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Trombonist Carlo Mertens grew up under the wings of his father, trumpet player Theo Mertens and his mother, pianist Yvonne Gauthier.

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Carlo learned to play the trumpet aged six as a result of a TV show with ‘Uncle Bob’. At fourteen, however, he became intrigued by the trombone and abandoned the trumpet. His father taught him and less than a year later, he was already playing in various big bands, so he was taught in both the classical and the big band traditions.
At eighteen he became laureate of the ‘Procivitate’ (later called ‘Belfius Classics’).
He completed his studies at the Lemmens Institute, and the conservatories of Ghent and Rotterdam.

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Opera Ballet Vlaanderen

Carlo gained classical experience in numerous national and international ensembles and orchestras, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy, De Munt, the Flemish Radio Orchestra (Brussels Philharmonic), VLOS (nowadays Opera Ballet Vlaanderen) and Champ d'Action.


Since 2009 he has been solo trombonist with the orchestra of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen.

(Interview OBV Magazine 2022)

Carlo Mertens Pop
Pop & Jazz scene

During his classical studies, aged nineteen, Carlo entered the pop scene for numerous artists in Belgium and abroad, first as a studio musician, but he was soon asked to perform live with them as well.
Groups such as Blue Blot, Groove Mania and The Wizards of Ooze were the first to call on him. Later on, more commercial names followed, such as Clouseau, Natalia, Kommil Foo, Will Tura, …

In this period, in which he worked as a substitute in the major classical orchestras while touring with popular groups, he also worked as a professional studio musician.

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Carlo taught at the Academy of Brasschaat for 20 years and is still a teacher at the School of Arts (i.e. Kunsthumaniora) of Brussels. Here, he tries to transfer all his experience to young, motivated students. Students of Carlo’s who have entered the  professional music scene are: Quinten De Craecker (Trombone-Jazz), Luca Simonelli (Jazz-Trumpet), Wim Mattheuwesen (Trombone, Classical), Gert-Jan Schoup (Trombone, Classical), Sander Vets (Trombone, Classical/Jazz), Thomas Roelands (Trumpet, Classical), Nabou Claerhout (Trombone, Jazz), Thomas Monden (Trombone, Classical).

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Carlo has been conducting “The Very Bigband” since 2022. This bunch of super fine people wants to keep big band music alive.

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