Lode Mertens, teacher

Lode Mertens, born and raised in Geraardsbergen, went to the arts secondary school of the Lemmens Institute in Leuven at the age of 14. After a solid classical education in solfège, music theory, harmony and instrument, he obtained the first prize in solfège at the age of 18. In June 1998, he obtained the Master of Music degree (with Marc Godfroid) at the Conservatory in Ghent.
At the same conservatory, Lode studied orchestral conducting with Dirk Brossé.  

Lode has been a permanent member of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra since 1995. They have created productions with, among others, Philip Catherine, Bert Joris, deFilharmonie, Tutu Puoane, Brussels Philharmonic, David Linx, and Richard Galliano. We also regularly invite internationally renowned musicians: Maria Schneider (US), Kenny Werner (US), Dave Liebman (US), Dave Douglas (US), Gianluigi Trovesi (IT), McCoy Tyner (US), Maria Joao (Portugal), Kenny Wheeler (GB), Lee Konitz (US), Toots Thielemans and others accepted invitations.  

Thus they have built a strong reputation domestically and on international stages. BJO is a welcome guest at venues including Jazz Middelheim (Antwerp - BEL), Jazz at Lincoln Center (NYC-US), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam - NL), Jazz à Vienne (FR), Paris Jazz Festival (FR) and many others. The ensemble's recordings are internationally appreciated and awarded with prizes. In February 2012, the orchestra shared in the Oscar triumph of the silent film "The Artist," as performer of the film score. In 2013, the orchestra celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Lode Mertens, together with Funk-master Frank Deruytter and Dieter Limbourg, founded a 15-member monster: OTOMACHINE. This is no big band, no jazz orchestra, just an extended rhythm section with 9 horns and the unbridled energy of Frank Deruytter up front.

Lode was also a member of the renowned mambo orchestra El Tattoo del Tigre, which visited various international festivals and released three CDs.  

As a freelance musician he played with numerous domestic and foreign artists and collaborated in various TV programs. Thus he has already toured many times, including in Italy, Spain, Portugal, USA, Japan, Singapore, China, USA, Canada....  

He also gained many years of pedagogical experience at the municipal Kunstacademie Geraardsbergen, where he has been a brass teacher and pedagogical coordinator since 1998. Since 2012 he has been teaching big band arranging & big band coaching and ensemble at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and since 2013 he has been teaching ear-training and arranging at KASK & Conservatorium (Gent). 

In recent years Lode has increasingly focused on composing and arranging, mainly for big band, but also for large ensembles such as wind bands.  

He has led several hafabra and big band workshops at home and abroad. He regularly serves as a guest conductor with, among others, the Orkest Koninklijke Luchtmacht (NL).