festival

Belief and Beyond Belief

16 Jan 2017 - 16 Dec 2017

Throughout 2017, Southbank Centre and the London Philharmonic Orchestra present a new festival which explores what it means to be human. Belief and Beyond Belief explores the music, art, culture, science, philosophy, ritual and traditions that have risen out of religion in its many guises.

The seemingly innate need for humans to find meaning for their lives and a sense of where they fit into the universe, with all its mystery and majesty, is a constant in all periods of human history and has inspired some of the greatest music and art ever created.

Even in an era when religion is said to be on the decline, our headlines are dominated by it, often in extreme forms.

The festival also looks at the broader questions of what it means to be human and asks which aspects of religious belief can be useful to the world in the 21st century. What are the risks to societies if they become more secular, and how will that influence artists?

From Haydn to Strauss, from Kancheli to Glass, Belief and Beyond Belief looks at music that speaks of the divine and the human spirit.

From Richard Dawkins to Jeanette Winterson, from Rabindranath Tagore to Primo Levi, we investigate the struggle to define the absolute.

Nearly all of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2017 Royal Festival Hall concerts form part of this festival, alongside a wide range of performances, lectures, debates, and literary events programmed by Southbank Centre.

With support from Coexist House and Cambridge Interfaith Programme.

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The belief in something greater than ourselves has preoccupied humanity for centuries. In this festival of music inspired by spiritual belief, we attempt to lay open the grandeur, enigma and conflict in our search for, and understanding of, the divine.
Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, London Philharmonic Orchestra

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Religion & Beliefs
Thu, 05/04/2017 - 12:56
The author, advertising consultant and expert on Generation M shares her thoughts.
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Wed, 05/03/2017 - 15:07
Why does this Benedictine monk think religion has a place in schools?
Thu, 04/06/2017 - 17:34
Belief and Beyond Belief festival panellist Canon Rosie Harper considers the topic of assisted dying
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 16:20
We caught up with the opera soprano ahead of her concert performance at Southbank Centre
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 16:02
The celebrated novelist spoke to us ahead of her appearance in Prophets, Visionaries and Power
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 15:51
Ahead of Prophets, Visionaries and Power the journalist and educator spoke to us about spirituality
Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:54
Hear the percussionist in conversation with Southbank Centre's Director of Music, Gillian Moore MBE
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Fri, 03/03/2017 - 17:47
Explore how new technologies are impacting our perceptions and experiences of death, with Professor Josh Cohen
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Fri, 03/03/2017 - 12:12
Hear comedian, actor and writer Cariad Lloyd's thoughts on life and death
Wed, 03/01/2017 - 13:03
See what poet Anthony Anaxagorou thinks about death, poetry and what comes next

23 Sep 2017

Talks & Topics
Artists & Thinkers
11:30 am, 23 Sep 2017
Hear from religious leaders, writers and philosopher on where we should look for moral guidance
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
11:30 am, 23 Sep 2017
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
1:00 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Hear this debate on the moral, spiritual and legal issues of abortion
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
1:00 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Hear the differing voices on the key issue of same-sex marriage rights in this debate
Talks & Topics
Religion & Beliefs
2:30 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Discover how science enhances our understanding of whether human beings are innately good
Talks & Topics
Religion & Beliefs
2:30 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Discuss the differences and similarities within religions
Talks & Topics
Religion & Beliefs
4:00 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Are we ready to move past the ideas of good and evil?
Classical music
Choral
7:00 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Sir Willard White, Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO perform Enescu’s powerful opera Oedipe

24 Sep 2017

Classical music
Contemporary Classical
3:30 pm, 24 Sep 2017
Explore birdsong and man’s relationship with the natural world, in this Aurora Orchestra concert

25 Sep 2017

Classical music
Choral
7:00 pm, 25 Sep 2017
Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven? The OAE explores Judas and Christ’s last days

27 Sep 2017

Classical music
Contemporary Classical
7:30 pm, 27 Sep 2017
Jan Vogler and the LPO perform Britten’s Symphony for cello & orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski

30 Sep 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 30 Sep 2017
Hear pianist Richard Goode play Mozart in this LPO concert, also featuring Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony

14 Oct 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 14 Oct 2017
Hear 20th-century music that explores spirituality as part of Belief and Beyond Belief festival

21 Oct 2017

Classical music
Choral
7:30 pm, 21 Oct 2017
The LPO reveals another side to Rossini in this performance of his Stabat Mater

25 Oct 2017

Classical music
Choral
7:30 pm, 25 Oct 2017
Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the LPO present music of war and peace in this emotional concert

27 Oct 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 27 Oct 2017
The LPO performs history-changing music with Shostakovich’s ‘Leningrad’ Symphony

31 Oct 2017

Classical music
Chamber & Recital
7:30 pm, 31 Oct 2017
The Emerson Quartet performs Beethoven’s electrifying late quartets

1 Nov 2017

Classical music
Chamber & Recital
7:30 pm, 1 Nov 2017
The Emerson Quartet presents a second concert of Beethoven’s electrifying late quartets

4 Nov 2017

Literature
Religion & Beliefs
Various times, 4 Nov 2017 - 5 Nov 2017
Take part in our seventh gathering for an exploration of religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
11:30 am, 4 Nov 2017
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
11:30 am, 4 Nov 2017
Explore the complex dynamics of religion and violence in this event
Talks & Topics
Politics & History
1:00 pm, 4 Nov 2017
Delve into the beliefs that martyrs die for with a panel of experts
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
1:00 pm, 4 Nov 2017
Uncover the role of religion in violence across the ages in this illuminating panel discussion
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
2:30 pm, 4 Nov 2017
Take in this expert panel discussion on the idea and meaning of the word ‘jihad’
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
2:30 pm, 4 Nov 2017
Hear a range of speakers tackle all kinds of topics from Belief & Beyond Belief

don't miss

23 Sep
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
4 Nov
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
see all events

Throughout 2017, we will be hosting a series of themed weekends, exploring music, art, culture, science, philosophy, ritual and traditions around these themes.

For each weekend, we have a number of limited day and weekend passes available. Book your pass below.

Prophets, Visionaries and Power

8 Apr - 28 Apr

From the American election to the civil wars in the Middle East, to the refugee crisis in Europe.

Book Pass 

For Good or For Ill: How Has Religion Shaped Society?

29 Apr - 22 Jun

How can we measure the many contributions religious communities make to culture?

Book Pass

How To Be Good: Gurus, Gods and Guidance

23 Sep - 21 Oct

For centuries, religious teachings have given guidance to believers on finding a virtuous path through life.

Book Pass

With God on Our Side… Religion and War

25 Oct - 14 Nov

How do religions that preach peace and understanding justify bloodshed?

Book Pass

Rituals and Seasons: Religion and Our Natural Life

22 Nov - 16 Dec

What do rituals, both ancient and contemporary, tell us about the way we construct meaning? Could religion help to tackle climate change?

Book Pass

stories

story
Why does this Benedictine monk think religion has a place in schools?
story
Belief and Beyond Belief festival panellist Canon Rosie Harper considers the topic of assisted dying

explore our themes

This festival is comprised of a series of themed weekends, find out more about them below.