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.
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:
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?
If after the workshop you decide to join the project, you will become part of the community of Genetic Choir volunteers who are singing with the elderly in the last stages of dementia in care home the Flevohuis in Amsterdam-East. The workshops are free, and if you join the volunteer group, so are the monthly training sessions in improvisation singing that will commence after the summer. Als je na de workshop besluit dat het iets voor jou is, dan kun je je aansluiten bij de community van Genetic Choir vrijwilligers die zingen met de mensen in de laatste stadia van dementie in vepleeghuis het Flevohuis in Amsterdam-Oost. De workshops zijn gratis, en als je lid wordt van de vrijwilligersgroep, dan geldt hetzelfde voor de maandelijkse trainingen in improvisatiezang die bij het project horen en na de zomer van start gaan.
Dates for the intro workshops are at 14:00-16:30 on 28 May, 25 June and 10 September 2022. Click here for the agenda overview of the Genetic Choir website, where you can reserve a place by clicking Inschrijven/Register on the appropriate date.
“The clap of a butterfly’s wings and the buzzing sounds of sudden movement of an imperceptible brown moth. Eyes closed, these sounds are an intoxicating hum; drawn to the night like a lullaby.”
“Het klapperen van vlindervleugels en de plotselinge bewegingen van een onopvallende bruine nachtvlinder. Met gesloten ogen vormen deze geluiden een bedwelmend gebrom; aangetrokken tot de nacht als een slaapliedje.“
On March 19th, Genetic Choir singers are going to perform a special piece of work, developed with artist Ananda Serne for the opening of her exhibition “Insect Sing-Along” at PuntWG in Amsterdam. Read more about it below.
Saturday, 19 March 2022, 18:00-20:00 at PuntWG Place: WG Plein t/o nr 80, 1054 DM Amsterdam
For those of you who have followed the Genetic Choir for the last 10 years, this new collaboration brings back memories of the 2013 Insect Concert at the Utrecht library, the 2016 Moth, Bird and Fox concerts we developed with Marcus Coates for PublicWorksUtrecht and the collaboration with Amy Cutler, creating live soundtracks for nature documentaries on IDFA 2018. Ananda Serne is giving us another opportunity now to follow Genetic Choir’s keen interest in biological patterns for music creation and to explore insect behaviour and sounds by means of the human voice. Come and experience it!
Curator Àngels Miralda:
Ananda Serné’s korte film Insect sing-along (2022) werd ontwikkeld tijdens haar residentie bij airWG. Het werk toont de levenscyclus van een vlinder: rups, cocon, tot de laatste metamorfose naar volwassen vorm. Insecten zijn vaak onze naaste buren, toch worden ze over het hoofd gezien. De vorm van de vlinder verandert plotseling in een robotinsect ontwikkeld aan de TU Delft. Deze prototypes kunnen in de toekomst mogelijk helpen bij de bestuivingstaken van afnemende insectenpopulaties. De verrassende intrede van (nacht)vlinders in de geschiedenis van de technologie ontstond met een anekdote over de oorspronkelijke “computerbug” – een geplette nachtvlinder die in 1947 in een vroeg model van een computer werd aangetroffen.
Achter de filmprojectie lokt een neonblauwe gloed het publiek naar boven, naar een sculpturaal lichtwerk. Nachtvlinders hebben een vreemde fascinatie voor kunstmatige lichtbronnen. Er wordt gedacht dat ze in een constante hoek naar het licht van de maan vliegen om op deze manier te navigeren. Vaak verwarren ze kunstlicht met maanlicht, hierdoor blijven ze om een lamp cirkelen en lijken ze al het andere te vergeten.
Bij zonsondergang presenteert Serné in de tuin van puntWG een performance ontwikkeld in samenwerking met zangers van vocaal ensemble Genetic Choir. Tijdens de reguliere openingsuren wordt de film begeleid door een geluidswerk dat is opgenomen en ontwikkeld in samenwerking met stemkunstenaar Miyuki Inoue.
Ananda Serné’s short film Insect sing-along (2022) was developed during her residency at airWG. It follows the lifecycle of a butterfly: caterpillar, cocoon, to the final metamorphosis towards adult form. Insects are often our closest animal neighbours, and yet, are overlooked in ecological terms. The final form of the butterfly suddenly morphs into a robotic insect developed at the Delft University of Technology. These prototypes could potentially help with the pollination tasks of dwindling insect populations. The surprising history of lepidopterans and technology stems from a remarkable anecdote of the original “computer bug” – a squashed moth that affected early computer operations in 1947.
Behind the screen, a neon blue glow draws the audience upstairs to a sculptural light work. Moths have a strange fascination for artificial sources of light. It is thought that they fly at a constant angle to the light of the moon in order to navigate. They often mistake artificial light for moonlight and in this way lamps distract them and they seem to forget about everything else.
At sunset and nightfall, Serné presents a new performance in the garden developed together with singers from the vocal ensemble Genetic Choir. During regular exhibition hours, a sound piece developed and recorded with voice artist Miyuki Inoue will accompany the silent film.
Dear singing friends, just a note that following the further opening of the Dutch lockdown, all Genetic Choir workshops are happening as planned. Be welcome!
Open Genetic Choir workshop – February 6th, 10:00-13:30 in Amsterdam. place: studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302 // costs: 37 euro –> reserve you place here
The Stem & Luister workshop on January 29th is fully booked, unfortunately. But if you are interested in the Stem&Luister project, let us know through Geeske Coebergh and she will let you know when new intro workshops will be planned: firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who want to train more extensively:
The Friday Morning Sessions for coming spring will be happening on 4, 11 en 25 maart, 1, 8 en 22 april, 13 en 20 mei This sessions are for people with Genetic Choir experience to further refine their skills. You commit to eight sessions with the same group of singers. Read more about the Friday Morning group here.
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
The workshops are for free, but registration is needed. To secure a place, write to Geeske Coebergh, coordinator of the project: email@example.com
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 december2021
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.
Place: studio de Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam
Workshop fee for 8 sessions is 238,- euro (incl. BTW)
“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 hereif you want a place and please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
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: email@example.com – – – 0612326402 We can exchange during our first meeting your needs. I’m open to hear them! If you have questions please ask!
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.
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
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!
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.
UPDATE: 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: http://www.facebook.com/carpetsessions/live
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
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.