The international classical music festival, "Beethoven's Hradec", has been a local cultural event since the 1960s. Today, it is one of the most important competitive Czech festivals. Musical stars from around the world compete in piano, violin, viola, and violoncello performances. Music resounds in halls, cafes, and parks around Hradec nad Moravicí.
This classical music showcase bears Beethoven's name because the composer actually stayed in Hradec nad Moravicí on two occasions.
Ludwig van Beethoven first came in the summer of 1806 by invitation of Prince Karl Lichnowsky. The Lichnowskys were his great patrons and he, in turn, dedicated many of his masterpieces to them. He stayed at the chateau for a total of three months, before the stubborn and obstinate Beethoven argued with the prince and left.
The heart of the disagreement was Karl Lichnowsky's request that the maestro play for the French officers whose troops laid siege on Hradec nad Moravicí and with whom the prince wanted to gain favour in order to avoid looting. Refusing to play for Napoleon's officers, Beethoven broke Lichnowsky's bust statue in a violent, angry outburst. It is believed he would have even broken the real Lichnowsky's head with the chair he seized in his rage, had it not been for the prompt intervention of Prince Oppensdorf.
Beethoven departed and took lodgings in Opava. He then wrote a letter to the prince, in which he gloated that there are thousands of princes, but only one Beethoven.
Beethoven's second visit to Hradec came five years later, and while it was short, it was also not without conflict. The brilliant composer attended a concert in which his Mass in C major was performed. He was so dissatisfied by how the conductor directed the work that when he could no longer stand it, he leapt from his chair, grabbed the baton, and conducted the concert himself instead.
Beethoven's visits to Hradec nad Moravicí are remembered by more than the classical music festival, but also by the items that the composer used. Visitors of the chateau in Hradec nad Moravicí
can also see the room in which he stayed.