Vocal Instant Composition


Playful Music Education :)

ijopner-gc-article-croppedAn article appeared in the Amsterdam local paper “Ijopener” with a good description of the improvisation philosophy behind Genetic Choir workshops and the new initiative to offer workshops for kids as well (VoiceLab / Eester Imps)

Read it here. (for Dutch readers and Google translators🙂 )

Moments in the near future to experience Genetic Choir work:

29+30 October  MELODY MAKERS workshop, Amsterdam

4 November       EVENSONG (a bird song concert on Utrecht CS i.c.w. Marcus Coates)

2 December       CHURCH SONGS FOR THE 21st CENTURY (Obrechtkerk, Amsterdam – mixing music of western and non-western spiritual cultures. info/tickets here)

28+29 January  RESONANCE AND SOUND TEXTURES workshop, Amsterdam


and – new – for kids:


Wednesday afternoons in Studio de Eester, Van Eesterenlaan 266, Amsterdam.

two groups:  5-6 year olds  //  7-10 year olds   //  more info and/or inscribe via eesterimps@gmail.com



How Genetic Choir work lands in Hiroshima… 

After our tour to Japan, we received this engaging impression from one of the Japanese participants of the Creative Music Festival: 

wp-1476384771751.jpgA Personal Report on Creative Music Festival 2016

by Hiko (Nobuhiko Itani)

Wonderful 2 day festival in Hiroshima! The hall was always filled with good atmosphere that made participants positive and creative. I had lots of precious experiences during the festival. All events in the program, including Genetic Choir’s performances, workshops, a lecture, a symposium, and a concert were really impressive and meaningful to me.

1. First of all, I was deeply moved by the opening performance by Genetic Choir (GC). It was exciting experience for me to witness the genesis of sounds and music.

2. Two workshops by Mr. Thomas Johannsen (the leader of GC) were really joyful and meaningful. I learned a lot not only from Thomas but also from other participants. It was most impressive to me that I felt silence as substantial when all of us closed our eyes, kept long tones, and listened to the silence in the wave of sound. I was excited to feel that the silence had a color, weight, texture, and density.

3. It was also wonderful experience for me to take part in the “Stage” workshop navigated by Mr. Daisuke Terauchi. It’s a really splendid idea to “do anything you want to do!” It was interesting to see that there was a harmony on the stage while each participant did what he/she wanted to do. I found it joyful to watch people doing what they want to do.

1-dsc048924. In the symposium, I was impressed with some ideas, especially ones shared between Thomas and Kristien. Thomas said that GC tries to accept everyone who wants to take part in the choir. (I’m not sure if GC welcomes everyone as its member. Maybe he just referred to the case in GC’s workshops.) Kristien added that when she finds it uncomfortable to sing along with a newcomer, it is a good opportunity to search for a new way to make the choir more interesting. Thomas and Kristien share the idea that they can and should learn from newcomers and even from beginners. Even when it seems that a newcomer is not good at singing, they try to find something special in his/her singing. I think that GC regards diversity, individuality, and relationship among people as the most important elements of creativity.

1-dsc049565. In concert, the last event of CMF2016, all the participants performed on the stage, sometimes with the members of GC. Most participants bravely tried to do what they had never done. Everybody on the stage was really beautiful because of the big challenge.

It was amazing experience for me to perform with GC and other participants. Ralph, Tanaquil, Thomas, Monica, and I improvised a children’s song. I was so happy that I saw everything in the hall was shining. The closing performance by GC was also wonderful. The members invited the audience onto the stage during the performance. We all were free to sing, to shout, to chant, to dance, and to chat, but there was a harmony on the stage: a harmony that originates in disharmony. It was touching to me that the light on the stage and the darkness on the seats for the audience overlapped with each other and created beautiful scenery.

Kids Genetic Choir — 8 October open dag!

Beste Genetic Choir vrienden, Dear Genetic Choir friends (see English below),

het zat er al 5 jaar aan te komen, en nu gebeurt het: eindelijk kun je ook je kinderen laten improviseren op Genetic Choir manier!  :)

Zaterdag aanstaande is er een open dag met gratis proeflessen in Amsterdam: het VoiceLab voor kinderen, uitgevoerd door Genetic Choir zangers/docenten. Dit gebeurt onder de paraplu van “Eester Imps” (improviseren voor kinderen in het Oostelijk Havengebied). Na de herfstvakantie beginnen de reguliere lessen op woensdagmiddagen. Zie de flyer beneden voor alle details.

Zaterdag zijn er twee VoiceLab sessies, voor verschillende leeftijden. Als je wil komen, geef dan je kinderen op voor de gratis proefles via eesterimps@gmail.com  (graag leeftijden vermelden)

5-6 jarigen: 14:45-15:30  (pientere 4 jarigen zijn ook welkom)

7-9 jarigen: 16:15-17:00

Meer informatie in de flyer beneden. De open dag duurt van 13:30-17:00 en er is veel meer te doen (JammenXS, MaakLab), dus ook spontaan langskomen kan: studio “De Eeester” – C. Van Eesterenlaan 266, Amsterdam

Facebook liefhebbers kunnen ons vinden en liken op: https://www.facebook.com/eesterimps

Tot zaterdag!


Dear Genetic Choir friends,

finally you can also let your kids enjoy the Genetic Choir improvisation work.  If you live in Amsterdam, send your kids along next Saturday for free sessions of the VoiceLab / Eester Imps.

The regular sessions will be on Wednesday afternoons (see flyer for the times), but next Saturday, the Open Dag is from 13:30-17:00. We will do two VoiceLab sessions for different age groups and if you want your kids to be part of it, please send us an e-mail via eesterimps@gmail.com to reserve a place.

14:45-15:30 we do the 5-6 year olds (bold 4 year olds also welcome)

16:15-17:00 we do the 7-9 year olds

More (Dutch) information in the attachment. There are other cool things to do like building/crafting things (MaakLab) and Jamming in a band formation (JammenXS).

We are also on facebook, if you are too, have a look and like us on: https://www.facebook.com/eesterimps

See you on Saturday!

9 days in Japan… 

The Genetic Choir Ensemble is right now boarding their plane on Tokyo Narita Airport on their way back to Amsterdam.

What an amazing days it have been! 

You can find the on-the-go photo diary of our tour and performances via the link below.

Genetic Choir Ensemble facebook page (with a.o. the Japan Journey day-by-day journal )

(the page is accessible even if you are not on facebook)




More detailed reports will follow! 

Music for puppets in Japanese mountains

img_1131 In what may be the most unlikely artistic collaboration of this year, the Genetic Choir will create new music for the piece “Born on this Planet” by Bunraku company Mokugu-sha on 22nd and 25th of September in Tokushima, Japan.

After giving vocal workshops and concerts coming weekend in Hiroshima (see here), the Genetic Choir Ensemble will travel to Tokushima province where they will meet with master puppeteer Kanroku, who is one of the most prominent performers and teachers of this ancient puppeteer tradition.

For a new play that he created in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster (“Born on this planet”), he asked the Genetic Choir to create new all-vocal music, which will be premiered on the 22nd and 25th of September in Japan. First in Tokushima city, and the second performance in one of the ancient village puppet theatres (Kitagawa Nouson Butai ), up in the mountains of Tokushima province. img_1132

We can’t tell you how excited we are! 😀

If you want to follow what we’ll do:

There will be regular updates about the Japan tour via facebook. We have a brand new Genetic Choir Ensemble page:


And you can also still befriend us as https://www.facebook.com/genetic.choir

Melody Makers: 2 day workshop to start the season!


Melodies are the storytellers of music. Just start singing a few notes and instantly there is a feeling/atmosphere, the beginning and clear 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.

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 make an improvised melody personal and meaningful? How do you reach the audience with your story? But also: how do you work together in this, composing a piece collaboratively?

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, where we meet.

Dates: 29th + 30th of October 2016
Times: 10:30-17:00 (both days)
Place: Amsterdam (studio Wladiwostok, Bogortuin 16)
Costs: 110,- Euro excl.VAT / 133,10 incl.

To reserve a place, or ask your questions, please send a message to:


PS: The next Genetic Choir workshop after this one will be about “Resonance & Voice Textures” and is happening on 28 & 29 January 2017. Click here and scroll down for more info.

photo by Oxyman GFDL, CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Introduction Workshop Genetic Choir on 17 september

24hRes_GCtrio10_croppedWhile the Genetic Choir Ensemble is on the plane to Japan, you have the opportunity to get acquainted with Genetic Choir singing on

Saturday, 17 september 2016
in Amsterdam!

Here the info:

(1) 24hRes_zaklampen1On September 17th, (13:00-17:00), you can join a workshop in the Genetic Choir method in preparation to a bigger event: “Resonance Night” in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in the night from October 1st to 2nd.

For €35,- you participate in this workshop, lead by Jeannette Huizinga, and you can put what has been learnt into practice by singing with Jeannette & Yinske (both long-time Genetic Choir singers) during Merlijn Twaalfhoven’s special vocal sounds night.

More info & subscribe for the workshop September 17th: click here.

Quite a couple of friends of the Genetic Choir are also giving other cool workshops in preparation of the collective Resonance Night experience: Check out Marije Nie, Tanaquil Schuttel, Laura Stavinoha, the Pauni Trio and Yinske Silva, and their workshops as well!

More info on Resonance Night on October, 1st and other connected workshop dates: click here

Photos: Poike Stomps