A Tribute to Ourselves and the Future

– Macao International Music Festival – For a special year

I will seize fate by the throat; it shall not wholly overcome me. Oh, it is so beautiful to live – to live a thousand times!

Ludwig van Beethoven

The year 2020 has been a difficult one for the whole world and everyone who lives in it.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 early this year, the epidemic situation is still severe in many parts of the world. It has also struck a blow against the Macao International Music Festival since most of the programmes are from overseas, causing this cultural event with three decades of history to resort to an unconventional arrangement in 2020.

We still remember that we looked forward more than ever to the Macao International Music Festival of 2020 as this year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven. We were thrilled to organise and to participate in an event in honour of the composer.

Seasons come and go, and we are already in the second half of 2020.

Although we cannot present Beethoven’s works collectively and enjoy the masterpieces with music aficionados together, the composer’s music and the stories of fate that he conveyed throughout his lifetime are of particular significance.

This year, we will have local programmes and community activities to bring music to every corner of the city. The Street Piano Programme, which was well received by the public last year, will continue this year from 1st September to 30th December. Two pianos will be placed successively at various locations, including parks and leisure areas in Macao and Taipa, and Macao Science Center, bringing people closer to music and giving music the renewed vigour to drift through every part of the city. The activity echoes with the celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday to a certain extent, since it is Beethoven who brought music from churches and living rooms of the nobility to the general public, making music a part of people’s daily lives.

It is the general public that Beethoven composed his works for.

Take the famous work he composed in his youth, Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”), for instance. It was originally dedicated to Napoleon, but Beethoven was outraged to learn about his self-coronation and changed the title of the work to “composed to celebrate the memory of a great man”, suggesting that it was composed in honour of a real hero. Nevertheless, instead of Napoleon or an unknown great man, the real hero is actually Beethoven himself or any ordinary member of the general public. The twists and turns of the grand and complex musical structure, through which many highs and lows in life are represented, are seemingly natural transitions that have been repeatedly polished before eventually leading to pleasure and freedom. That is the spirit of Beethoven’s music and the story of his life.

In 2020, let us be the hero of our own lives, and pay tribute to ourselves and the future with music!


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