and the art installation “Salt Water Skin Boats” by Canadian artist Erica Grimm.

De precaire balans tussen mens en natuur zoals verbeeld in de installatie ‘Salt Water Skin Boats’ van Erica Grimm kenmerkt ook de composities van het Genetic Choir. Deze creëren orde en betekenis vanuit chaos en klankwillekeur. De interactie tussen de zangers weerspiegelt zowel menselijke als natuurlijke processen en schept klankruimtes die even intiem als tijdloos zijn.

The performance is happening in collaboration with the Van der Leeuwstichting and is part of the Amsterdam-wide exhibition Art Stations of the Cross.

Concert: Voices of Salt Water Skin

Waalse Kerk Walenpleintje 159, Amsterdam
Saturday, 30 March 2019, 14:00-15:00

Entrance is free!

Collaboration with MESH dancers in the making

Screenshot 2019-03-18 at 09.39.17The public-space dance project MESH by choreographer Vanessa Grasse (UK) develops improvisation strategies that have great affinity with Genetic Choir principles.

We are dreaming about a public space project in Amsterdam next year that combines Genetic Choir singers and MESH dancers.

For the upcoming SPACE SOUND BODIES workshop this weekend in Amsterdam, Vanessa and two of her dance collaborators will join us from England for the Genetic Choir take on combining movement/space awareness and voice improvisation. We will also do an extra exploration session on Monday with Vanessa Grasse, Bettina Neuhaus and Ensemble singers.

For the SPACE SOUND BODIES workshop (Saturday+Sunday), anyone is welcome to join! There are still a few places left: click here for more info.

Bodies and Breda: two Genetic Choir workshops in March

Two workshops, in Breda and in Amsterdam, are coming up for you to join!

In Breda, there is a one-day voice workshop, with the pioneer Genetic Choir singers who started gathering in the South of the Netherlands. (one of two workshops planned, the other one is on 26 May, but you can inscribe seperately)

You are very welcome to dip your toes into the free improvisation experience, even if you have no experience with Genetic Choir singing. More info, click here

17 March 2019, 11:00-17:00  /  73 euro  /  Breda

To inscribe for 17 March, use this payment link:
+ send an email with your name and tel.number to workshops@genetic-choir.org

In Amsterdam, we are looking forward to the SPACE SOUND BODIES weekend, which will be a new venture into instant composition performance from the double perspective of both singers and dancers. No specific background required, we only need your curiosity for using your voice and body in new ways. More info, click here.

23 + 24 March 2019 / 10:30-17:00  /  133,10 euro / Amsterdam

To inscribe for 23+24 March, use this payment link:
+ send an email with your name and tel.number to workshops@genetic-choir.org



9+10 February 2019: STRUCTURES & FLOW

structures+flow3Flow 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.

Definition, however, seems just as important: How to define, sharpen and deepen you material, so that there is clarity in what you are doing and it doesn’t go in all directions at once? How to tame the river of inspiration and let it stream lively at the same time?

One (but not the only) thing that can help with gaining more definition are Structures: self-imposed limitations to your improvisation. We will find that limitations and structures are not the opposite of freedom or flow, but that flow and limitation need each other and are anyway always present, whether you want it or not. 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 lively and increase our flow?

The ambition of this workshop is to work with many different types of scores and frames and by trying them all find the principles of a well-designed set-up!

9 + 10 February 2019, 10:30-17:00  /  110,- exBTW (133,10 incl.)  /  Amsterdam

location: studio De Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam

To reserve your place in this workshop:

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