Honorary professorship awarded to Maria Kalesnikava

Press release
Since the beginning of the year, the project "Practicing Care" has been focusing on the transnational social responsibility of a university of the arts with a variety of activities. Exemplary for these activities is the awarding of an honorary professorship by the Senate of the Mozarteum University to the Belarusian flautist, pedagogue and civil rights activist Maria Kalesnikava, who was sentenced to 11 years of penal colony in her home country. Dorothee Oberlinger and Olga Shparaga, among others, will participate in the program of the ceremony on October 30.
October 30, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
Solitär, Mirabellplatz 1 With: Elisabeth Gutjahr, Rector of the University Mozarteum Hildegard Frauenender, Senate of the University Mozarteum Andreas Fladvad-Geier, Project Manager "Practicing Care" Maryna Yurevich, activist & protagonist of the film "Courage" Dorothee Oberlinger, musician & conductor Olga Shparaga, philosopher & author et al.
Born in 1982 in Minsk, Maria Kalesnikava studied flute and conducting at the State Academy of Music in Minsk, as well as early and contemporary music at the Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts. She was active in various ensembles, taught in Belarus and Germany, worked on numerous transnational music projects, and in 2019 became artistic director of the cultural center "OK-16" in Minsk. After the arrest of opposition politician Wiktar Babaryka, she stood in his place in the 2020 presidential campaign in Belarus. After the election, which confirmed Lukashenko's authoritarian regime but is judged internationally and by large segments of Belarusian society to be a sham, Kalesnikava continued to campaign as a leading figure of the Belarusian opposition for, among other things, free elections and women's rights in Belarus. In September 2020, she was arrested, abducted, and a year later sentenced to 11 years in a penal colony. In recognition of her actions and commitment to social freedom and democratic values, the University Mozarteum awards Maria Kalesnikava an honorary professorship within the framework of the long-term project "Practicing Care - Care Network of an Art University", which is intended to be a model for numerous activities within the overall project and to set a strong example. The corresponding decision by the Senate was already made on March 11, 2022, the ceremony on the occasion of the award will be opened on October 30 by Rector Elisabeth Gutjahr. As guests are among others the activist  Maryna Yurevich and the peotin J ulia Cimafiejeva . The renowned recorder player and professor at the Mozarteum University Dorothee Oberlinger will arrange the musical program together with the students Wen-Chen Wei, Julia Ziegler, Lucas Biegel, Matija Kovac and works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann and Alastair Penman. The philosopher and activist Olga Shparaga could be won as a speaker. In her book "Die Revolution hat ein weibliches Gesicht: Der Fall Belarus" (Suhrkamp), published in 2021, she describes and reflects on the revolutionary events in Belarus in 2020. She is a member of the feminist group of the Coordination Council, the political body of the Belarusian opposition to dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Within the framework of "Practicing Care", several invitations and meetings with activist artists have already taken place in the course of the year in order to jointly promote and strengthen socio-politically and artistically relevant projects and networks. "Practicing Care" is thereby under the sign of a policy of caring for (each other), which is based on an exchange of knowledge and experience that takes place at eye level. After the kick-off event in June 2022, the awarding of meanwhile three artist* residencies, workshops, film presentations at Theater im KunstQuartier and DasKino as well as a concert and music talk with the Belarusian singer/songwriter Lavon Volski, the two theater makers* are currently working, Activists and protagonists of the film "Courage" Maryna Yakubovich and Pavle Haradnizky are currently working together with students from Austria and Ukraine at the Mozarteum University on an experimental, multilingual theater project dealing with the topic of "Heimat".
To the program

Maria Kalesnikava lebt uns in beeindruckender Weise vor, wie eine künstlerische Persönlichkeit mit Mut und Entschiedenheit sich brutaler Gewalt entgegenstellen kann. ... Mit der Verleihung der Ehrenprofessur verneigen wir uns vor dieser Musikerin und Aktivistin.

— Rektorin Elisabeth Gutjahr