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Carnegie Hall will host concert in support of Ukraine
A photo provided by Jennifer Taylor shows the violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Russian-born pianist Evgeny Kissin at Carnegie Hall in April 2019. The pair are among the artists scheduled to perform in a benefit concert for Ukraine on May 23, 2022. Jennifer Taylor via The New York Times.

by Javier C. Hernández

NEW YORK, NY.- Carnegie Hall said Tuesday that it would host a concert in support of Ukraine later this month to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people, express opposition to the Russian invasion and raise relief funds.

The benefit, “Concert for Ukraine,” is to take place at 8 p.m. May 23 and will feature more than a dozen artists and ensembles, including Russian-born pianist Evgeny Kissin, violinist Itzhak Perlman, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant and singer Michael Feinstein.

The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, an amateur ensemble that specializes in secular and sacred music from Ukraine, will also perform.

“Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has been heartbreaking to witness the devastation that has been wrought there over the last two months,” Clive Gillinson, Carnegie’s executive and artistic director, said in a statement. “In this time of crisis, it is important to remember that there are active ways that we can all play a part in helping those who are suffering and under attack.”

Several benefits have been held by New York arts groups in support of Ukraine since the start of the invasion. In March, the Metropolitan Opera staged a concert featuring Ukraine’s national anthem and a piece by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, among others.

Carnegie’s leaders have used the hall’s platform to defend Ukraine. Last week, in announcing its 2022-23 season, the hall said it would host the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine in February. The ensemble will play Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, featuring Ukrainian American pianist Stanislav Khristenko, Brahms’ “Tragic Overture” and Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, as part of a tour led by Ukrainian American conductor Theodore Kuchar.

“This is a turning point in history,” Gillinson said in announcing the season. “It’s really, really important that a dictator does not win. We felt we needed to very overtly support Ukraine.”

Carnegie was among the first cultural institutions to fire artists with ties to President Vladimir Putin of Russia after his order to invade Ukraine. In February, the hall canceled appearances by Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, a longtime supporter of Putin, and Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who also has ties to Putin.

At the same time, Gillinson has warned that arts groups should not discriminate against Russian performers on the basis of nationality and should be careful to avoid penalizing performers who are reluctant to publicize their views on the war.

The benefit will feature a number of opera stars, including soprano Angel Blue and mezzo-sopranos Denyce Graves and Isabel Leonard; violinist Midori; mandolinist Chris Thile; Broadway singers Jessica Vosk and Adrienne Warren; and musicians from Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, a group of young artists.

Carnegie said proceeds would go to Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid group that supports relief efforts in Ukraine.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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