A planned benefit concert in support of Ukraine was canceled in Vienna on Monday amid concerns about the Russian-based ensemble it was to feature, MusicAeterna, which is led by the conductor Teodor Currentzis and is supported by a state-owned bank in Russia.
The concert, organized by the Konzerthaus in Vienna, one of Austria’s premier halls, was to take place on Tuesday and feature MusicAeterna, which is based in St. Petersburg and is financed in part by VTB Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions. The United States and other western countries have recently imposed sanctions on the bank because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Vienna Konzerthaus said it canceled the concert after the Ukrainian ambassador to Austria, Vasyl Khymynets, expressed concern about featuring Russian artists at an event meant to benefit Ukraine. The ensemble’s founder, Mr. Currentzis, who was born in Athens, is a charismatic conductor who has built a large following in Russia and abroad.
“The Vienna Konzerthaus cannot ignore the political dimension of the performance of a St. Petersburg-based orchestra at a time of immense suffering caused by the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Matthias Naske, the hall’s chief executive and artistic director, said in a statement. “We understand and share the despair over the war crimes in Ukraine and condemn this aggression without reservation.”