The most scenic time of the year is approaching as we await the arrival of golden autumn in October for some joyous music.

This year, the Macao International Music Festival is coming to its 32nd edition. The Cultural Affairs Bureau keeps on carrying out its idea of running the Festival throughout these 30 years – "building a better world by connecting the world with music!" My heart is filled with emotions when I see the long queue during the first day of ticketing sales in recent years. That is the most beautiful scene in my eyes, as it demonstrates the raising quality and power of this city in the cultural sense. Indeed, the Macao International Music Festival has become the most anticipated cultural event to music fans, while it is also the most established festival in the Greater China region. There is a saying within the circle of music fans: Watch operas, drink red wine, and taste delicious cuisine in Macao. "I have here admirable guests; the lutes are struck, and the organs are blown for them". Macao has been well known as a place to welcome guests from all over the world with its music and delicious food, while in 2017, Macao was designated as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

It is essential to experience music in the moment. The short-lived prodigy Mozart spent 14 years out of 36 on the road performing concerts. Legend has it that he performed for the customs officers every time he passed through the borders to bring everyone closer together. Over the years, we could not forget whether it is the phenomenal concert by Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the Macao Cultural Centre, the refined chamber music performances at the long-standing Dom Pedro V Theatre, the inspiring Yellow River Cantata in front of the Ruins of St. Paul's, or the promotional and community events for bringing music to different corners in the city, these music notes together knit resounding memories. 

The theme of this year's Festival is "Enjoy – The Moment in music", with the meaning of seizing the moment and feeling the joy and fulfillment music brings to our souls. In terms of programming this year, from light witty opera buffa to grand and powerful Chinese music, from passionate life-praising Latin melodies to quintessential Romantic concerts dedicated to Schumann, the Music Festival is rich in variety and colours.

In commemoration of the 170th anniversary of the death of famous composer Donizetti, the curtain of the Festival will be unveiled with his two-act comic opera L'Elisir d'Amore, whichwas one of the most performed works during his time. In Il Signor Bruschino, an one act farce in memory of the 150th anniversary of the death of Gioachino Rossini, the audience will appreciate the genius composer's humour and wits. Camerata Salzburg from Mozart's hometown will bring the purest Vienna timbre; and among the top ten orchestras in the world, Germany's 470-year-old Staatskapelle Dresden will present the most authentic sound of Germany. You can be assured of never-ending excitements!

At the invitation of the Festival, two family quartets – "The Royal Family of the Guitar" Los Romero and world-renowned Hagen Quartet – are set to showcase their exquisite musical skills in great synchrony. In Cantonese Rhyme along the Silk Road, Guangdong National Orchestra will embark on a musical expedition with the audience to take in the splendours of sea. Stile Antico, a vocal ensemble from the U.K., will relive the Renaissance world of music in its vibrant and expressive performances. Macao Orchestra and Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra will lead the audience to wander off in the universe of Bruckner's masterpiece Symphony No. 8 in C Minor. One-of-a-kind Portuguese group Sangre Ibérico will seek to blend rumba flamenca with fado as they spice up a sensational Latin night.

It is effortful and yet fruitless to describe the magnificence of music with just words. We hope that the Macao International Music Festival will bring you warm-hearted memories. Stop and smell the roses. The Macao International Music Festival awaits you to come and "Enjoy – The Moment in music!"

Mok Ian Ian
President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau
of the Macao S.A.R. Government