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Music Composition

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Program Code: MC511
Credential: Ontario Graduate Certificate
Start Dates: September
Program Length: 2 semesters
Learning
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Program Overview

Humber’s Music Composition graduate certificate program prepares you to write music for a number of professional environments including live performance, sound recording, film, television, video games and other contemporary media. In addition to the course work in this online program, you will be paired with a professional composer or songwriter who will mentor you as you compose original music and expand your portfolio. Composers of all genres of music are welcome. You’ll receive expert feedback in order to refine your skills, establish industry connections and understand the wide range of industry uses for composed music.

Courses Open "Courses" to view individual course delivery modes.

Courses

At Humber, courses are delivered in a variety of formats:

In-Person - An in-person course is delivered fully on campus.

Online Asynchronous (A) - An online asynchronous course has no fixed class schedule and allows students to engage with the course at different times according to their needs. Faculty provide modules, which are completed independently by the students according to established deadlines.

Online Synchronous (S) - An online synchronous course is delivered fully online and requires faculty and students to participate in real-time according to a fixed schedule. Classes are scheduled for a specific day and time.

Hybrid - A hybrid course is a combination of in-person and online classes and follows a set schedule. Students must be available to attend in-person classes at scheduled times during the semester.

The chart below outlines the delivery options available for each course in this program, by campus. For some academic terms, there may be more than one delivery option available. You’ll be able to select your preferred options when building your course schedule during open enrolment. Preferences for course delivery will be considered on a first come, first served basis. Some Humber programs are also delivered fully online, where all courses are delivered online.

International students: the impact of studying from outside of Canada on Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility differs significantly based on when you start your program. Please review the PGWP eligibility before choosing your program and course delivery.

Course code and Name Delivery Type by Location
Course Code Course Name North Lakeshore IGS DL/Online
Semester 1
MUSC 5007 Arranging and Orchestration 1 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5008 Directed Study in Composition 1 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5011 Music Technology N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5012 Composition Fundamentals 1 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5503 Contemporary Composition 1 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5505 Score Study N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
Semester 2
MUSC 5502 Words and Music N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5507 Arranging and Orchestration 2 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5508 Directed Study in Composition 2 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5509 Contemporary Composition 2 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5511 Music for Contemporary Media N/A N/A N/A Online (A)
MUSC 5512 Composition Fundamentals 2 N/A N/A N/A Online (A)

The Humber Advantage

This unique distance program allows you to work remotely to develop your composing skills from the comfort of your own home, studio, or anywhere else you have access to the Internet!

student working on laptop



Composed by student Julien Verschooris,
Graduate Certificate in Music Composition 2018/19

"Perhaps the greatest thing that Humber's music composition program has offered is pairing me with my mentor, who has helped me persist every step of the way, while I further my career in film and media composing."

Prelude from Suite For Concert Band



Composed by student Ted Selemidis,
Graduate Certificate in Music Composition 2018/19

"The course has been a good balance of online course materials and hands-on work with a personal mentor in your particular area of musical interest. Being able to work with someone who has real-life experience gives you insights and tips for your pieces that you wouldn't be able to get from a textbook or even a general classroom setting."

When You Forget My Name



Composed by student Cynthia Marhue,
Graduate Certificate in Music Composition 2018/19

"The composition program has given me a wonderful mentor who has inspired me to “mine” my songs - dig deeper, and find those hidden gems lyrically. David Leask has been an altogether patient, helpful, knowledgeable source of both creative and music business information - and for that connection I am so thankful. In addition the great part of the program is being connected with Nancy Walker and her comments and suggestions as a musician and composer throughout many projects, as well as being in touch with other like minded composers studying in the program."

Suite for Grief - 4 Movements - Denial, Bargaining, Anger & Depression, Acceptance



Composed by student Michelle Lorimer,
Graduate Certificate in Music Composition 2021/22

"I'm really thankful for my great advisors and instructors who are pros writing for orchestra and who really helped me understand how to put it on the page, and also how to play with the colours, tones and personalities of the different instruments to evoke a journey that can resonate with other people."

Michelle Lorimer

Michelle Lorimer speaks about her time in Humber College's Music Composition program and discusses her career so far.

This program is taught by industry experts, providing you with the most up-to-date and relevant curriculum.

Expert Faculty

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Thomas Francis

Thomas Francis is one of Toronto’s leading pianists and is well known for his extensive background in jazz and soul-based musics. Thomas played with Canadian artists such as Juno Award-winning music icon and jazz vocalist Kellylee Evans, Alexis Baro (Juno-nominated jazz artist), Dan Talevski (MMVA nominee), Melanie Durrant (Juno-nominated R&B artist), KC Roberts & The Live Revolution (Toronto funk band), The Reklaws (CCMA-winning country duo), George St. Kitts (Juno-nominated Toronto soul icon), and many more. 

Thomas completed his diploma in Jazz Performance at Humber College, and bachelor of fine arts at York University. In 2017, he completed his master's in Composition at York where his work focused on the relationship between jazz and hip-hop histories and musics and a new breadth course he created, “Hip Hop: A Study of Blackness.” His works received grants such as the 2019 Special Projects grant by the Toronto Jazz Festival and the 2021 Music Recording Project – EP Category grant from Ontario Arts Council. Additionally, he is well known for his musicianship skills in writing and arranging for strings, having established his own contemporary string ensemble, The Four Strings.  

Thomas is the host of The Jazz Gene, a weekly one-hour show on Toronto’s online jazz radio platform, Jazzcast.ca. Thomas has spent the last five years working as a professor of music at Centennial College and is looking forward to joining Humber’s music program as a full-time faculty member this year.

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Justin Gray

Justin Gray is a producer, bassist, composer, and educator based in Toronto.

As a producer, recording, mixing and mastering engineer, Justin has worked with artists from across the globe in a diverse range of musical styles (synthesissound.com). As a Dolby ATMOS mix and mastering engineer, Justin is also a leader in the field of immersive audio production (immersivemastering.com).

As an electric bassist, double bassist, and Bass Veena player, Justin performs in a variety of traditional and contemporary musical ensembles from around the world. Additionally, Justin leads his own contemporary world music ensemble, Justin Gray & Synthesis (justingray.ca).

Over the course of his career, Justin has received a number of awards and distinctions, including: nomination for World Music Album of the Year (CFMA 2020), nomination for Best Solo Artist (CFMA 2018), recipient of Emerging Jazz Artist Award (Toronto Arts Foundation 2015), recipient of Shanti Chakravarty Award for Excellence in Indian Classical Performance (York University 2015).

As a performing artist, Justin is proudly endorsed by Godfrey Guitars, Markbass, D’Addario Canada, Radial Engineering, Lava Cable and Source Audio.

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Andrew Kesler

Andrew Kesler is an award-winning Canadian musician, composer, arranger, orchestrator and producer based in Los Angeles.  

As a multi-instrumentalist music director and sideman his credits include industry heavyweights David Foster, Pentatonix, Michael Bublé, Seal, John Mayer, Babyface, Jacob Collier, Jennifer Holliday, Tom Scott, Jeff Hamilton, Michael Orland, Sara Niemietz, Dennis Chambers, and two seasons in the America’s Got Talent house band.   

In the studio, Kesler shifts his focus to writing, arranging and producing with established artists including Arturo Sandoval, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Take 6, Lalo Schifrin, The Manhattan Transfer, Siedah Garrett, Mervyn Warren, and Jorge Calandrelli in addition to composing for film & media (“I Wanna Dance with Somebody [2022]”, Netflix, TLC, Comedy Central, Google, Disney, Butter Music, Bigger Story Music, Sony/BMG).  

Often referred to as the "gadget man" for his ability to work seamlessly in many roles, Kesler has credited contributions on hundreds of recordings spanning all genres. Kesler has had the privilege to work with the WDR Funkhausorchester, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Scoring Orchestra, Guy Barker’s Jazz Orchestra, and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.  

Kesler serves on the board of directors for the American Society of Music Arrangers & Composers (ASMAC) and is proud to endorse Nord Keyboards, Fury Guitars, Dingwall Basses, John Pearse Strings and 64 Audio. Kesler received his Bachelor’s Degree with Honors from Humber College in Toronto studying jazz piano and music production and went on to earn his Master’s Degree with Distinction from the University of Chichester, England studying orchestration for film, television and video games.  
 
Kesler has held residencies as a music educator at post-secondary institutions throughout North American and Europe including The Royal Northern College of Music (UK), USC Thornton School of Music (CA), University of Oregon (OR), Humber College (Toronto), McGill University (Montreal), Guildhall School of Music & Drama (UK), Chapman University (CA), and Tiffin University (OH).  

Watch the session video for "Tango de Mango" by Andrew Kesler.

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Kevin Lau

Described as a “self-assured voice” (Barczablog) with a “masterful control over his idiom” (Classical Music Sentinel), Kevin Lau is one of Canada’s most sought-after composers. Awarded the 2017 Canada Council’s prestigious Victor Martyn Lynn-Staunton Award, Kevin’s work has been commissioned and performed by ensembles across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Made in Canada, Hannaford Street Silver Band, the Afiara String Quartet, the Dior String Quartet, and the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. His work has been performed abroad in countries such as Denmark, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. In 2021, he assumed the role of Composer in Residence of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.  

In 2016 he composed the score for the National Ballet of Canada’s full-length ballet Le Petit Prince, featuring choreography by NBOC Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté. His second ballet (Dark Angels), commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and also choreographed by Côté, was described as “riveting” (Ottawa Citizen) and “extraordinarily accomplished and expressive” (Artsfile). One of his most recent large-scale works, an oratorio-film hybrid (Bound) commissioned by Against the Grain Theatre, was hailed by the Globe and Mail as “a brilliant creation.” 

Kevin’s discography includes two JUNO award-winning albums: Detach (Redshift, harpist Angela Schwarzkopf) and Mosaïque (Ensemble Made in Canada.) Other albums include Solo Seven (ATMA Classique, violinist Marc Djokic), which won Best Album at the 2020 East Coast Music Awards; the JUNO-nominated Spin Cycle (Centrediscs, Afiara Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid); and Encount3rs (Analekta, National Arts Centre Orchestra.) His recent composition Little Feng Huang is featured on the album Lumena (Redshift, Topaz Duo) which was voted among the “best 22 classical albums of 2022” according to CBC. 

Born in Hong Kong, Kevin received his doctorate in 2012 from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis; shortly after, he was appointed Affiliate Composer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra till 2015. He is also an active film composer, and has written the scores to over a dozen films, including Charles Officer's acclaimed documentary Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018). 

Watch the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform Kevin Lau's "For Home."

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Rebecca Pellett

Rebecca Pellett is an arranger, orchestrator and composer living and working in Toronto, Canada. She arranges extensively for symphony orchestra; her work has been featured by premiere orchestras across the continent, including the Cincinnati Pops, Houston Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She is an enthusiastic collaborator, arranging and orchestrating for a vast variety of artists and ensembles including Rosanne Cash, Joe Henry, Common, Ron Sexsmith, Adam West, George Takei, the USO, Aoife O’Donovan, Measha Brueggergosman, Natalie MacMaster, the Leahy family, The Barra MacNeils, Sarah Slean, The Rankin Family, Sultans of String, Hawksley Workman, Rose Cousins, Chris Hadfield, David Myles, Dan Mangan, Jenn Grant, Stars, Whitehorse, Kuné, Matt Andersen, & Ria Mae. Rebecca has also been commissioned to write original works for many prominent Canadian ensembles and artists, including Quartetto Gelato, Colin Maier, the Sultans of String, and the Viceroy Brass Ensemble. 

Rebecca has significant experience orchestrating for the screen, and has worked with many iconic filmmakers and composers, including Norman Jewison, Dan Petrie, Don McKellar, Guy Maddin, Jonathan Goldsmith, and Michael Small. Also at home in the recording studio, Rebecca has worked as an engineer and producer on many notable recording projects; she was an engineer on eight Toronto Symphony Orchestra recordings, one of which was nominated for a Juno award. 

Recently Rebecca has written several pieces which will bring to the stage books published by Scholastic and Penguin Random House. In 2022 a recording of her new composition inspired by Bobby Orr's children's book, Bobby Orr and the Hand-Me-Down Skates, and featuring narration by Peter Mansbridge, was released.

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Yvette Tollar

A staple in Canada’s music scene for over three decades, versatile, veteran vocalist Yvette Tollar has performed for audiences across Canada, the United States, Europe and South America. Yvette’s CD, Ima, was nominated for a JUNO Award (Best Vocal Jazz Album). Known for her velvety rich tone, keen musical instincts and soulful delivery of the lyric, Yvette transports audiences to unexpected places and keeps them coming back for more. She is a featured vocalist on numerous recordings including those of Canadian jazz, soul, folk and world music elites such as Elizabeth Shepherd, Michael Occhipinti’s Shine On project, Kevin Breit, John MacMurchy, Marito Marquez, Maryem & Ernie Tollar, Dominic Mancuso and Rich Brown’s Rinsethealgorithm. Yvette has shared stages with jazz masters Sheila Jordan, Dave Holland, Kenny Werner and Don Thompson. Tollar has composed, produced and sung extensively for film, television and radio. She has been the recipient of numerous grants, scholarships and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, FACTOR, Banff Centre, Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council which awarded her the illustrious Chalmers Arts Fellowship. Inspiring generations of young musicians for over 25 years, Yvette has taught voice, piano, songwriting and ensemble performance. As well, she has acted as advisor for recording projects, coached audition hopefuls, conducted masterclasses and workshops, and offered detailtd and insightful feedback as a sought-after adjudicator. Uplifted by her personalized and passionate approach, Yvette’s students have gone on to nominations and coveted wins at The Grammy Awards, JUNO Awards, Canadian Country Music Awards, Indigenous Music Awards, Dora Awards, and more. Since 2015, Yvette has been a faculty member at Humber College where she has taught numerous subjects in the Bachelor of Music, Music Composition and Introduction to Commercial Jazz programs.

Study Abroad

We offer many global opportunities for you to explore during your time at Humber! We live in a very interconnected world and by participating in a global opportunity, not only will you gain new skills, but you may also be eligible for academic credits and/or co-curricular record (CCR). Some of the global opportunities at Humber include Summer Abroad, Semester Exchange, faculty-led trips, Humber Global Summer School and many others! To learn more, please visit Humber Global Opportunities.

Your Career

Ontario is home to Canada’s largest and one of the world’s most diversified music sectors, with Toronto being the third biggest music market in North America. Job trends show consistent and substantial employment opportunities in the fields of music business, administration, production and distribution.

Program Availability

Start dates between Sept 2024 - Aug 2025
START DELIVERY LOCATION STATUS
Sep 2024 Online Online Open
Start dates between Sept 2024 - Aug 2025
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Sep 2024 Online Online Not Available

Humber is a publicly-funded institution and does not have a public-private partnership. International students graduating from Humber or Humber’s International Graduate School (IGS) are eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

International Students in Canada who apply for May 2024 start could be eligible for a $1,000 Scholarship*. Apply now

Start dates between Sept 2024 - Aug 2025
START DELIVERY LOCATION STATUS
Sep 2024 Online Online Not Available

Humber is a publicly-funded institution and does not have a public-private partnership. International students graduating from Humber or Humber’s International Graduate School (IGS) are eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

International Students Out of Canada can Apply through Humber International

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Music Composition at Humber

screenshot of Music Composition Program presentation

Watch the video to learn more about Humber's Music Composition program.


News Feed

Senior Dean Update: Media & Creative Arts Anti-Racism Action Plan

Senior Dean Update: Media & Creative Arts Anti-Racism Action Plan

Fri, October 15, 2021

In June 2020, I committed the FMCA to seven action items to address the attitudes, behaviours and structures that act as barriers for students from Indigenous and equity-deserving communities.

Read More
Update: Humber Music Solidarity One Year On

Update: Humber Music Solidarity One Year On

Fri, October 15, 2021

In June 2020, Humber Music faculty pledged to address systemic racism and gender discrimination in the music programs by working with students, alumni, administrators, and industry experts

Read More
A Message from the Senior Dean: Music Degree Update

A Message from the Senior Dean: Music Degree Update

Tue, April 27, 2021

Over the past few months, the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts began a review of our Bachelor of Music program delivery.

Read More

No news at this time.

Every attempt is made to ensure that information contained on this website is current and accurate. Humber reserves the right to correct any error or omission, modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable or campus location at any time without prior notice or liability to users or any other Person.

Contact Us

Admissions Questions

General Enquiries

Call 416-675-3111 or email enquiry@humber.ca. If you have already applied, be sure to check your application status on myhumber.ca.

Domestic Applicants Enquiries

Domestic applicants can book a one-on-one advising appointment with an admissions representative.

International Applicants Enquiries

Contact the International Centre for information about full-time programs (including the International Graduate School), how to apply and to follow up on your submitted application.

Program-Specific Questions

Speak to the Program Co-ordinator about the course curriculum, projects and career options.

Thomas Francis, program co-ordinator
416.675.6622 ext. 75522
thomas.francis@humber.ca

Campus Information

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How To Become An Apprentice

Becoming an Apprentice

Find an employer willing to sponsor you as an apprentice.

Contact the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development to register as an apprentice.

Work with your employer approximately one year before attending Humber.

View Instructions 

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)

If you’re in high school – grade 11 or 12 – you can earn co-op education credits through work placements in some skilled trades.

Visit OYAP 

How to Apply

Domestic Students

Applications to Humber are made through ontariocolleges.ca. Be sure to submit your application by the equal consideration deadline of February 1. You may apply after February 1, however, post-February 1 applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the availability of the space in the program.

To check program availability refer to the Campus/Availability listing on Humber’s program pages, search by availability, or ontariocolleges.ca.

To see where you are in the admissions process, visit the Admissions Road Map.

International Students

If you’re an international student, you can apply directly to Humber via our International Centre.

Need Advice?

Program Advising Appointments

Get help narrowing down your program options or book a one-on-one pre-enrolment advising appointment with one of our Recruitment Officers.

Transfer & Pathway Advising

Book a virtual appointment with a Student Mobility Advisor learn more about getting Transfer Credit(s) for previous post-secondary experience, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), and Pathways options.

Admission Requirements

Admission selection is based on the academic criteria indicated. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee admission.

Admission selection is based on the following four requirements:

  • Academic

    To be eligible for admission, you must possess the following:

    • A bachelor’s degree, advanced diploma or diploma

    Mature Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or other postsecondary school, and will be 19 or older as of the first day of classes. Humber will invite you for testing to demonstrate that you meet all listed course requirements.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or attended postsecondary studies, and will be 21 or older as of the first day of classes. Mature applicants for degree programs will be required to meet course requirements at the U/M level or equivalent.

    College Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants must have an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 65 per cent in the program. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

    University Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

  • Sample Composition

  • Applicants will submit a sample of their original composed work (any style) in recorded and written form (score or lead sheet) that evidences musical competence.

    Submission Instructions

  • English Language Proficiency

    All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Humber’s English Language Proficiency Policy.

  • International Credit Evaluation

    Canadian citizens or permanent residents with international education are required to provide a credential evaluation. Note, for international High school education course by course evaluations, ICAS must be used. For international post-secondary education, a WES evaluation must be provided. In situations where you expect to apply for transfer credit, it is recommended that a course by course WES evaluation is completed.

International Academic Equivalency

Admission equivalencies for Humber depend on your country of study. Please enter your location or choose detect my location to see the requirements for your country below.

Post-Admission Requirements

Once you have been accepted, and have confirmed your offer, you may need to complete a further set of requirements related to your program (Post-Admission Requirements).

N/A

Equipment & Device Requirements

Fees & Financial Aid

The 2024/2025 fee for two semesters is:

  • domestic: $6,658.48
  • international: $18,722.56

Fees are subject to change.

Fees by Semester

Domestic Fees International Fees

Financial Aid, Scholarships and Bursaries

Understand the costs associated with coming to Humber and explore resources available from first year to your final year on Student Fees and Financial Resources.

Scholarships

Humber Scholarships

Find out more about scholarships and bursaries that you may be eligible for, visit Student Scholarships. International students can visit International Student Scholarships.

Humber Bursaries

Bursaries are available for Certificate, Diploma and Degree programs primarily based on financial need, visit Humber Bursaries.

External Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Find out more information about external scholarships and bursaries, visit External Awards.

Indigenous Student Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Humber offers a variety of bursaries and scholarships for Indigenous students, visit Indigenous Student Awards.

Explore Opportunities through Humber Pathways

Humber Pathways include:

  • Opportunities to build on your college education and complete your diploma or degree at Humber.
  • Degree and graduate study opportunities at other institutions in Ontario, Canada and abroad.
View Pathways Into This Program  
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