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Aankondigingen en terugblikken op Genetic Choir projecten, concerten en workshops verschijnen regelmatig op ons blog. Hieronder vind je de meest recente berichten.
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the Genetic Choir blog

regular news about vocal instant composition ensemble Genetic Choir

Genetic Choir singing on 10 June

Genetic Choir is the in-flesh experience of a utopian idea: To create the music that any moment asks for – together – without knowing the music beforehand. But if everything is possible, how do you decide what to go for? In Genetic Choir workshops you learn how to sync with each other and navigate smoothly in a swarm full of sound possibilities.

Anyone who would like to experience again – or for the first time – the feeling of being a swarm singer, is very much welcome on the upcoming workhop on 10 June in Amsterdam!

Iedereen die weer eens – of voor het eerst – de ervaring wil maken van zingen als een zwerm zangers op de Genetic Choir manier is van harte uitgenodigd voor deze aankomende workshop!

Saturday 10 June – Genetic Choir workshop

14:00-16:30 uur / 37,- euro / studio De Eester / C. van Eesterenlaan 302, 1019 JR Amsterdam

Mocht je onderdeel worden van het Stem&Luister project als zanger-vrijwilliger, dan is deze workshop achteraf gratis voor je!

Reserve a place in this workshop via this form.

Structures & Flow workshop on 8th & 9th of July

There’s a Genetic Choir weekend coming up for experienced improvisers who want to deepen their understanding and technique of using Structures and Flow to let new music emerge!

While intuitively, Flow and Structures might seem opposites of each other, they are in fact completely intertwined. Take river deltas and city traffic: Flow creates Structures (all by itself) and Structures create Flow. When improvising together, we can use the same principles and from two side: We can self-impose structures in order to strengthen our flow, or dive happily into free music and become aware of the structures that emerge.

Structures & Flow workshop

When: whole weekend, 8/9 July, 10:00-16:30
For whom: improvisers with experience
How much: 139,- euro
To directly reserve a place, click here.

Flow 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 want to avoid when creating music on the spot.

Structures, however, seem just as important, even if those structures appear in the moment. We need clarity and a certain definition of the musical landscape in order to deepen our material and give shape to the music, rather than going in all directions at once.

One thing is recognising these emerging structures and working with them in the moment, another is using self-imposed limitations (scores, rules or scripts) for our improvisations. But what sort of ‘extra’ structures work well within improvised performance? Which limitations are energizing, rather than smothering the improvisation or numbing it? Which structures make the currents of improvisation engagingly vivid and increase our flow?

The idea of this workshop is to let you create and undergo many different types of scores and frames and by trying them all discover the workings of a well-designed set-up.

Improvisers and voice adventurers – see you in July! 😊

Improviseren leren – Can you learn how to improvise?

Improvisation – Kan iedereen het leren of moet je er talent voor hebben?

Twee afleveringen van de VPRO / NPO Klassiek podcast serie Improvisatie! gaan hierover, met erg leuke bijdragen van tal van Nederlandse improvisatoren. Een heel palet van intrigerende onderwerpen komt langs, en onder andere ook de manier hoe Oosterse filosofie en praktijken hier een rol in kunnen spelen.

Thomas Johannsen sluit zich in de tweede aflevering aan bij saxofoniste Jelske Hoogervorst, die verteld over hoe de Japanse krijgskunst aikido haar essentiële dingen over improviseren leert. Thomas licht toe waarom aikido daarom zo’n groot deel uitmaakt van de training van zangers in het Genetic Choir. Wie erheen wil skippen: het zit rond minuut 27 van de tweede aflevering.

Wie hierdoor nieuwsgierig wordt om ook eens een aikido les mee te maken – kom gewoon eens langs voor een proefles bij de Kishinkai aikido dojo bij Amsterdam Centraal. Of lees eerst hier nog meer over waarom het zo een goede bezigheid is voor improvisatoren.

De betreffende podcast afleveringen zijn hier te beluisteren:

Improvisatie – Kun je het leren? – Episode 1

Improvisatie – Kun je het leren? – Episode 2

En ook de rest van de serie is de moeite waard, zoals de episode over vocale improviatie! –> click hier voor het overzicht van alle afleveringen.

The Improvisation podcast series that was created in the wake of 50 years of Improvisation in the Netherlands (of http://www.BIMpro.nl) is continuing to be a rich resource of improvisation topics and thoughts. (unfortunately for non-Dutch speakers not accessible, therefore this blogpost was mainly in Dutch, for a change)

Let’s talk about improvisation! – Round Table Talk #2

After an inspiring first Round Table Talk Improvisation in November, there will now be a second edition:

On Sunday February 5th, 14:00-16:30
in the ONDERBUIK (Koningsweg 290, 3585LD) in Utrecht.

The first edition was organized last November on the occasion of 50 years of BIM. During the conversations, there was curiosity about the various improvisation initiatives throughout the country and the expressed wish to come together in this form more frequently. Improvisation ensemble and platform BUI therefore invites you to continue the conversation in Utrecht. The UNDERBUIK is a former nuclear bunker on Fort Lunet I and has now been used for a number of years as a musical breeding ground for young Utrecht musicians, managed by the BUI Foundation.

In this second edition we will continue with the themes that have been offered and new themes and perspectives will be addressed. Above all, the conversation is an encounter!

Free entrance, public, musicians, non-musicians, everyone welcome!
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/FrXHbJo2mAvQL6Sr8

(please park on Koningsweg, after the viaduct it is free, or come by public transport!)

Rondetafelgesprek Improvisatie #2

Na een inspirerende eerste gespreksmiddag in november, komt er nu een tweede editie van het Rondetafelgesprek Improvisatie.

Deze is op zondag 5 Februari, 14:00-16:30 in de ONDERBUIK (Koningsweg 290, 3585LD) in Utrecht.

De eerste editie werd vorig jaar november ter gelegenheid van 50jaar BIM georganiseerd. Tijdens de gesprekken kwam naar voren er nieuwsgierigheid is naar de verschillende improvisatie initiatieven door het hele land. Improvisatie ensemble en platform BUI nodigt jullie daarom uit om het gesprek voort te zetten in Utrecht. De ONDERBUIK is een voormalig atoombunker op Fort Lunet I en wordt nu sinds een aantal jaar gebruikt als muzikale broedplaats voor jonge Utrechtse musici, beheerd door Stichting BUI.

In deze tweede editie gaan we verder door op thema’s aanbod zijn gekomen en er worden nieuwe thema’s en invalshoeken aangesneden.

Bovenal is het gesprek een ontmoeting!
Toegang gratis, publiek, musici, non-musici, iedereen welkom!

Locatie: https://goo.gl/maps/FrXHbJo2mAvQL6Sr8

New year, Last places…

Dear Genetic Choir blog followers,

Genetic Choir in Japan, 2016

a Happy New Year to everyone!

Always a good time to look forward and back at the turning of the years. Doing so, I found this picture from six years ago at the beautiful shinto shrine in Tokushima province, Japan, where we performed (and where there was for sure a New Year ritual these days, to appease the kami ).

Here in Amsterdam, we start the year with upcoming workshops being almost full, which is lovely, but maybe there are people who still wanted to join? Here the update for last places:

There is one last place available in the Melody Makers weekend workshop. 21+22 January 2023. More info here.

There are three more places in the Friday Morning Sessions of 9:00-11:00 (eight mornings, starting in February). If you have done a Genetic Choir workshop before, you can reserve your place here.

The later Friday Morning group at 11:30-13:30 is already full!

There are also a few more places in the free Introduction workshop of Genetic Choir singing in the Stem&Luister project: this coming Saturday, 14 January, from 14:00-16:30. For reserving your free place and more info, click here.

The Ensemble has for 2023 already exciting things lined up, amongst which a documentary that we are going to make with Kim Brand and a pilot research about the effects of music in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and several other partners.

We will update you about all this in the next mailchimp Newsletter, planned for half February!
(if you are not connected to the bigger nieuwsbrieven/newsletters yet, click here.)

Have a good start of your year! 💫

When it’s dark outside, find a melody or two…

It’s becoming more dark outside and the months are getting colder…
In order to get us through the gloomier winter months, Genetic Choir is opening its doors in January for a playful weekend of melody-making!

21 & 22 JANUARY 2023


Melodies are the storytellers of music. Just start singing a few notes and instantly there is a feeling/atmosphere, the beginning and promise of a much longer story. Melodies are also playful creatures, meaning that in bigger numbers they tend to swirl around each other, being looped and copied and transposed, creating ever-new relations and mixed identities, transforming to totally different music or ending in beautiful silences.

time: Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 – 16:30
participant fee: 135,- euro / reserve your place here
place: studio De Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, 1019 JR Amsterdam

In this Genetic Choir weekend workshop, we look at how we use melodies in improvisation singing. Voice work and rhythm will feature along the way, but the focus is on weaving melodies and story. How do you go about it, as an improvisation singer? How do you make it personal and how does ‘meaning’ evolve? But also: how do you work together with other singers when inventing soothing and whirling melodies?

The Genetic Choir approach ensures that you don’t need any particular background to be able to join this workshop. Everybody works from his preferred musical style and own level of experience. The magic happens in the middle.

More info on upcoming Genetic Choir workshops? Check out the agenda.

Let’s talk about Improvisation! – this Sunday @De Ruimte in Amsterdam

Many things have been written and said about improvisation, and still it remains an elusive subject for each new generation of musicians. It’s easy to give up on it all together, because finding words for something that is so multi-faceted and open as improvisation seems often impossible (a popular motto being: “If you get, you get it. And if you don’t get it, there’s no use to talk about it!”).

Still, for all the things that have to happen in order to bring Improvisation to the stage (organising, programming, finding and developing concepts together, selling your act or album, teaching improvisation in whichever context, …) language is needed – somehow.

So at the closing of BIM50the celebration of 50 years of jazz and improvised music in the Netherlands – Dodó Kis and Thomas Johannsen are bringing together a broad range of people from different corners of the impro scene to spend some time to share and exchange ideas in a Round Table Talk. Musicians, programmers, journalists, educators from all over the country will bring their fascination or question to the table, within two rounds of exploration:

What are the essential aspects of improvisation and therefore, what connects us as improvisers, across all genres and approaches?

What is needed for a lively scene that nurtures the craft of improvised music?

Sunday, November 6th, 2022 – De Ruimte, Distelweg 83, Amsterdam

14:00 to 16:30 — Doors open at 13:45

Colleagues from whichever background, but also curious audiences, everyone with a big heart for improvisation, very welcome to join us this Sunday afternoon!

Admission is free, drinks and snacks available. 😀

To share the event on facebook and support the inititative with an ‘Interested’ or ‘Coming’:

podcast “Improvisation!” by VPRO/Radio4 features Thomas talking about Genetic Choir

In the wake of “50 years of jazz and improvisation in the Netherlands” (BIM50), Vrije Geluiden is producing a whole podcast series about the art of improvisation music for the Dutch Radio 4.

In the two-part investigation of ‘Vocal Improvisation’ (podcast #5 and podcast #6 of the whole series, vocalist-improvisers Greetje Bijlma, Kristina Fuchs, Rianne Wilbers and Thomas Johannsen talk about improvising with the human voice.

In the middle of it all, Thomas explains a thing or two about the Genetic Choir way of improvising!

Listen to it here:

Improvisatie! Vocaal (1) – about emotion, sound and text

Improvisatie! Vocaal (2) – about micro-tonal singing, trust and the presence of an audience

And for those who want to see vocal improvisation in action, come to the

Hidden Songs BIM50 concert

tonight in TivoliVredenburg!

21:00 hours, 14-10-2022, Club 9, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht

Genetic Choir singers participate in Freedom to Move on November Music 2022

Genetic Choir singers Ilyas Nadjafi en Yank Bicakci are part of Freedom to Move, a project of Sounds Now on international music festival November Music 2022!

They will give a concert-presentation tomorrow night in the Verkadefabriek in Den Bosch, together with ringleader Sofia Jernberg and the other selected singers, Jodi Gilbert, Rianne Wilbers and Paloma Lázaro Arteaga (each of them great improvisers in their own right!!).

October 12, 20.30 hrs in Verkadefabriek, ’s-Hertogenbosch. Bar is open from 20 hrs. Free entry!

The human voice literally crosses borders in this project:

At the invitation of Sounds Now, a network of European music festivals and cultural centers, singer and composer Sofia Jernberg is working for three days with five singers from diverse backgrounds. They were selected on the basis of an Open Call in which their motivation to participate was central. The participants are asked to leave their comfort zone and go on an expedition beyond language, voice, and musical barriers. The voice is given all the freedom to develop. So: Freedom To Move. The presentation of this intens journey is in October 12, 20.30 hrs in Verkadefabriek, ’s-Hertogenbosch. Bar is open from 20 hrs.

Five festivals participate in Freedom to Move and each selects its own singers with Sofia Jernberg as the connecting link. November Music kicks off this exciting project.

Sofia Jernberg
The Swedish-Ethiopian singer and composer Sofia Jernberg flashes rapidly past all limits of the vocal metier. With her flexible, expressive voice, this voice acrobat is equally at home in improvisational music, as well as performing contemporary scores and her own experimental excursions.
As a workshop leader, Jernberg can boast a wealth of experience. She studied not only jazz music but also composition. Jernberg has worked with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and improvisers such as Mats Gustafsson, Nate Wooley, Petter Eldh and Christian Lillinger. But she also plays a leading role in compositions by Arnold Schönberg (Pierrot Lunaire), Chaya Czernowin and Anna Thorvaldsdottir.

Part of the Sounds Now project, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. In collaboration with HCMF (ENG), Wilde Westen (B) Onasis Foundation (GR) and Ultima (NOR).

BIM50 receives brilliant review in national newspaper NRC —> next concert tomorrow in Haarlem…

Last Mondays edition of Dutch newspaper NRC featured Thomas and the BIM50 project “Hidden Songs” in a cultural review that described Saturday’s concert at the Bimhuis as a ‘dedicated, intimate listening concert’. You can experience ‘Hidden Songs’ tomorrow evening in Haarlem’s jazz-hub De Pletterij. (tickets, click here) – and next week in Utrecht!

“Vocalist and composer Thomas Johannsen plays in his ‘Hidden Songs’ together with two astonishing singers from world music”

Read the full article further below or here on the NRC website.

Next to Genetic Choir singer/artistic leader Thomas Johannsen you will experience pianist Nora Mulder, double-bass player Raoul van der Weide, Cuban singer Estrella Acosta and Turkish singer Cigdem Okuyucu in unprecedented musical interplay of free improv and world music!

photos: Karen van Gilst