26 September 2022

Nieuw Geneco hosts a series of online opera workshops

Nieuw Geneco is a partner in the international project Opera: Past, Present, Perfect. From 14 October till 16 December, we organise weekly online workshops each Friday at 12:30 (Amsterdam time). If you are curious how the past and present can shape the future of opera, feel welcome to join wherever you are based. The workshops are free. Sign up now!

Workshop no. 1: Friday 14 October 12:30
Opera in the Expanded Field by Jelena Novak

What does it mean to sing (beyond opera) today?
In 1979 Rosalind Krauss wrote her famous essay Sculpture in the Expanded Field. She reacted to the rising of postmodernist sculpture and its departure from the formalist frame. She redefined the world of sculpture by positioning it between architecture and landscape. Theorizing the world of contemporary opera, Jelena Novak realizes that Krauss’s concept of the expanded field still can serve as an instructive input for discussing one discipline ‘beyond itself’ in various ways. In the case of opera, she illuminates several ways how it goes ‘beyond itself’: opera beyond drama, opera beyond live performances, opera beyond the opera house, opera beyond the human/voice, opera beyond the composer, opera beyond the West and finally opera beyond the operatic.

Jelena Novak gives several examples for her discussion on what it means and what it takes to sing (beyond opera) today: Einstein on the Beach (1976) by Philip Glass, Robert Wilson and Lucinda Childs, Rosa, the Death of a Composer (1994) by Louis Andriessen and Peter Greenaway, One (2002) and Eight (2018-19) by Michel van der Aa, Hopscotch (2015) by The Industry, 7 Deaths of Maria Callas (2020) by Marina Abramović and Marko Nikodijević, An Opera of the World (2017) by Manthia Diawara (and sahel opera Bintou Were, 2007, by Wasis Diop, Koulsy Lamko and Ze Manel), Sun and Sea (2019) by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė, The Opera of Prehistoric Creatures by Marguerite Humeau and The Singing Machine/The Audition (2019) by Martin Riches and Tom Johnson.

Jelena Novak works as a researcher at CESEM, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa. Her interests are modern and contemporary music, recent opera, singing and new media, capitalist realism, voice studies and feminine identities in music. Exploring those fields, she works as a researcher, lecturer, writer, dramaturge, music critic, editor and curator focused on bringing together critical theory and contemporary art. Her most recent books are Operofilia (2018) and Einstein on the Beach: Opera beyond Drama (co-edited with John Richardson, 2019). She is currently writing the book Opera in the Expanded Field.

Workshop no. 2: Friday 21 October, 12:30
An Interactive talk about collaborating in music theatre and modern opera by Karin Netten

What happened with my music? Why is the director not using everything precisely as I have written it down? Via case examples, we dive into the world of multidisciplinary collaborations. What do you need, expect, want, and how does ‘the brain’ of the other artist works?
During this workshop you can bring your case of a successful or rough collaboration with, for example, a director.
What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to work multidisciplinary? We will discuss how the different disciplines work and think. About the needs of everyone and what is essential to make a collaboration successful. About setting boundaries and being flexible

Karin Netten has been the director at KASKO (formerly Kameroperahuis) since 2019. Before that, she was a theatre director and, later, an artistic coordinator. She graduated from the Theatre Directing department of the Amsterdam University of the Arts. Before that, she followed the Drama Teacher program at the NHL University of Applied Sciences. Her goal is to further develop and shape the music theatre and opera genre, together with talented contemporaries. Karin wants to make moving, tragicomic music theatre performances in which everyone’s talents blossom and with which she enthuses a broad audience and introduces them to this beautiful art form.

Workshop no. 3: Friday 11 November 12:30
Show yourself! Composers and (online) presentation
@ New Music Conference Verkadefabriek, ’s-Hertogenbosch
Tickets: https://www.newmusicconference.nl/tickets/

Many composers are averse to online self-promotion. But what if you can do this in a way that completely suits you and your music? Creating an online presence is not always a matter of shouting louder. Besides, it can be a fun way to garner new commissions. Get inspired by this panel! Music publishers Donemus and Deuss explain how they promote their composers. We have also invited Thomas van Dun, composer, and Femke Steketee, saxophonist and content marketeer, to talk about how they approach their work and online presence. So at the end of this panel, you will leave with a heap of inspiration and a desire to get started yourself!

This panel is produced by the New Music Conference in collaboration with Nieuw Geneco.

Alejandra Castro (manager promotion & publishing, Deuss Music, NL)
Aleksandra Marković (manager production, Donemus, NL)
Thomas van Dun (composer, NL)
Femke Steketee (saxophonist, content marketeer, NL)
Esther Gottschalk (director, Nieuw Geneco, NL)

Workshop no. 4: Friday 18 November 12:30
How to pitch, present, promote yourself by Femke Steketee
Location: Q-factory Amsterdam
Sign up: https://forms.gle/mgRr88T1ai3nXYyL9

The best key is C…of content! How to compose valuable content for a target audience to pitch, present and promote yourself online? On November 18, Femke Steketee will give a workshop about online findability. You may know Femke as a saxophonist, but she is also a content marketer and helps various cultural organizations with online visibility, campaigns and strategies. We would like to hear from you about which topics you would like to learn more about. Vote in the sign up link and sign up for the workshop!

Femke Steketee (saxophonist and content marketeer, NL) has graduated cum laude at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague as a student of Frank Timpe and Leo van Oostrom, and the Conservatory of Amsterdam as a master student of Arno Bornkamp. Femke plays regularly with several symphony orchestras and has a chamber music duo with pianist Tobias Borsboom. Next to being a musician, Femke is a writer and columnist. After founding her blog ‘Sax and the Pretty’ which introduces young adults to classical music and acted as a master research for her studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, she has been invited to write about her experiences in the classical music scene for multiple (online) platforms and has been helping various cultural organizations and creators as a content marketer and strategist to create campaigns and valuable content for online channels.

Workshop no. 5: Friday 25 November 12:30
Negotiating and grand rights by Davo van Peursen (Donemus)
Sign up: https://forms.gle/ZqA1THxmm22zkfcF8

Davo van Peursen is the managing director for Donemus Publishing BV. He studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and worked at Donemus since then. He shaped the publishing house into a modern and active company, embracing new business models and technologies. He teaches entrepreneurship to composers at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.
Davo is also the director of the Dutch Music Publishers Association and represents music publishers in the Members Council of Buma/Stemra.
Aleksandra Markovic is Manager at Donemus publishing. After obtaining her BA at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, she moved to the Netherlands in 2004. During her MA and PhD studies at the University of Amsterdam, she was focusing on issues of personal agency and authorship connected to copyright protection in the field of popular and world music, specifically problematising industry-accepted idioms of borrowing, arranging and sampling. She presented her work at various conferences and appeared as (guest) lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, Conservatory of Amsterdam, Leiden University, Codarts Rotterdam, Faculty of Music Belgrade, and other academic institutions. In her role at Donemus Publishing, she works on releasing new titles, as well as negotiating legal terms for small and grand rights, including accompanying royalties.
Workshop no. 6: Friday 2 December 12:30
Everything you want to know about Buma by Kitty Borst & Lilian Rozenberg
Sign up: https://forms.gle/JmYyczVnDVZ95ygg9

Buma is an association that issues licenses and collects fees for ‘the publication of music’ in the Netherlands. Buma’s aim is to exploit the rights of its members as optimally as possible.
How do we do this? What is the process of collection from the music user to payment to right holders? What is Buma’s role and what is your own role? And what are grand and small rights? Find out during this presentation.

Other questions related to Buma? Let us know using the sign up form!
This presentation is mainly aimed at composers residing in The Netherlands.

Kitty Borst is Account Manager Theater at Buma. She communicates with theaters about the licenses for the music in the performances they have programmed. She gets questions from theater producers about how they should or can arrange the music rights for the use of existing music in a performance and from authors who mainly make music for theater performances.

Lilian Rozenberg is a lawyer at Buma/Stemra and advises various departments on copyright matters, like the preparation and supervision of copyright proceedings and negotiations with music users. She is happy to contribute to Buma’s goal of ensuring that music creators receive fair compensation for the use of their music.

Workshop no. 7: Friday 9 December 12:30
Wikipedia writing workshop
by Nienke Amarins Hettinga and Iris van Vliet
Location: Q-factory Amsterdam
Sign up: https://forms.gle/UiDwfFy9F8tUc94ZA

In this workshop we will work on creating wikipedia pages for composers!
Led by Nienke Amarins Hettinga and Iris van Vliet, the workshop begins with an introduction to creating Wikipedia pages. What is important to know before we start?
After this we will work in pairs or in groups. The pages can either be written about one another, or you can choose a composer beforehand who is not yet on Wikipedia.

Nienke Amarins Hettinga is an energetic, creative mind who combines guts and critical thinking in the right dose. Skilled in both social psychology and gender studies and an affinity with patronage studies makes her a person with a variety of knowledge and skills. The combination between these skills and her critical eye is of value in today’s society. During her first year of psychology she discovered that there is a difference between the attention given to female scientists versus male scientists. Only three female scientists were featured in the 150-page textbook she had to read on the history of modern psychology. To try and make a difference she decided to start writing at the first place people go to look for information: Wikipedia! This resulted into Wikipedia writing workshops, in collaboration with Iris van Vliet, to stimulate others to write biographies about undervalued groups in our society too.

Iris van Vliet is a creative and open-minded education professional in primary education. While teaching in both international and Dutch primary education, she experienced the so-called “gender gap” while preparing lessons and projects. Compared to finding male role models, it was a lot harder to find female role models in the standard curricula. After she encountered the same problem during a search for female role models on the internet, the idea arose to organise a Wikipedia writing workshop in collaboration with Nienke Amarins Hettinga. Through this initiative, she hopes that information about female role models will be more visible and easier to find on the internet. 

Workshop no. 8: Friday 16 December 12:30
Creation as a ping-pong game by Meriç Artaç and Sjaron Minailo
Sign up: https://forms.gle/uTELNcT9HS8gDg3E7

Composer Meriç Artaç and director Sjaron Minailo will discuss alternative and contemporary ways of creating opera performances. They will dive into the creation process of their own opera ‘The Arrival of Mr. Z’ as a casestudy of a non-hierarchic process where the creative-team work both collectively and independently and the different art forms within the performance are of equal importance and co-depended. How does such a non-linear creation process work when text, music and image are created not successively but simultaneously? What kind of artistic relationship does it ask for from the creators?

Sjaron Minailo is a Dutch/Israeli opera director and curator living and working in Amsterdam. He is the artistic director of Studio Minailo, a laboratory for experimental music theatre and opera and of Re:master Opera, a master programme at the Sandberg Instituut. At the Opera Forward Festival by the Dutch National Opera he is Artist-Curator. Minailo is specialised in highly visual site-specific opera performances that break the boundaries of the traditional opera space and experience. His work is often a reaction to or reflection on social and political developments and aesthetic transformation of cultures. Alongside classical and contemporary repertoire he is also known for new creations based on compositions that were not necessarily created to be staged and new collaborations with living composers.

Meriç Artaç is a composer and music-theatre maker based in Amsterdam. She is a cultural entrepreneur in the broadest sense of the word. She focusses on creating and composing music for theatre projects and opera. Her interest in multidisciplinary pieces has resulted in collaborations with dance, theatre and film. Her compositions, both acoustic as well as electronic, are musical representations of characters and stories she creates. As of September 2018, Artaç started teaching composition at Amsterdam Conservatory and became coordinator and the representative of the composition department of Rotterdam Conservatory.


The international project Opera: Past, Present, Perfect has been launched within the Creative Europe-Culture, European Cooperation Projects 2020. The realisation of the project will last from 1 September 2020 to 1 February 2023. Besides project leader Music, Opera and Theatre organisation MOTO, the other project partners are Nieuw Geneco from Amsterdam, Young Musician International Association of Georgia from Tbilisi (Georgia), the University of Donja Gorica in Podgorica (Montenegro) and the Duško Radović Theatre from Belgrade (Serbia).

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