The Genetic Choir is a utopian idea and an ensemble of contemporary vocal improvisers that creates their own artistic projects and can be approached for (interdisciplinary) collaborations, improvisation research projects and for giving concerts.
The Genetic Choir is organisationally backed by the Dutch foundation Here&Now, interdisciplinary instant composition. Through this legal body, the Genetic Choir creates their own funding and artistic/organisational partnerships. See for our recent and current projects: www.genetic-choir.org/projects
Philosophy and Background:
The ambition of the Genetic Choir is to instantly compose, as a group, the music that any given moment asks for. Rather than being conducted, we want to be a choir that organises itself by the musical intelligence and intuition of all the members. Using principles of self-organisation and swarm intelligence, the Genetic Choir – as an organism – is the author and composer of all our music.
The Genetic Choir began in 2007 when Thomas Johannsen started gathering friends and colleagues to explore the possibilities of the human voice, composing as a self-organizing system and the joy of improvising and singing in general.
Although Thomas fulfills the role of artistic director for the organisation of the choir, he is completely part of the swarm of singers when the choir performs, and does not fulfill any structuring role in the moment of instant composition. Sessions and workshops in which we train interdisciplinary swarm intelligence, vocal technique and improvisation are lead by different members of the ensemble.
We are looking at the whole range of the human voice, of which the more unusual sounds are often called ‘extended voice techniques’. But we also enjoy straight and harmonious singing. Whatever sounds we are making, we are always seeking to let the voice be ‘real’ (which actually is quite easy, but sometimes – when performing – feels like the hardest part).
Next to this, developing an understanding of how to work inside a big group of singers is an important part of the training: How to be one ‘agent’ of music amongst many, how to deal with your own desires/tastes/wishes and include them in the whole. We are also training musical principles like rhythm, sound textures and melody, but we always try to keep the system open for any type of music to appear (and not just the known genres of music).
The Genetic Choir is a professional & experimental singing ensemble that gives concerts and workshops all over the world and in various types of collaborations and circumstances. Our home city is Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Improvisers involved as singers in the Genetic Choir over the last five years were:
Anita Kooij, Annabel Garringa, Anne Brattinga, Annelie Koning, Annemarie Steinvoort, Burkhard Körner, Chandana Sarma, Dido Mirck, Eduardo Suarez, Emiel Zonneveld, Geeske Coebergh, Hans Paape, Irene Rametta, Jeannette Huizinga, Kristien Sonnevijlle, Laura Stavinoha, Lies Beijerinck, Marjolijn Roeleveld, Martine van Ditzhuyzen, Meagan Hughes, Miyuki Inoue, Moira Mirck, Monica Coronado, Petra Pieck, Ralph de Rijke, Rutger de Groot, Tanaquil Schuttel, Thomas Johannsen, Yankı Bıçakçı, Yinske Silva, Zwaan de Vries