Musicians from the Rochester Philharmonic perform at the orchestra’s March 12 concert raising funds for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Photo by Tyler Cervini.

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. Orchestras all over the world responded to the crisis rapidly, and showed their support for Ukraine by performing the Ukrainian National Anthem, adding compositions by Ukrainian composers, lighting their concert halls in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukraine flag, and hosting concerts to raise money for humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian citizens and refugees. Heart-rending images of music-making flooded the internet: cellist Denys Karachevtsev playing Bach in the bombed-out city of Kharkiv; the Kyiv-Classic Symphony Orchestra performing in a frigid Maidan Square in Kyiv. The war also had an immediate impact on concert programs in Europe and the U.S. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and David Robertson stepped in to conduct Vienna Philharmonic concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York and at Artis—Naples in Florida, after Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was removed from that tour. Gergiev has long publicly supported Russian President Vladimir Putin, including during the country’s military incursions in eastern Ukraine and Syria. Gergiev’s contract as principal conductor at the Munich Philharmonic was terminated, and other orchestras also severed ties with the conductor. Anna Rakitina, assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, stepped in to conduct two New York Philharmonic concerts originally scheduled to be led by Russian conductor Tugan Sokhiev, who resigned his positions as music director of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and France’s Orchestre National du Capitole in Toulouse, rather than publicly clarify his position on the war.