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!