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Bryce is back! at MusicNOW / Cincinnati CityBeat

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"Bryce is Back!" appears nowhere on any advance publicity for MusicNOW, the annual festival exploring a vast spectrum of new music that is now an annual event presented by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. However, there's obvious pleasure and relief that Bryce Dessner - the now-Paris-based Cincinnati native who has found international success as a member of Rock band The National and as a solo New Music composer, performer and creative entrepreneur - is on hand for this year's three-day event. It occurs Thursday-Saturday. He wasn't here last year, the first time he's missed a MusicNOW since he started it in 2006.

Dessner is bemused by any hype. "I planned to be here last year," he says, speaking by phone from Massachusetts the day before returning home to Paris. "But there was a last-minute conflict with (The National) that came up. Last year was the only one I missed in 12 years." CSO President Trey Devey sounds positively jubilant about Dessner's return. "It's phenomenal to have him back," he says. "He has such presence and gravitas and having him here and on the ground is so important."