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Julia Fischer

Julia Fischer

German classical violinist, pianist
The basics
About
Occupations Violinist University teacher Pianist
Countries Germany
A.K.A. Júlia Fischer, Julia Fischer, Júlia Fischerová
Gender female
Birth June 15, 1983 (Munich)
Education Hochschule für Musik und Theater München
Authority ISNI id Discogs id Musicbrainz id VIAF id Library of congress id
The details
Biography

Julia Fischer (born (1983-06-15)15 June 1983 in Munich) is a German classical violinist and pianist. She is widely considered one of the greatest violinists of the 21st century and an excellent pianist.

On 1 January 2008, Julia Fischer performed the Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor by Camille Saint-Saëns as a violinist and Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor as a pianist at a concert evening at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt which very rarely occurs.

Julia Fischer lives with her husband and two children in Munich.

Apart from having a busy schedule as a violinist with up to 80 concerts a year she has a half-time professorship at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts.

Background and early life

Julia Fischer is of German-Slovak parentage. Her parents met in Prague where they were both studying. Her mother, Viera Fischer (née Krenková), came from the German minority in Slovakia and immigrated from Košice, Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia), to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1972. Her father, Frank-Michael Fischer, a mathematician who was born in East Germany, moved in the same year from Eastern Saxony to West Germany.

Julia Fischer began her studies before her fourth birthday, when she received her first violin lesson from Helge Thelen. A few months later she started studying the piano with her mother.

Julia Fischer said, "my mother's a pianist and I wanted to play the piano as well, but as my elder brother also played the piano, she thought it would be nice to have another instrument in the family. I agreed to try out the violin and stayed with it."

Her mother has this theory, which Julia Fischer supports, that a real musical education needs piano, to learn about harmony, theory, style and repertoire.

Eight years old, she began her formal violin education at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg under the tutelage of Lydia Dubrowskaya. At the age of nine, Julia Fischer was admitted to the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts, where she worked with Ana Chumachenco.

Beethoven played a very important role in Julia Fischer's life when she was a child.

Julia Fischer played the Beethoven violin concerto for the first time in her mother's home town in East Slovakia when she was twelve and several months later with Yehudi Menuhin in Vienna with thirteen.

Beethoven is the favourite composer both of her mother, a pianist, and her elder brother, according to Julia Fischer a fantastic pianist, who played the piano until he was mid twenty and became an engineer.

Her parents got a divorce when she was thirteen.

As a teenager, Julia Fischer was inspired mostly by Glenn Gould, Evgeny Kissin, and Maxim Vengerov.

Competitions

There were two competitions which were the starting point of Julia Fischer's career.

The most prestigious competitions that Julia Fischer has won is the 1995 International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition which took place in Folkestone under Lord Yehudi Menuhin's supervision.

What's special about her performance is that she won both the first prize in the junior category and all the special prizes, including the Bach prize for the best Bach solo work performance.

Music journalist Edward Greenfield said, "I first heard Julia Fischer in 1995 as a 12-year-old in the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition. Not only did she win outright in the junior category, she was manifestly more inspired than anyone in the senior category."

Her Munich teacher Ana Chumachenco kept Julia Fischer down to earth at that time by giving her tough violin home work with a very difficult piece of Sarasate.

In 1996, she won the Eighth Eurovision Competition for Young Instrumentalists in Lisbon, which was broadcast in 22 countries.

Career

Soloist aged eleven

Julia Fischer started her career early, although she attended school (the Gymnasium) up to the age of 19 learning mathematics and physics as well and passing the Abitur in spring 2002.

She has been giving concerts since she was 11, and started teaching as a violin professor at 23.

Julia Fischer has worked with internationally acclaimed conductors, such as Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Yakov Kreizberg, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Neville Marriner, David Zinman, Zdeněk Mácal, Jun Märkl, Ruben Gazarian, Marek Janowski, Herbert Blomstedt, Michael Tilson Thomas, and with a variety of top German, American, British, Polish, French, Italian, Swiss, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Japanese, Czech, and Slovak orchestras.

She has performed in most European countries, the United States, Brazil and Japan; in concerts broadcast on TV and radio in every major European country, as well as on many U.S., Japanese and Australian radio stations.

Lorin Maazel as mentor

Lorin Maazel, chief conductor of the Munich based Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1993 to 2002 has been Fischer's mentor since 1997. Lorin Maazel used to give a concert with Julia Fischer at least once a year. Maazel made Julia Fischer perform as a soloist with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra first at the Bad Kissingen festival and afterwards, in March 2000, in Munich where the competition is fierce.

Julia Fischer's Carnegie Hall debut

2003 was a pivotal year in Julia Fischer's career.

Her 2003 Carnegie Hall debut received standing ovations for her performance of Brahms's Double Concerto with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In the same year, Julia Fischer performed for the first time with the Berlin Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra. In the end, her performance in London became a difficult task. Two weeks before the concert the programme was changed from the Beethoven violin concerto to the Bartók violin concerto which Julia Fischer has never played before. She mastered it.

In 2003 Julia Fischer, with numerous performances in the U.S. in the previous six years, appeared with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto in New York's Lincoln Center, as well as the Mendelssohn Violin concerto in Vail, Colorado.

She has been on orchestral tours with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic.

In 2006, Julia Fischer was appointed professor at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, by then Germany's youngest professor.

In fall of 2011, Julia Fischer took over her former teacher Ana Chumachenco’s chair at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts.

At the 2011 Salzburg Easter Festival Julia Fischer played the violin concerto of Alban Berg with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. In May 2013 she performed for the first time with the Vienna Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, playing the violin concertos of Esa-Pekka Salonen and Ludwig van Beethoven.

At the Proms

When Julia Fischer played the Dvořák violin concerto with David Zinman and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich at the BBC Proms on 21 July 2014, the concerto was recorded with excellent reviews:

"Julia Fischer turns in a splendid account of the Dvořák violin concerto. She plays with her usual fine sense for judicious tempos, a wide range of imaginatively applied dynamics, beautiful intonation and spectacular technique. She is very poetic in the lovely second movement and in the outer panels she plays with a true dynamism, catching all the drama and joy in the music. [...] I cited Fischer's technique above: you may well watch and listen in awe to her incredibly subtle and utterly dazzling encore performance of the finale of the Hindemith Solo Violin Sonata in G minor."

The Beethoven violin concerto

In the 2018-2019 concert season Julia Fischer will play the Beethoven violin concerto with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra in London on 30 May 2019.

Artist of the year 2007 and selected as one of 16 Violinists of the Century 2006

Julia Fisher was selected as one of 16 Violinists of the Century alongside Jascha Heifetz and Yehudi Menuhin for the 20 CD box set of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in 2006 ..

She was nominated Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2007 Artist of the year, succeeding Martha Argerich (1999) and preceding Hilary Hahn (2008).

Soloist on the violin and piano

Julia Fischer is a soloist who can play both the violin part and the piano part of sonatas on a high level. Practising both parts Beethoven sonatas is how she started her musical education at the age of 4. This enhances her understanding of the harmony and style of the work she is playing as a violinist.

She stopped practicing piano only for a few months when she prepared the Menuhin Competition in 1995 where she won 1st prize in the junior category.

On 1 January 2008, Julia Fischer had her public debut as a pianist, performing Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt. The concert was conducted by Matthias Pintscher, who stepped in for Sir Neville Marriner. On the same occasion she also performed the Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor by Camille Saint-Saëns. Julia Fischer performed this concert once more in Saint Petersburg on 4 January 2008.

Julia Fischer about career

Julia Fischer once said: "What is helpful for a career is that it is always about the music and not about the career. As soon as a young musician decides for certain reasons to have a career instead of using musical reasons, I can guarantee that it will be – if it will be at all – a short career. I truly believe that if someone wants to spend his professional life with music, he will – either as a soloist, orchestra member, teacher, concert promoter, or agent – in the end it is unimportant. One should choose to become a musician because one believes that the world needs music and without music, the emotional life of human beings is going to die. Everything else will come with dedication and hard work.”

In an interview from May 2006 she remarked that Beethoven violin concerto is probably the concert she likes most.

Her mother taught Julia Fischer and her brother to play the piano just for love of classical music.

Fischer has loved and played Bach from age 4.

The jury of the 2006 BBC Music Magazine Awards said, “There are many recordings of Bach's works for solo violin but rarely do they reach such breathtaking heights of musicianship as this one. Julia Fischer is an incredible technician and soulful musician who does not let an ounce of ego come between the music and the listener.”

"Although still in her mid-20s, she has been playing Bach for nearly two decades, in a daily act of private worship. [...] Fischer's full-blooded sound still allows for breathtaking precision: with her perfect understanding of the even rhythm and mounting tension at the work's core, she held the audience in a vice-like grip."

About Julia Fischer

"On a concert stage, performing music by Bach, Schubert or Sibelius, the superb young German violinist Julia Fischer is the picture of focus and discipline. Offstage, she's just the same." (Joshua Kosman about Julia Fischer 3 June 2009)

Chamber music

In 2011, Julia Fischer founded with Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), Nils Mönkemeyer (viola), and Benjamin Nyffeneggerthe (cello) the Julia Fischer quartet. The quartet went on tour in early 2018 with stops amongst others in Leipzig, London, Luxembourg, Munich and Zürich.

Music partners in chamber music are Daniel Müller-Schott (cello), Milana Chernyavska, Yulianna Avdeeva, and Igor Levit (piano).

Repertoire

The composers Julia Fischer spent the most time with are Beethoven, Bach, Dvořák, Schubert, and Brahms.

Her active repertoire spans from Bach to Penderecki, from Vivaldi to Shostakovich, containing over 40 works with orchestra and about 60 works of chamber music.

She is known for her performance of Bach's work including the Bach prize at the 1995 Menuhin competition and the 2006 BBC Music Magazine Awards Best Newcomer for the CD Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001–1006).

In addition to her native German, Julia Fischer is fluent in English and French.

Instruments

Currently, Julia Fischer plays a Guadagnini 1742 purchased in May 2004, and also a violin Philipp Augustin 2011, which she has owned since 2012.

For four years prior to that, she had been using a Stradivarius, the 1716 Booth, on loan from Nippon Music Foundation, an instrument that had previously belonged to Iona Brown. She usually uses a Benoît Rolland bow, but sometimes a copy of the Heifetz Tourte by the Viennese maker Thomas Gerbeth for early Classical period music.

Om her instruments Julia Fischer said in August 2010: "I played on an adult-sized violin (4/4) ever since I was ten years old. The quality of my instruments improved as time passed: Ventapane, Gagliano, and then Testore, up to a Guarneri del Gesù in 1998. However, I wasn't satisfied with that violin, and changed to a Stradivarius [the 1716 Booth, property of the Nippon Music Foundation] on which I played for four years, with which I was well pleased. However, I always wanted to have an instrument of my very own. Thus, six years ago, in London I bought, with the advice of the concertmaster of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, who is one of my best friends, the 1742 Guadagnini."

Recordings

In fall 2004 the label Pentatone released Julia Fischer's first CD: Russian violin concertos with Yakov Kreizberg and the Russian National Orchestra. It received rave reviews, climbed into the top five best-selling classical records in Germany within a few days, and received an "Editor's Choice" from Gramophone in January 2005. Other critically acclaimed recordings include sonatas and partitas for solo violin of J. S. Bach, the Mozart violin concerti and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.

After five years with Pentatone, in 2009, Julia Fischer was engaged by Decca Classics.

She has published a number of acclaimed and awarded CDs for Pentatone (Russian violin concertos, the Solo Sonatas and Partitas by Bach, the Mendelssohn Trios, the Mozart concertos, the Brahms Vc. and Double Concerto)as well as for Decca (Bach Violin concertos, Paganini 24 Caprices for Violin solo, Impressionistic music under the title 'Poème', and the Dvorak/Bruch combi Made in Switzerland) plus two DVD (Vivaldi, The Four Seasons and her New Year's Concert 2008 in Frankfurt where she soloed both on violin and piano).

Julia Fischer about recording

As for recording for Pentatone, Julia Fischer remarked:

“I had offers from big companies but none appealed. You don’t have to record. Yakov [Kreizberg] spoke to the people at Pentatone and to me and put us together. Pentatone more or less gave me carte blanche as to what I record and the musicians I work with are my choice; all these things were so important to me. I record to experience something and to help my playing and music-making. For the concerto CD, Yakov and I really talked about the pieces; I learnt so much by that.”

When Kreizberg asked Julia Fischer to record with the Russian National Orchestra, she said yes, but privately wondered whether it would come to pass, knowing that such impulsive recording plans often disappear into thin air. Still after their last performance in Philadelphia, Kreizberg already had the dates and suddenly Fischer, who had not even decided whether she wanted to start recording regularly, had a three-year, seven-CD contract with Pentatone, the new high-tech Dutch label headed by former Philips Classics executives, and one of the first labels to embrace the new SACD 5.1-channel surround-sound technology. Although she still wavered, what persuaded her to sign on the dotted line was that all the concerto recordings would be conducted by Kreizberg.

Prizes and honors

Julia Fischer has won five prizes for her violin playing and three prizes for her piano playing a.o. at Jugend musiziert.

She won all eight competitions she entered.

In 1997, Julia Fischer was awarded the "Prix d'Espoir" by the Foundation of European Industry. She had the opportunity to play Mozart's own violin in the room in which he was born at Salzburg to honor the 250th anniversary of his birth.

  • 1995: 1st Prize at the international Yehudi Menuhin competition, in addition to a special prize, "Best Bach Solo-work".
  • 1996: Winner 8th Eurovision Competition for Young Instrumentalists in Lisbon
  • 1997: Prix d'Espoir the prize of the European music industry
  • 1997: Soloist prize of the festival "Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania"
  • 1998: EIG Music Award
  • 2000: Promotion prize Deutschlandfunk
  • 2005: ECHO Klassik Award for the CD Russian Violin Concertos
  • 2005: Winner of the Beethoven Ring
  • 2006: During the celebrations of Mozart's birthday in his hometown Salzburg, Fischer played on Mozart's violin (with Daniel Müller-Schott and Jonathan Gilad). About the event she says: "During the first hour I couldn't play anything I wanted, because during the days of Mozart the violins were a lot shorter and I wasn't used to that".
  • 2006: "BBC Music Magazine Awards 2006 Best Newcomer" for the CD Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001–1006).
  • 2007: The Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year.
  • 2007: ECHO Klassik Award for the CD Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
  • 2009: MIDEM Classical Award as "Instrumentalist of 2008".

Private Life

In 2009, Julia Fischer married and had her first of two children, a son. She lives in the suburbs of Munich, in Gauting, her home town and residence, and where she spends most of the time of the year.

Discography

Release Composer/Title of work Performer Label/Catalog no. Format
2002/08 Brahms
  • Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25
  • Tatjana Masurenko (viola)
  • Gustav Rivinius (cello)
  • Lars Vogt (piano)
EMI Classics

5573772

CD
2002/10 Vivaldi
  • The Four Seasons
  • Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Opus Arte/BBC

OA0895D

DVD-Video
2004/08 Russian Violin Concertos PENTATONE

PTC 5186 059

Hybrid SACD
2005/03 Bach
  • Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001–1006
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 072

Hybrid SACD
2005/08 Mozart
  • Violin Concertos Nos 3 & 4
  • Adagio in E major, K. 261
  • Rondo in B flat, K. 269
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 064

Hybrid SACD
2006/06 Mendelssohn
  • Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2
  • Jonathan Gilad (piano)
  • Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 085

Hybrid SACD
2006/09 Mozart
  • Violin Concertos Nos 1, 2 & 5
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 094

Hybrid SACD
2006/10 Tchaikovsky
  • Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35
  • Sérénade mélancolique, Op. 26
  • Valse–Scherzo, Op. 34
  • Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 095

Hybrid SACD
2007/04 Brahms
  • Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
  • Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102
  • Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Yakov Kreizberg (conductor)
  • Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 066

Hybrid SACD
2007/10 Mozart
  • Sinfonia concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E flat, K. 364
  • Rondo in C major, K. 373
  • Concertone for 2 Violins and Orchestra in C major, K. 190
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 098

Hybrid SACD
2009/01 Bach
  • Concert for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in D minor, BWV 1043
  • Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
  • Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042
  • Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C-Moll, BWV 1060
  • Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
  • Alexander Sitkovetsky (second solo violin, BWV 1043)
  • Andrey Rubtsov (oboe, BWV 1060)
Decca

478 0650

CD
2009/08 Schubert Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 1
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in D major, D. 384 (Op. 137, No. 1)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor, D. 385 (Op. 137, No. 2)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor, D. 408 (Op. 137, No. 3)
  • Rondo for Violin and Piano in B minor “Rondo Brillant”, D. 895 (Op. 70)
  • Martin Helmchen (piano)
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 347

Hybrid SACD
2010/04 Schubert Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 2
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, D. 574 (Op. posth. 162)
  • Fantasy for Violin and Piano in C major, D. 934 (Op. posth. 159)
  • Fantasy in F minor for Piano duet, D. 940 (Op. posth. 103)
  • Martin Helmchen (piano)
  • Julia Fischer (first piano part, D. 940)
PENTATONE

PTC 5186 348

Hybrid SACD
2010/10 Paganini
  • 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1
Decca

478 2274

CD
2010/08 Saint-Saëns
  • Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61

Grieg

  • Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Decca

074 3344

DVD-Video
2011/01 Mozart - The Violin Concertos Julia Fischer, Gordan Nikolić, Pieter-Jan Belder, Hans Meyer, Herre-Jan Stegenga, Yakov Kreizberg (conductor), Netherlands Chamber Orchestra PENTATONE

PTC 5186453

Hybrid SACD
2011/04 Poème
  • Respighi Poema autunnale for violin and orchestra, P.146
  • Suk Fantasy for violin and orchestra in G minor, Op. 24
  • Chausson Poème for violin and orchestra, Op. 25
  • Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Decca

478 2684

CD
2012/03 In Memoriam Yakov Kreizberg.

Works by Antonín Dvořák, Claude Debussy, Richard Wagner, Franz Schmidt, Johann Strauss Jr.

  • Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Wiener Symphoniker
  • Russian National Orchestra.
  • Yakov Kreizberg (conductor)
PENTATONE

PTC 5186461

Hybrid SACD
2013/03 Dvořák
  • Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.53

Bruch

  • Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.26
Decca

478 3544

CD
2014/02 Sarasate
  • Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20
  • Caprice Basque, Op. 24
  • Jota Aragonesa, Op. 27
  • Sérénade andalouse, Op. 28
  • El canto del ruiseñor, Op. 29
  • Danza Española No. 1: Malagueña, Op. 21, No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 2: Habanera, Op. 21, No. 2
  • Danza Española No. 3: Romanza Andaluza, Op. 22, No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 4: Jota Navarra, Op. 22, No. 2
  • Danza Española No. 5: Playera Op. 23 No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 6: Zapateado, Op. 23, No. 2
  • Danza Española No. 7: Vito, Op. 26, No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 8: Habanera, Op. 26, No. 2
  • Milana Chernyavska (piano)
Decca

478 5950

CD
2014/02 Creating Timeless Classics

Works by Robert Schumann, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Howard Blake

Martin Helmchen, Arabella Steinbacher, Nareh Arghamanyan, Mari Kodama, Julia Fischer, Russian National Orchestra, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande PENTATONE

PTC 5186531

Hybrid SACD
2014/10 Schubert - Complete Works for Violin and Piano (re-issue) Julia Fischer, Martin Helmchen (piano) PENTATONE

PTC 5186519

Hybrid SACD
2015/09 Julia Fischer at the BBC Proms (21 Jul 2014)
  • Dvořák Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.53
  • Hindemith Sonata for Solo Violin in G minor op. 11 no. 6: III Finale. Lebhaft
C Major 732104 / C Major 732008 Blu-ray / DVD-Video
2016/08 Duo Sessions
  • Kodály Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7
  • Schulhoff Duo for Violin and Cello
  • Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello
  • Halvorsen Passacaglia in G minor on a Theme by George Frideric Handel
  • Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
ORFEO International

C 902 161 A

CD
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References
http://audio.wnyc.org/eveningmusic/eveningmusic112608.mp3
http://blog.radioclassique.fr/olivierbellamy/2010/02/12/lauthenticite-souriante-de-julia-fischer/
http://data.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb15071653s
http://isni.org/isni/0000000121368187
http://menuhincompetition.org/laureates-archive/
http://www.allthingsstrings.com/News/Interviews-Profiles/Violinist-Julia-Fischer-Exhibits-Wisdom-Beyond-Her-Years
http://www.augustin-violins.com/vita.html#philipp-augustin
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Fischer-Julia.htm
http://www.bsomusicians.org/UserFiles/Audio/JFinterview.mp3
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/u/utc32104blua.php
http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_features.php?id=2532
Background and early life Competitions Career Artist of the year 2007 and selected as one of 16 Violinists of the Century 2006 Soloist on the violin and piano Julia Fischer about career About Julia Fischer Chamber music Repertoire Instruments Recordings Julia Fischer about recording Prizes and honors Private Life Discography
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