The Silo Tapes #1

Composing vocal music in the amazing super-echo environment of an abandoned silo, in the former harbour of Amsterdam.

This is what the Genetic Choir did last month and here is the first of a number of instant compositions we recorded there. ( Maybe a new CD in the making…? )


Many thanks to
Jakub Kupikowski for the suggestion

Carolien Zwirt for the connection

and AMVEST for the permission and opportunity


You can find more Genetic Choir music on our Audio Page or on our first CD.



Concert with Michael Fischer & Orchestra

Next week Wednesday, October 24th, the Genetic Choir will sing a concert with a one-time orchestra and the instant composition conducting of Michael Fischer (Vienna Improvisers Orchestra, Austria).

“Connected For Lift-Off” – signs & wonder(ing)

The concert is part of the TABULA RASA series in MaartenLutherKerk, Amsterdam: Dintelstraat 134, Amsterdam-Zuid

We will perform in the second part of the evening, at 21:00. There’s a great improvisers duo at 20:00. Here the full info:

Wednesday 24th, 2012 – 20h and 21h – TABULA RASA @ Maarten Lutherkerk – Entrance free, donations welcome.

20:00 DUO Mayas – Altman
Laura Altman (AU): Clarinet
Magda Mayas(DE): piano

Laura Altman has been an important voice on the Sydney improvised music
scene since 2007, playing with groups such as The Splinter Orchestra and
Prophets, and collaborating with Australian improvisers including Jim Denley,
Dale Gorfinkel and Peter Farrar. Her delicate clarinet playing suggests a new
way of thinking about the instrument – one doesn’t have the impression of ‘the
clarinet’, more a set of frequencies and ambiguities from her direction. Laura
has toured internationally in 2009 with the Netherlands-based quartet
Laura is also a composer, and is currently co-director and co-curator of the
NOW now Series and Festival of Spontaneous Music, based in Sydney
Magda Mayas is a pianist living in Berlin.
Developing a vocabulary utilizing both the inside as well as the exterior parts
of the piano, using preparations and objects, she explores textural, linear and
fast moving sound collage.
Lately she has also focused on the clavinet, an electric piano from the 60s
with strings and metal chimes, where she engages with noise and more
visceral sound material, equally extending the instrumental sound palette
using extended techniques and devices.
Current projects are “Spill”, a duo with drummer Tony Buck, a duo with
Anthea Caddy (cello), a duo with Christine Abdelnour (sax), “Great Waitress”,
a trio with Monika Brooks (acc) and Laura Altman (cl) and different
collaborations with Andy Moor, Clayton Thomas and Peter Evans.
Magda Mayas has performed and toured in Europe, the USA, Australia and
Lebanon and collaborated with many leading figures in improvisation and
composers such as John Butcher, Peter Evans, Annette Krebs, Phill Niblock,
Andrea Neumann, Axel Dörner, Thomas Lehn and Tristan Honsinger.

Connected for lift off

Signs & wonder(ing)

Genetic Choir:
Gabrielle Barros Martins
Yinske Silva
Marjolijn Roeleveld
Emiel Zonneveld
Hans Paape
Tanaquil Schuttel
Amazone Nativel
Thomas Johannsen
Peter HuberMaaike van de Westhering, Tom Goldhand, Suzan Lemont: dance

José Rodrigues Gomes: recorders, bass dulcian
Laura Altman: clarinet
Christian Ferlaino: alto sax
Felicity Provan: trumpet
Jori van Cranenburgh: violin

Noortje Kohne: violin
James Hewitt: violin
Guillermo Celano: guitar
Harald Austbo: cello
Marko Bonarius: double bass
Jeen Raabs: guitar
Magda Mayas: piano
Kiriakos Spirou: tablet-synthesizer
Robert van Heumen: laptop, controllers
Marcos Baggiani: drums
Michael Fischer: instant composition conductingThis is the first and only encounter of this group of artists gathered, searching for unheard and unseen connections, enriching and uplifting textures, the depth and the wideness, the music is based on free improvisation, hand-signs will organize the performance. Everything emerges out of the moment, even most of us will meet the others the first time ever at MLK this evening. Wish you were here joining us at the unexpected, enjoying this moment in time.

Michael Fischer works as musician-composer at the interface of improvised, new music, noise, soundscapes, on saxophone, violin, CD-players, conducted instant compostions, on sound of speech within musical textures and their structural implications, since 1999 including the electro-acoustic phenomenon feedback. He has collaborated with John Edwards, Mark Sanders, Hilary Jeffery, Marcos Baggiani, Michael Vatcher, Atsuhiro Ito, Irene Schweizer, William Parker, Denis Charles, Felicity Provan, Joao Castro Pinto, Daisuke Terauchi a.m.o. as well as artists in literature focus on experimental poetry, performance/dance, visual arts. In 2005 he launched the Vienna Improvisers Orchestra. As an instant composition conductor he works with improvising orchestras for festivals in Europe and Japan, also giving lectures and workshops.

Thomas Johannsen is founder of the Genetic Choir – – and also facilitates the Carpet Sessions, a space in Amsterdam dedicated to the research on interdisciplinary improvisation:
Venue: MLK – Maarten Luther Kerk, Dintelstraat 134, Amsterdam-Zuid /

Guerilla concerts with Taste Buds

Coming weekend, the Genetic Choir will appear on unexpected moments between the food-stands and eaters of the lovely Smaakexplosies Festival (“Explosions of Taste”) in Zaandam, Netherlands.

We will roam the festival between 13:30 and 17:30 on both
Saturday and Sunday, 15 + 16 September 2012.

The whole afternoon, we will sing instant composition pieces based on the stuff we eat and smell!

Prepare for a “smaakapella experience”…

For route descriptions and more info, click here.

Vocal Improvisation meets Elevator Pitch

The performance “Elevator Music” on September 1st in The Hague was a wonderful experience!   Soon to be repeated in a high building near where you live 😉  .

Here one of the many 55 second compositions we sang that day with unknowing guests of the Penthouse Restaurant filing into the elevator and going up to the 42nd floor:

filming: Petra / video-editing: Thomas / music: The Genetic Choir   

Incognito performance

Some Genetic Choir singers will have an appearance on this year’s Grachtenfestival again. This time not our own concert, but supporting incognito a bigger concert event – Coming saturday night!

Re.sonant on Saturday 13 August, 21:30, De Overkant, Amsterdam-Noord.  See for all info:

If you are a Genetic Choir singer, and you still want to join the incognito performance moment, let us know!

If you are a fan, come and see this concert of Radio Kootwijk Live and Club Cult (which in itself will be a great night out – live concert and dancing!)

Reservations via the link above.

sneak preview for sound performance

For those who cannot make the performance + Brunch on Sunday (see previous post), you are invited to come to the

Try-out / Sneak Preview of the concert, tomorrow!

Saturday 11 June, 12:00 precisely (come a bit earlier).

place: Punt WG, Amsterdam. Entrance Punt WG at Andreasveld/WG plein

Subscribe to this blog (see “Follow the Genetic Choir” on the right) if you don’t want to miss the last-minute info and Sneak Preview invites in the future.  🙂

special concert + brunch :-)

This Sunday, 12 June at 12:00 in PuntWG, Amsterdam, we sing another, again totally different Genetic Choir concert.


This time, in collaboration with Janneke van de Putten, we emphasise the sound/resonance work of the Genetic Choir and connect it to Janneke’s background in Indian singing training.

After the performance, there’ll be coffee/tea and we’ll have a self-catered picknick/brunch with both performers and audience, for anyone who wants to join. If you come and it is possible for you, do bring a bit of nice food to share with everybody!

‘In Vocal Response to this Space’ is a collaborative composition and performance for a group of voices taking place in the beautiful acoustics of the guest working-space at Punt WG. The piece will be developed and performed with the Genetic Choir, an improvisation choir based in Amsterdam and familiar with listening and working with a minimum of sound material.

The performance creates an opportunity to experience and explore collaborative relationships between open tones of vowels and taking positions in the space. Inspired by the natural voice, being the fundament of the classical Indian Dhrupad style, the basics of the piece are long tones, sung without effort.

This is a site specific performance with a limited audience capacity. The performance is free, but bring some food for afterwards (see above) and please arrive early to prevent disappointment. Audience will be admitted from 11.40am for a prompt 12am start.

Janneke van der Putten &
Thomas Johannsen i.c.w.
The Genetic Choir

Performance Sunday 12th June
Doors 11.40am for 12am start.
Entrance Punt WG at
Andreasveld/WG plein,
1054 Amsterdam

Concerts in June 2011

Just to already give you the dates (more info will follow in due time):

There are two more concerts of the Genetic Choir on the agenda for June –

12 June 2011    12:00   
in PuntWG, Amsterdam      a sound/location piece in collaboration with Janneke van der Putten

19 June 2011
a concert on the island Texel (Netherlands) as part of the Midzomerschans Festival
(Festival runs 10:00-18:00, time of concert still to be fixed)

Genetic Choir concerts April/May 2011

20 april  Zaal100 21:00   (Trytone concert curated by Michael Fischer)   / Amsterdam

25 april  Het Glazen Huis  14:00   Easter Monday – a concert for the finissage of a fine art exhibition in Het Glazen Huis, Amstelpark    /  Amsterdam

5 mei   Ruigoord     Concert as part of the manifestation/feast   Vrijf Meij organised by the Museum of the Bohemian.  Programme from 14:00 till next morning.

Concert time not fixed yet, but will be around dinner time.

Concert and Sneak Previews…

Concert this Thursday!

24-03-2011, Punt WG

20:00 doors open, drinks available
20:30 concert starts

For whoever is extremely curious or not able to come on Thursday, you are also invited to come to one of the

Sneak Previews on Tuesday and Wednesday:

Both days from 20:30, you can take part in our rehearsals. You will not hear a full concert but we are happy to involve you in the Genetic Choir kitchen of preparing for a concert (as it is always useful for us to rehearse with real audience).

Tuesday 22-03 and Wednesday 23-03

20:30 sneak previews for the concert

Punt WG adres:
M.v. Bouwdijk Bastiaansestraat 15, Amsterdam

Genetic Choir concert coming up!

There is a concert with only Genetic Choir music on the

24th of March 2011

20:00 uur the doors open and there is a bar. 20:30 the concert starts

Venue: PuntWG , M.v.B. Bastiaansestraat 15
1054 RS Amsterdam.

Additonally, there are very likely to be sneak previews for adventurous audiences on 22nd and/or 23rd of March in PuntWG. Keep this blog in check to hear about it.

Genetic Choir Singing on Huddersfield Festival

It is a small Genetic Choir contribution, but nevertheless worth mentioning here:

Radio Kootwijk Live is giving a concert on the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival on November 22nd, at 2.40 pm  (see

Thomas is part of the ensemble and will instruct the audience to sing, Genetic Choir style, as part of the – also for the rest very unusual – concert. Looking forward to see how ‘Contemporary Music’ audience will react when they are invited to make some contemporary sounds themselves…

Genetic Choir on Grachtenfestival

The Genetic Choir will perform on the Grachtenfestival 2010!

On Saturday 21st of August, about 60 people will sing on the NDSM-werf in Amsterdam a ‘Symphony for Lasloods’.

Other than just a concert, it is this time an interactive workshop/concert with a small group of the regular choir singing with the audience.

Date: 21 August 2010
Time: 16:00-17:00
Place: Lasloods, NDSM-terrein, Amsterdam-Noord

This performance is part of a whole day of concerts that the Grachtenfestival is programming on the NDSM-werf.

Tickets (5,- €) and more information on

PS: Thomas will be a guest in the daily ‘EarBites’ on Friday 20th of August to be questioned about the Genetic Choir by Hans Haffmans. 17:00 in the festivalcafé in Felix Meritis ( & live uitgezonden op Radio 4)

Three performances by the Genetic Choir

The Genetic Choir has performed in the last 5 months two times publicly, and one time informally…

My apologies that I have not been up to speed to announce these things on this blog. Actually, it has been a very nice season with the choir having had a large injection of very committed singers in September 2009. But I have not been very busy this season with posting.

For the meantime and the sake of completeness, here the peformance dates and places of the 2009/2010 season:   🙂

14 March 2010 Genetic Choir as guest of ‘Blauw’, in café Averechts, Utrecht
We performed a short piece inspired by the theme ‘Ijle Klanken’. The composition will be published online on the new website…

7 May 2010 Genetic Choir performs live soundtrack in the Ketelhuis, Amsterdam.
We were asked to perform an hour of instant music, as accompaniment of the screening of ‘Sound of Shadow’. See for more information on the filmproject.

27 June 2010 Informal concert at our rehearsal space in Amsterdam, to close the season.
A 25 minute piece by the choir and a 10 minute piece involving the audience. Both were recorded and the idea is that also these things will be published once the new website is up and running.

Thanks for this beautiful season and have a good summer!

What is the Genetic Choir? click here

Genetic Choir concert on KlankKleurFestival

The Genetic Choir is giving a concert on the KlankKleurFestival in Amsterdam!

date: Thursday, 11th of June 2009

place: Uilenburger Synagoge, Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 91, Amsterdam.

time: from 6 pm

entry: 5,- €

Thursday is the opening event of the KlankKleurFestival (11-14 June), with:
An exhibition of newly-made sound machines; the Genetic Choir at 8:30pm; and around 9.30pm Bach’s haunting Goldberg Variations played by Priya Mitchell, Elisabeth Smalt and Evelien Prakke.

More information and the rest of the programme:

What is the Genetic Choir? Click here!

Genetic Choir in concert

The first public performance of the Genetic Choir is coming up!

Come and listen in on Friday, the 20th of February in the Smart Project Space, Amsterdam.

We are a humble part of a bigger event called ‘Slow Future’, kicking off the evening at 20:30 with half an hour of vocal instant composition.

But there is loads more:

Hisako Horikawa (J) – dance, co-founder of Body Weather with Min Tanaka, Pierre Mansire (F) – Action Light Installation, ETC: Jacques Foschia (BE) – clarinet and radio waves, Anthony Carcone (F) – disturbed string instruments, DFF (US) – sheet metal , Eric Thielemans (BE) – drums, ‘A Snare is Not a Bell’, Andy Moor (UK) – electic guitar, Genetic Choir (NL), Amstel Quartet & Ivo Bol (NL) – saxophone quartet and computer, Doron Hirsch (IS) – butoh inspired dance, Anani Dodji Sanouvi (SEN) – dance , Emma Nik Thomas (IRE) – dance, Marije Nie (NL) – tapdance, Hilary Jeffery (UK) – trombone, drones, Vilbjorg Broch (DK) – performance, Slow Food Amsterdam – slow food tasting

Friday 20 Feb 2009

Smart Project Space
Arie Biemondstraat 105-113 Amsterdam
Food tasting Slow Food Amsterdam @ 19:30
program starts @ 8:30 pm
Entrance €7,50

See for more information: