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Born and raised in a small village near the Dutch coast, guitarist and composer John van der Veer studied classical guitar and musicology at the University of Utrecht. John spent most of this time performing and composing for ensembles in theatre plays and other guitarists. The focus of music in his student days varied from avant-garde, music for modern dance, baroque and classical, big band jazz and pop music. Partly due to John's study of the science of musicology, he developed his interest for music outside of mainstream Western classical history.

After his studies, he travelled the world playing the guitar - both electric and acoustic - in various groups and ensembles, but also as a solo artist. At home his composition is focused on visual images; John writes mostly for plays in theatres, film and documentaries.

In 1989 John joined a group of seven guitarists called 'Seven Slowhands' (nicknamed after 'slowhand' Eric Clapton). The band performed compositions by Klaas ten Holt - one of the slowhands - and was part of a unique tour in that same year throughout Russia (at that time the Soviet Union), Siberia, Mongolia, China, India and Indonesia.