Hardy Mertens (Nieuwenhagen/Netherlands, 1960) studied musicology at the Utrecht University as well as composition and band conducting at the Utrecht Music Conservatory. He started his musical career as a clarinettist and arranger in the Netherlands Royal Military Band but later became known worldwide as a composer and conductor.
At present he is professor in band conducting & composing at the Fontys University of the Arts Tilburg and resident conductor of the Royal Symphonic Winds Orpheus Tilburg. He is also an associate conductor with the Netherlands Police Orchestra. Hardy is playing an active role as guest conductor, clinician, lecturer and judge particularly in Singapore and Italy and he also has had occasional engagements as guest conductor in USA, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong and many European countries.
For his achievements in the field of wind music in general and specially for the Corpo Bandistico di Borgosatollo, this city awarded Hardy their honorary citizenship in May 2016.
For his contribution to the development of wind music in the Netherlands and abroad, Dutch musical rights association BUMA awarded Hardy the 2020 Buma Wind Music Award (popularly known as the "Edison of Winds"). The price giving ceremony is scheduled for saturday 28 november 2020 @ Veluvine Nunspeet during the annual Fanfare Repertoire Festival, in cooperation with Fanfare Orkest De Hoop Stellendam conducted by Anne van den Berg.
Hardy's compositions are performed worldwide and have often been recorded by top bands, in addition to being chosen as compulsory pieces for the World Music Contest, the Flicorno d'Oro wind band competition and various other international contests. His music is rooted in the European orchestral tradition and is often influenced by folk music from different continents. It contains traditional tonality, extended melody lines and percussive patterns and these are often combined with humorous surprises and unusual sounds. This complexity usually results in a high grade of difficulty and sometimes this causes controversy with conductors and musicians.
Occasionally Hardy also composes and arranges in the field of light music. Several of these songs have achieved favourable positions in the Dutch hit charts.