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the Genetic Choir blog

regular news about vocal instant composition ensemble Genetic Choir

Improvising in times of Corona

dear everyone,

as you can imagine, all activities of the Genetic Choir that relate to physically being together, in training or with an audience, have been postponed at the moment.

Concretely, this means cancelling the Space Sound Bodies workshop and postponing the Friday morning sessions of March/April. Also the Huis van Lied en Geluid activities are postponed for now. We hope that in June we can start again, and that the Edge of Language workshop can happen as planned.

For May, we were involved in organising the Improvisation Festival in Berlin (WhatIIIF2020), which we will postpone to 2021 for the physical meeting, and we are thinking of creating an online improvised festival for the coming month(s). If it happens, we will let you know.

And here some more thoughts, for in the waiting state:

IMPROVISED WORLD

It is not the world’s choice, and the situation is severe, but it is also worth considering that these are big times for improvisation, from small to big : parents with their children, self-employed people, businesses, care organisations, governments, everyone is improvising – we have no choice.

Here’s the serious side of improvisation, as improvisation is, as you know from training, so much more than just being playful:
How to act and react inside a context that is completely new to us and has many unsure variables that we cannot control? How to make choices that are bold, enriching and constructive for you and your environment in order to let new structures emerge?

Governments and care organisations are improvising on the very edge of the knife, having to make decisions with incomplete data daily that effect (current or future) life and death of a lot of people. But also the rest of us is asked to improvise, find new (daily) meaning for our lives while being mainly at home, create new structures and warm experiences for ourselves and the ones that are close to us, while the times are uncertain.

MAKING MUSIC DURING CORONA

To create live music together is such a strong, life-giving force, and it seems that we will run short of it in the coming months, although there are a lot of examples that could inspire us to initiate live music in our own neighbourhood: There are the balcony/window concerts that we saw starting in Italy, there is howling together as wolves every evening at a set time (in the US). Do you know of any other nice examples of creating live music in Corona times?

Seems like these are times when you could get to know your neighbours in a different way than you would have done without this crisis, by for example asking them if they want to sing with you from their windows? 😀

As long distance (online) making live music together is concerned, things are a bit more complicated for improvisers because of the time-latency during online calls. But it is not impossible for some kinds of music at least…. Maybe there are some technology savvy improvisers who have found good ways, or will develop this now that the need is higher than usual.

For any of the above, we are curious to hear thoughts, links and inspiration from you, if you like. Get in touch by any method you know, or via: info@genetic-choir.org

Wishing everyone out there health, happiness and music in these trying times!

xxx
Thomas


Explore Space and Language in two weekend workshops in April and June

Planning is ready for two Genetic Choir weekend workshops that are coming up:

SPACE SOUND BODIES – 18/19 April 2020

Our body, the space around us and our voice in the room are all subtly interconnected: if one changes, the other two are affected. The focus of this workshop is to become specialists of this triangular relationship, to be moved and transformed by it while we instantly compose musical performances in space.

THE EDGE OF LANGUAGE – 13/14 June 2020

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? And also the other way around: What kind of music is hidden in existing words and texts?

Find them in our AGENDA on the new website to read more about it, and to inscribe and reserve your place.

Improvisation and Memory – inviting improvisers to WhatIIIF Berlin – 21-24 May 2020

Upcoming in May, and this time in Berlin, Germany, is the 2020 edition of WhatIIIF? – a meeting of improvisers from all disciplines interested in improvisation research.

Genetic Choir has been standing at the cradle of this festival and hosted the 2017 edition in Amsterdam, after which being involved in generating two more editions in London (UK, 2018) and in Gothenborg (SE, 2019).

Now you are invited to join us in Berlin!

21 May 2020 (13:00) – 24 May 2020 (13:00) – WhatIIIF Berlin 2020

IIIF stands for International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival and the WhatIIIF? gatherings/meetings/festivals are dedicated to attempting to answer the absurd question: Can improvisation be documented and reflected upon (and how should that be done)?

This years theme is: Improvisation and Memory

The website improvisation.wiki is a constant working space and open library of improvisation aspects. It gets energized through the yearly meetings of WhatIIIF? and everyone is invited to contribute to it through these yearly gatherings, or at any other time, from their own improvisation practice and perspective.

We invite now all interested improvisers to join us from 21-24 May 2020 in Berlin to take this utopian idea of a shared language for interdisciplinary improvisation practice further. Our hosts this year are the Exploratorium Berlin and Impro-Per-Arts.

Find the open call for participation here:

Invitation Call WhatIIIF Berlin 2020

WhatIIIF 2020 logo by Catharine Cary, photo below by Fabien Collini / performance by Constantin Leu and Catharine Cary

Happy New Melodies & more

Happy New Year and welcome in Genetic Choir’s 2020 !

We have a full year ahead, but let’s start slowly and with January only… 🙂

13 January – introduction workshop for volunteers (in Dutch) for the Huis van Lied en Geluid project in the Flevohuis, Amsterdam –> more info

18+19 January – MELODY MAKERS – a Genetic Choir weekend workshop about weaving melodies and story in improvisation singing –> more info

24 January – the spring block of Friday Morning Sessions is starting up!
You can still join, if you have done a Genetic Choir workshop before (and otherwise, you can come on 18+19 January and join as well 🙂 ) –> more info

All these things you can find on the agenda of our BRAND NEW WEBSITE!

Have a great, warm, melodious year!

Magical silences during the premiere & Genetic Choir on Radio 1 today

With anticipation, we expected our audience in the wide, dark space of the Dominicuskerk, last Sunday evening, for our premiere of (Non)Corpus: God.

Lamps came closer to us, each audience member carrying one, finding their place on the wooden floor, on red pillows and on randomly placed chairs.

What followed was an intense concert experience for both performers and audience, with a beautiful, silent intermission (with nourishment for the second half of the journey) and (the acoustics of) the church building as the most intimate companion.

It ended as well in the most refreshing, magical, held silence between singers and audience we have experienced yet. A silence in which all the music that passed by in the previous hour reverberated in the air and in the people present.

Like one audience member said to us afterwards: “I was so much in the experience after the concert, I didn’t want to leave!”

Coming Saturday, we are doing it one more time. Grab your chance for this experience and reserve:

Tickets (Non)Corpus: God – Saturday 28 december 2019 – 20:00

Christmas Eve with Genetic Choir on Radio 1

On the Dutch national news radio – NPO Radio 1 – the Genetic Choir will appear today between 16:15 and 17:00. There will be an interview with singers Jeannette Huizinga, Yanki Bicakci, Irene Rametta and Thomas Johannsen, and we will do also some instant improvising/composing in the mobile send truck of Radio 1 that will park for us near Amsterdam Central Station today (a stone throw away from the Dominicuskerk).

Talkhost Naeeda Aurangzeb will be discussing with us the (Non)Corpus: God project and the possibility of celebrating the intangible, across religious / non-religious borders (on Christmas Eve 🙂 )

UPDATE: you can listen now to the interview we gave via the Soundcloud link below.

photos: Frank Verhagen

Dutch News puts (Non)Corpus Concerts in the spotlight!

NRC Handelsblad and Radio 4 have put the upcoming premiere of (Non)Corpus: God in the spotlight with tipping the 22+28 december concerts in the NRC weekend agenda and with an interview with Thomas Johannsen last Thursday in Podium on NPO Radio 4

Click here to listen to the interview (in Dutch language), with examples of the concert’s source material.

There are still tickets for the premiere tomorrow, 22-12: click here

Or on Saturday next week, 28-12: click here

Watch the trailer of our concert here. 😀

Inside View of (Non)Corpus: God / PREMIERE this Sunday!

IMPROFIL, leading German magazine for improvising musicians, has published an article about (Non)Corpus: God, written by artistic director Thomas Johannsen in its annual edition. The article gives the reader a deeper insight into the thoughts/intentions and (work) process of this project. The article is in English. >>  Read article

You can also listen to the recent (Dutch) interview about the project that was broadcast by NPS Radio 4 here.

All the while, the premiere of (Non)Corpus: God is approaching!

This Sunday, we will fill the big and beautiful Dominicuskerk in Amsterdam with 100 moving lights, sounds from east to west, and music from deep inside and from intangibly far away.

Tickets for 22 december, 20:00 – Click here

Tickets for 28 december, 20:00 – Click here

See you there!

Singing IDENTITIES of migrants today

Premiere Identities Amsterdam,
In the context of the programVan heinde en ver, artist duo Take Twee has realized five film portraits of Amsterdammers with a migration background for Museum Perron Oost. On the occasion of the premiere, the Genetic Choir provides a musical portrait of the people portrayed. There will also be talks with the film makers and the people in the film.

Friday, 13 December 2019, 16:00-18:00
Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis (IISG), Zeeburgerkade 10, Amsterdam

Première Identities Amsterdam,
Kunstenaarsduo Take Twee heeft voor Museum Perron Oost – in het kader van het Programma Van heinde en ver – vijf filmportretten gerealiseerd van Amsterdammers met een migratieachtergrond. Ter gelegenheid van de première verzorgt verzorgt het Genetic Choir een muzikaal portret van de geportreteerden. Er zullen tevens gesprekken zijn met de filmmakers en met de mensen die in de film te zien zijn.

Interview (Non)Corpus – Concertzender

Thomas Johannsen tells us more about (Non) Corpus: God between 2:20 PM and 4:00 PM on Concertzender > listen live

UPDATE: the Dutch interview on Concertzender is not available to listen back, but you can listen to the recording of the Radio 4 interview with Hans Haffmans here.

(Non)Corpus: God – 22 & 28 December 2019 @Dominicuskerk, Amsterdam


(Non)Corpus: God concert trailer is out!

For the upcoming concerts in the Dominicuskerk on 22 and 28 december, Peter Franken has made a second trailer for (Non)Corpus: God. Images and sound are taken from the try-out at Pakhuis de Zwiger on 20 november.

Come and see the whole concert, with special light and space concept in the big historic church by architect Kuypers on the Spuistraat in Amsterdam!

Both days at 20:00 – Dominicuskerk – Spuistraat 12a – Amsterdam

Tickets 22 december: Click here.

Tickets 28 december: Click here.

You can also go to our NEW website here for more info on the project.