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Wim Mertens

Date of birth1953

The Belgian composer Wim Mertens (born 1953) is an international recording and performing artist who has given several concerts, as a soloist and with his ensemble all over Europe, in North and Central America, Japan and in Russia.

Wim Mertens plays the piano and the classical guitar. He sings in a characteristically high-pitched voice, using a carefully crafted personal language.

Since 1980 he has composed many pieces in different formats, from short, accessible songs or Lieder to magnanimous and complex three and four parts cycles, and for different settings: from piano solo to chamber music ensembles and symphonic orchestra. He often writes for unusual instrumentations: twelve piccolos, ten basstrombones, thirteen clarinets.

Since his recording debut in 1980, titled For amusement only, an electronic composition for pinball machines, Wim Mertens has released more than 50 albums.
He wrote American Minimal Music, the first book which deals in depth with the school of American repetitive music. Early landmark albums are Vergessen (1982) and Struggle for pleasure, including Close cover, still one of his classics.

The 1985 album Maximizing the audience, marks the introduction of the vocal element in Mertens' music. Throughout the years the composer has expressed the increasing vocal inspiration of his music on piano and voice albums such as A man of no fortune, and with a name to come (1986), After virtue (1988) and Stratégie de la rupture (1991), Jérémiades (1995), Der heisse brei (2000) and Un respiro (2005).

Mertens also released albums for various ensembles: Motives for writing (1988), Jardin clos (1996), Shot and echo - A sense of place (1992), Integer valor - Intégrale (1999), Skopos (2003) Partes extra partes (2005), recorded with the Brussels Philharmonic (Vlaams Radio Orkest) and Receptacle (2007), performed by a group of 17 musicians, all women and L'heure du loup (2008).

Started in 1991 with the trilogy Alle dinghe, the ambitious cycle Qua, covering 37 cd's, followed by the tetralogy Gave van niets in 1994, the trilogy Kere Weerom in 1999 and the tetralogy Aren lezen in 2001. The whole cycle Qua was released as a box set in 2009.
Other special releases included the 1997's guitar album Sin embargo and Moment (2003), a 13 albums box set covering the period 1980-1989 with 80 compositions.

In 2002, Wim Mertens started with the release of a live series entitled Years without history composed of live recordings completed since the 80's. The series includes so far 7 albums: Moins de mètre, assez de rythme (2002), In the absence of hindrance (2002), Cave musicam (2002), Not yet, no longer (2004), With no need for seeds (2004), The promise kept in advance (2008, only included in the 6 cd's box set Years without history vol. 1-6) and Nosotros (2008).

In 2006, first DVD live recording, What you see is what you hear, including 16 compositions selected from 25 years' career.

Wim Mertens