The Revenant Soundtrack

The Revenant SoundtrackCover

Bryce Dessner teamed up with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto to score Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s most recent film The Revenant. The film was released by 20th Century Fox in New York and Los Angeles on December 25, 2015 with a wide release on January 8, 2016. The soundtrack was released December 25, 2015 on Milan Records. The music received a nomination for Best Original Score in the 2016 Golden Globes. Alejandro G. Iñárritu won for Best Director for The Revenant at the 2016 Academy Awards.

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Filament Cover

Produced by Bryce Dessner, Filament features world-premiere recording of works by Bryce, Nico Muhly and Son Lux, plus a Philip Glass classic performed by the American new-music sextet eighth blackbird. The album was released September 11, 2015 on Cedille Records and includes Dessner’s piece “Murder Ballades.” A set of seven instrumental ballads, the piece was inspired by the tunes, stories and playing styles from the great American folk music tradition. The ballads include pieces loosely based on classic tunes, plus Dessner’s original compositions which were informed by the many months he spent inhabiting the seductive music and violent stories of these murder ballads. Dessner is also featured elsewhere on the record as the guitar player on the live-in-concert recording of Glass’s “Two Pieces” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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September 22, 2016

“Le Week-end Bryce Dessner” at Philharmonie de Paris

This weekend I have two performances at the Philharmonie de Paris that I am very excited about– “Grand Soir with Bryce Dessner” on September 24 and “Invisible Bridge” on September 25. The programs will feature new work premieres and performances by myself, Justin Vernon, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Aaron Dessner, Katia and Marielle Labeque, Eighth Blackbird and more! Even if you are not in Paris and unable to attend, you can still watch the performance on September 24th, which will be broadcast live. Tune in here.

August 10, 2016

Transpecos Film Score

I had the opportunity to work with my brother Aaron Dessner on composing the score for Transpecos. The soundtrack is out September 9 via Milan Records and includes 17 of our compositions from the score. The film arrives in theaters on September 9. You can listen to some of the music now and see the tracklist, trailer and artwork here.

August 4, 2016


We’re putting together a weekend full of music and inviting our friends from along the way. It’s about new material, collaborations, unique arrangements and dissolving borders. Join us in Berlin at Funkhaus, the historical radio recording studios of the former GDR, on October 1st and 2nd. More info here.



October 1-2, 2016Funkhaus

Funkhaus, Berlin, Germany
A weekend full of music featuring new material, collaborations and unique arrangements put together by Bryce and Aaron Dessner, Justin Vernon, Ryan Olson, Vincent Moon, Brandon Reid and Berlin’s Michelberger Hotel

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October 8, 2016Americana With Ensemble Intercontemporain

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wires performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Raphael performed by Dessner with the Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Andre de Ridder

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October 8, 2016Regular Crisis

Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany
A multimedia performance featuring performances by MDR Symphony Orchestra and music by Bryce Dessner

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October 10, 2016Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27

Tese Theatre, Venice, Italy
Performed by Bang On a Can All-Stars as part of Bienniale Musica

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October 18, 2016Music of Bryce Dessner

Schaubühne Lindenfels, Leipzig, Germany
Tuusula, St. Carolyn by the Sea, Lachrimae, Raphael and Garcia Counterpoint performed by the MDR Symphony Orchestra, Nicolas Altstaedt and Dessner

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October 19, 2016Music of Bryce Dessner

Festspielhaus Hellerau, Dresden, Germany
St. Carolyn by the Sea, Raphael, Lachrimae and Garcia Counterpoint performed by the MDR Symphony Orchestra with Dessner

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October, 20, 2016Lachrimae

Steintor-Varieté, Halle (Saale), Germany
Performed by MDR Symphony Orchestra

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October 21, 2016Murder Ballades

ArtsRiot, Burlington, VT, USA
Performed by TURNmusic

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October 21, 2016Music of Bryce Dessner

Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, France
Garcia Counterpoint performed by Dessner, Ornament and Crime performed by Yuki Numata Resnick, Delphica performed by Nadia Sirota and Music for Wood and Strings performed by So Percussion

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October 23, 2016Murder Ballades

Green Mountain Club, Waterbury, VT, USA
Performed by TURNmusic

November 12, 2016New Work (Title TBD)

W2 Poppodium, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
World premiere of a new composition for solo harp performed by Lavinia Meijer

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Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany
Performed by Bang On a Can All Stars as a part of Field Recordings

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Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium
Performed by Bang On a Can All Stars as a part of Field Recordings

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March 10, 2017Tenebre

The Kentucky Center, Louisville, KY, USA
Performed by the Louisville Symphony Orchestra as part of ‘Sacred and Profane’

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March 11, 2017Tenebre

The Kentucky Center, Louisville, KY, USA
Performed by the Louisville Symphony Orchestra as part of ‘Sacred + Profane’

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April 1, 2017Tuusula

Kings Place, London, England
Performed by Nicolas Altstaedt as part of the Cello Unwrapped series

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April 28, 2017Murder Ballades

Klarman Hall Auditorium, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Performed by eighth blackbird

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June 17, 2017Reponse Lutoslawski

King’s Place, London, England
UK premiere performed by 12 Ensemble

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Music for Wood and Strings by Bryce Dessner and So Percussion

This shimmering 36-minute piece is performed by So Percussion on amplified, dulcimer-like “Chord Sticks” created by instrument builder Aron Sanchez of Buke and Gase. The sound is kaleidoscopic. Using sticks or violin bows, the players can sound either of two harmonies, or play individual strings, melodies, and drone tremolos. Music for Wood and Strings was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered by So Percussion at Zankel Hall in 2013. The album was released May 19, 2015 on the Brassland label (May 18 in the UK).

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Music for Wood and Strings Album Cover


Following his acclaimed compositional release Aheym, Bryce Dessner released St. Carolyn by the Sea on March 4th. Released on Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music, St. Carolyn by the Sea features debut recordings of three of Dessner’s compositions – the title work, “Lachrimae” and “Raphael” – performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic under conductor Andre de Ridder. The pieces draw from a number of different influences including Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur on the title piece, compositional work from renaissance composer John Dowland on “Lachrimae,” and experimentation with an old harmonium on “Raphael.” The recordings feature performances on guitar by Dessner and his twin brother, Aaron. St. Carolyn by the Sea presents Dessner’s works alongside a suite by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, one of Dessner’s peers as a rock guitarist and genre-bounding composer.

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Bryce Dessner released Aheym, an album of quartets, on November 5th on Anti- Records. The album finds Dessner collaborating with Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary season. Aheym features four original compositions by Dessner performed by Kronos Quartet as well as an appearance by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Dessner and the quartet first crossed paths when Kronos founder David Harrington approached Dessner about writing a piece for the quartet’s performance at the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 2009. The ensuing piece, “Aheym” (meaning “homeward” in Yiddish), was informed by the stories of Dessner’s Jewish immigrant grandparents who settled near the park and, as the pair’s collaboration grew, became the album’s title track.

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“Bryce Dessner is a man who slips in and out of musical guises with disarming ease… this is gorgeous and full-hearted music.” – NPR

Bryce Dessner in Grammophone: read

Bryce Dessner interviews Philip Glass for Interview Magazine: read

Bryce Dessner on BBC Radio 4 Minimal Impact: Listen

Music For Wood & Strings

“Music for Wood and Strings” is proof that Dessner’s taste for experimentation outside indie rock is steadily becoming the more interesting side of his genre-blind personality.”
– The Washington Post

“The result is startlingly enjoyable. Dessner continuously indulges the listener, stacking his instruments’ unique timbre into appealing, consonant harmonies, and hocketing them into a elaborate rhythmic dialogues with each other.” – Q2

“The most impressive feature of Music for Wood and Strings is the diverse array of emotional impulses it cohesively presents. The piece feels unified and whole, like a rug woven together from a million particolored strands of yarn.” – Consequence of Sound

St. Carolyn By The Sea

“It is glacial, patiently ecstatic… Dessner’s ear for string writing is particularly rich.” – Pitchfork

“[Dessner] has spread his wings as a classical composer.” – New York Times

“With this work, Dessner has proven himself a master of orchestral colour… its breadth and depth were palpable as full brass and percussion brought the work to its apex.” – Classical Voice America

“It is glacial, patiently ecstatic… Dessner’s ear for string writing is particularly rich.” – Pitchfork


“A gorgeous and compulsively listenable four-track album.” – Rolling Stone

“A series of captivating and compelling compositions… an excellent debut disc.” – Grammophone

“Mr. Dessner’s work begins in near-darkness and progresses to light…Kronos gave a taut performance, deeply felt.”
New York Times

New York Times Interactive feature on “Aheym”: view

Murder Ballades

“The score has vivid instrumentation with marvelous upward string slides.”
New York Times

Black Mountain Songs

“The result is “Black Mountain Songs,” an exhilarating 90-minute staged choral work…The sheer beauty of [Brooklyn Youth Chorus’] singing was captivating.”
New York Times




Solo Violin. 2 min.

Commissioned by Jennifer Koh with the generous support of Justus Schlichting to whom this music is dedicated. Premiered by Jennifer Koh on May 24, 2016 at National Sawdust in New York, NY, USA as part of her ‘Shared Madness’ project for the New York Philharmonic.

El Chan2016

Two pianos. 16 min.

Commissioned by Britten Sinfonia and Wigmore Hall. To be premiered by Katia and Marielle Labeque on September 25, 2016 at the Philharmonie de Paris in Paris, France.

El Chan2016

Piano Quartet (Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello). 16 min.

Commissioned by Britten Sinfonia and Wigmore Hall. Premiered by the Birtten Sinfonia on April 12, 2016 at the West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, England.

The Most Incredible Thing2016

Orchestra. 40 min.

Commissioned by the New York City Ballet. Premiered by the New York City Ballet on February 2, 2016 at Lincoln Center in New York, NY, USA.


Cello Solo. 10 min.

Commissioned by Meidän Festivaali, Sounds from a Safe Harbor, and National Sawdust.

Median Organs2015

Organ Solo. 4 min.

Commissioned by The Southbank Centre. Premiered by James McVinnie on September 24, 2015 at Royal Festival Hall in London, England.

Garcia Counterpoint2015

Solo Electric Guitar And Tape. 8 min.

Commissioned by Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam for Cross-Linx 2015. Supported by the AMMODO Foundation. Inspired by Steve Reich and Jerry Garcia.


Solo Viola. 15 min.

Commissioned by Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam for Cross-Linx 2015. Supported by the AMMODO Foundation. Written for Nadia Sirota.

Ornament and Crime2015

Solo Violin. 15 min.

Commissioned by Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam for Cross-Linx 2015. Supported by the AMMODO Foundation. Written for Pekka Kuusisto.

Wave Movements2015

Strings, Timp, Percussion and solo voice, performed live to a film by Hiroshi Sugimoto. c. 60 min.

Co-composed with Richard Reed Parry. Commissioned by Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Cork Opera House, Sydney Festival and St. Denis Festival in collaboration with MET Museum Presents for the NY Philharmonic Contact Ensemble.

Tromp Miniature2015

Marimba and Crotales. 5 min.

Commissioned by International Tromp Percussion Competition 2014.


Orchestra. 17 min.

Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, to be premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Walt Disney Performance Hall on May 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA, USA

Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 272015

Bass Clarinet, Vibraphone, Piano, Electric Guitar, Cello and Double Bass. 5 min.

Commissioned by Bang on a Can, Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven, and Sacrum Profanum Festival. Premiered September 17, 2013 at Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow, Poland.

40 Canons2014

String Quartet and Guitar. 25 min.

Commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, premiered by Kronos and Bryce Dessner at the Barbican Concert Hall in London, England on May 14, 2014.

Reponse Lutoslawski2014

String Orchestra. 23 min.

Co-commissioned by the National Audiovisual Institute of Poland and the Mexico National Orchestra, premiered by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra at Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera in Warsaw, Poland on November 29, 2014.

Music For Wood And Strings2013

Percussion Quartet. 40 min.

Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, premiered by So Percussion at Carnegie Hall on November 23, 2013.

Listen on WQXR.org

Black Mountain Songs2013

Chorus A Capella / Chorus Plus Instruments. 70 min.

Co-curated with Richard Reed Parry. Music by Jherek Bischoff, Bryce Dessner, Tim Hecker, John King, Nico Muhly, Richard Reed Parry, Caroline Shaw, and Aleksandra Vrebalov. Commissioned by The Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Brooklyn Academy of Music, premiered April 13, 2013 at the MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Murder Ballades2013

Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Piano, Violin, Cello. 16 min.

Commissioned by eighth blackbird and Lunapark and funded by The Doelen Concert Hall Rotterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam, and Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven, with the financial support of The Van Beinum Foundation, premiered April 5, 2013 at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Little Blue Something2012

String Quartet. 7 min.

Written for Kronos Quartet, premiered May 31, 2012 at Ensems Festival in Valencia, Spain.


String orchestra. 15 min.

Commissioned by Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Scottish Ensemble, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, premiered June 16, 2012 at the Holland Festival. Performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta, conducted by Andre de Ridder.

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St. Carolyn by the Sea2011

Electric Guitars and Orchestra. 15 min.

Commissioned by American Composers Orchestra and Muziekcentrum Eindhoven.

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To The Sea 2011

Vocal. Variable Duration.

Premiered November 2, 2011 during the “Monstrance” installation collaboration with Matthew Ritchie at L&M Arts Los Angeles.

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The Long Winter2010

Solo Cello. 7 min.

Commissioned by Naive Records (FR) for cellist Zachary Miskin.


String Quartet and Pre-Recorded Track. 15 min.

Commissioned by Kronos Quartet and the Barbican (London).

Tour Eiffel2010

Chorus and Mixed Chamber Ensemble. 15 min.

Co-commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with St. Ann’s Warehouse, Kaufman Center, Manhattan New Music Project and the Ectstatic Music Festival for performances at St. Ann’s on February 10-12, 2011 and at Merkin Concert Hall on March 12, 2011.

O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind2010

Piano, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Cello, Double Bass and Clarinet. 15 min.

Commissioned by the People’s Commissioning Fund and Bang on a Can for the Ecstatic Music Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, NYC on February 10, 2011.

The Long Count2009

Orchestra and 4 singers. 70 min.

Co-composed with Aaron Dessner. Commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, premiered October 28-31, 2009.


String Quartet. 12 min.

Commissioned by Kronos Quartet for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Soft Premiere March 12, 2009 at the Music Now Festival. NY premiere July 18, 2009 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

The Lincoln Shuffle2009

Brass Ensemble and Electric Guitars. 30 min.

Series of short pieces commissioned by the Rosenbach Library for Abraham Lincoln’s Bi-Centennial, premiered April 2, 2009 at the Rosenbach Library.

Propolis 2008

Bass Clarinet and Electronics. 40 min.

Co-composed with David Sheppard and Evan Ziporyn. Commissioned by Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna) for the Morning Line, a large outdoor sound pavilion by Matthew Ritchie, premiered in October 2008 at the 3rd International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville.



Bryce Dessner is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation, with a rapidly expanding catalog of works commissioned by leading ensembles. Known to many as a guitarist with The National, he is also active as a curator – a vital force in the flourishing realm of new creative music.

His orchestral, chamber, and vocal compositions have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Metropolitan Museum of Art (for the New York Philharmonic), Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, New York City Ballet, and many others. He has worked with some of the world’s most creative and respected musicians and visual artists, including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Johnny Greenwood, Justin Peck, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Matthew Ritchie, among others. His work ‘ Murder Ballads,’ featured on eighth blackbird’s album Filament — an album he also produced and performs on — won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. This past fall Dessner was tapped, along with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto, to compose music for Oscar Award-winning director Alejandro Iñárritu’s film, The Revenant, which received a 2016 Golden Globes nomination for Best Original Score.

Dessner’s music – called “gorgeous, full-hearted” by NPR and “vibrant” by The New York Times – is marked by a keen sensitivity to instrumental color and texture. Propulsive rhythms often alternate with passages in which time is deftly suspended. His harmonies are expressive and flexible, ranging from the dense block chords of Aheym to the spacious modality of Music for Wood and Strings.

Bridging musical languages and communities comes naturally to Dessner, born 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio. After early training on the flute, he switched to classical guitar in his teens. While in high school he started a band with his twin brother Aaron, also a guitarist. “I was playing classical guitar recitals, and people said, ‘You know, you can’t really do both things,’” recalled Dessner in Salon. “My intuition told me they were wrong… Someday that diversity of experience would be more enriching or rewarding than just going down one path.”

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University. While at Yale in the late 90’s, Dessner met the other members of the quartet that became Clogs, weaving compositions out of improvisations on classical instruments. Clogs has toured widely, releasing five albums since 2001.

Aheym, commissioned in 2009 by Kronos Quartet, was a breakthrough score. It made its debut before an audience of thousands in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, not far from Dessner’s home. Since then, the ensemble has played the intense, anguished piece hundreds of times; it served as the centerpiece of a 2013 Kronos disc devoted to Dessner’s music on the Anti- label. St. Carolyn by the Sea followed in 2014 on Deutsche Grammophon, featuring the lyrical title work and two other Dessner compositions performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic under Andre de Ridder. May 2015 marked the release on Brassland of Music for Wood and Strings, an album-length work performed by Sō Percussion on custom-built “Chord Sticks” that lend a shimmering, hammer dulcimer-like quality.

As Dessner’s career has expanded his activities as a curator have grown as well allowing him to bring diverse artists and communities together in an organic way. Recently, he was tapped to curate ‘Mountains and Waves,’ a weekend-long celebration of his music at the Barbican in London, May 2015, with guests including Steve Reich, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, Caroline Shaw, and the Britten Sinfonia. In September of 2015, Dessner curated ‘Sounds From a Safe Harbour,’ a weekend of performances at the Cork Opera House in Ireland.

MusicNOW, the Cincinnati-based contemporary music festival he founded in 2006, has featured Tinariwen, Justin Vernon, Joanna Newsom, David Lang, Grizzly Bear, Perfume Genius, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, among many others. In 2015, MusicNOW celebrated its 10 year anniversary. To mark the occasion, an album titled MusicNOW: 10 Years, comprised of the festival’s best live performances, was released. MusicNOW presented its 11th season March 18-20, 2016.

Other recent notable projects include Quilting, a 17-minute score co-commissioned with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, premiered in May 2015 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, and The Most Incredible Thing, a ballet created by Dessner, Justin Peck and Marcel Dzama, premiered in February 2016 by the New York City Ballet.

Dessner now resides in Paris and has been increasingly active composing for major European ensembles and soloists, including a new commission for the legendary Ensemble Intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher in 2016, as well as recent solo works for violinists Pekka Kuusisto and Jennifer Koh, and a concerto for renowned pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque. May 20, 2016 saw the release of Day of the Dead, the follow-up to 2009’s charity album Dark Was the Night. A tribute album to the Grateful Dead, Day of the Dead was created, curated and produced by Bryce and his brother Aaron. The compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of the Dead which took four years to record, features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, 59 tracks and is almost 6 hours long. All profits will help fight for AIDS/ HIV and related health issues around the world through the Red Hot Organization.

Bryce Dessner’s music is published by Chester Music Ltd.

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Charlotte de Mezamat

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Anne Mie Dreves

Manager: Dawn Barger, Post Hoc Management
+1 (718) 369-4544

Publisher: Meg Monteith, Music Sales
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