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Thijs van Leer

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Thijs Van Leer (born 31 March 1948, in Amsterdam) is a Dutch musician and singer, best known for being in the progressive rock band, Focus.

Van Leer has also made many solo albums which were also classical music and jazz based.

His main instruments are flute and different types of organs. He also sings, yodels and whistles.

Van Leer received his first flute at the age of eleven from his father, a classical flautist. He studied History of Art at Amsterdam University; he then began studying flute and composition at Amsterdam Conservatorium. He received a degree for flute from Geneva Conservatoire and also studied piano, orchestration (with Rogier van Otterloo), and organ (with Anthon van der Horst).

While still at school, van Leer led a jazz group on piano. Later he played flute and sang for the Ramses Shaffy cabaret group. In 1969 he joined Martin Dresden (bass) and Hans Cleuver (drums) to form a trio that covered songs by Traffic and backed other Dutch musicians, as well as playing their own material. Later in the year Jan Akkerman joined, completing the line-up of Focus. They released several albums in the early 1970s.

Van Leer stayed with Focus through several line-up changes, and by 1977 he was the only remaining original member. The group disbanded in 1978. In 1985, van Leer briefly reunited with Jan Akkerman to make Focus 1985. In 2003, van Leer joined what had been a Focus tribute band to release the album Focus 8.

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