Vocal Instant Composition

Workshop Dates

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Genetic Choir workshops are open to everyone. Be prepared to work intensely, but don’t worry about your level of experience – no specific vocal skills are required to join. At the same time, experienced and professional singers are always pleasantly surprised and deeply challenged by the high standard of working, notwithstanding the different types of singers present. Any participant is challenged in his/her assumptions about music making and the possibility of their own voice, and leaves our workshops enriched, tired and highly energised. 🙂
The workshops are our own laboratory and training ground, and we are happy to share the work with you!

Thomas Johannsen   

Upcoming workshops are listed below. Be welcome!

If you would like to join, see payment and contact details underneath the workshop description. For questions: workshops@genetic-choir.org


15+16 December 2018 – RESONANCE & VOICE TEXTURES

a Genetic Choir workshop

resonant-voices-original-vierkant-oilify.jpegWeekend workshop to explore and enrich your voice by opening your ears to the multi-layered complexities of sound, and play with it together in a polyphonic way: overtones, textures, resonance, timbre…

In deze workshop onderzoek en verrijk je je stem op het niveau van resonantie en klank textuur. Terwijl je je oren traint, train en open je je stem. We werken en componeren met open klanken, andere textuurrijke geluiden van de menselijke stem, klank-clusters, resonantie-ruimtes, etc… (meer info in het Nederlands, klik hier en scroll naar beneden)

A workshop on improvising with voice colours and resonance

The voice is a special system in our body – it is eager to learn and it reacts to its own sounds. By opening your ears alone, your voice can learn to become more free and resonant.

This workshop will improve your voice by focussing for one weekend on the aspects of sound that are often overlooked: resonance, texture, timbre, overtones. Whatever level of experience you are at, this work will increase your singing skill: Beginners will be surprised about the round and resonant sound that their voice will gain, and the ease of singing that comes with it. Experienced and professional singers will improve their ability to do precision-work in this area: Using timbre and textures to compose music, solo and ‘en groupe’. How to create both soothing carpets of sound and grinding dissonant cluster-chords. How to develop the music together, how to dissolve your voice in a sea of sounds, but also make clearly defined choices and go your own way, if you are inclined to.

In the cold month of December a workshop that will warm you up from the inside and get your whole body to resonate!

15 + 16 December 2018 / 10:30-17:00  /  133,10 Euro (110,- excl.VAT) / Amsterdam

The workshop will take place at: studio Wladiwostok, Bogortuin 16, Amsterdam

To reserve your place in the 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)

FRIDAY MORNING SESSIONS

GC_concerts_smallRegular training/composing sessions in Genetic Choir work on Friday mornings. We do it in a two-week rhythm (every other Friday) and have blocks of 8 sessions in a row, with a fixed group for that block.

No specific singing background is required, but we ask you to do at least one Genetic Choir workshop first, in order for you to find out whether you enjoy the work we do. Participants commit for a set of 8 sessions, so that we can deepen the work from one session to the next.
The sessions are also training ground for the professional Ensemble, so you will mingle with both new and experienced Genetic Choir singers.

More info on the training is here.

The group for the autumn block that starts in September is FILLED by now. You can currently give yourself up for the next block, which will start on January 18th, 2019.

PLACE: studio De Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, Amsterdam
DATES: every second Friday morning, 10:00-12:30, starting January 18th, 2019 (8 sessions: 18-01 / 01-02 / 15-02 / 01-03 / 15-03 / 29-03 / 12-04 / 26-04)
COSTS: 232,32 euro (192,- euro excl.VAT)

To reserve a place in the Friday Session group beginning 2019:

  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)

9+10 February 2019: STRUCTURES & FLOW

a Genetic Choir workshop

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 need to avoid when creating music on the spot.

Definition, however, seems just as important: How to define, sharpen en deepen you material while working with it on the spot, so that 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 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 all these aspects need each other and are always present, whether you want it or not. But what sort of structures/limitations work well within improvised performance? What is smothering the improvisation or numbing it, rather than bringing it to life?

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

To reserve your place in the 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)

23+24 March 2019 – SPACE / SOUND / BODIES

a Genetic Choir workshop

Our body, the space around us and our voice are all subtly connected: if one changes, the other two are affected. To become more aware of this triple interaction and be able to play with it is the focus for these two days with the Genetic Choir Ensemble in May.

The workshop is welcoming everyone who doesn’t mind moving and using their voice. Although most of the group will be comprised of experienced Genetic Choir members and performers, you are welcome with any degree of experience.

We will find that being in relationship opens the voice, whether that relationship is with objects, architecture, or other bodies.  Any type of space – imaginative and concrete – can have profound influence on our sound and music. Everyday life trains us not to be too influenced by spatial and bodily relationships, but for improvisers this is where the magic happens in live performance.

In these two days we will give this interdependence all our attention, so that we can play with it, be moved and surprised and use space, voices and bodies to their fullest ability.

23 + 24 March 2019 / 10:30-17:00  /  133,10 Euro (110,- excl.VAT) / Amsterdam

To reserve your place in the 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

Looking forward to play with you in that wondrous space between sound and bodies!


6+7 July 2018 – THE EDGE OF LANGUAGE

language_edge_closera Genetic Choir workshop

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, mix them and change them. It is what children do a lot and it is a bliss to indulge ourselves into 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, because our minds work that way: they cling to understandable words and
story whenever they can. So how do we treat 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?

6+7 July 2019, 10:30-17:00  /  110,- exBTW (133,10 incl.)   /  Amsterdam

To reserve your place in the 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)


Most of our workshops are taking place in Amsterdam, but we also have come to Rotterdam, Arnhem, Utrecht, Haarlem and Breda in the past (not to mention Torino, Hannover, New York State and Hiroshima)

If you would like to have a Genetic Choir workshop in your own city, just get in touch with us!

Click here for our Workshop ARCHIVE

Methods           Guestbook Workshops