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
Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada explores music from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Strauss’ Nietzsche-inspired Also sprach Zarathustra
Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada talks about the minimalist works of Philip Glass and John Adams
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski discusses the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s science-themed concerts part of Belief and Beyond Belief festival
Hear the LPO's Principal Conductor, Vladimir Jurowski, introduce our new festival Belief and Beyond Belief
Discover the key messages and themes in Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio

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In the first of our 'Six things...' series Julian Baggini muses on the notion of truth
Former Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council, Dr. Coline Covington, addresses our understanding of good and evil

past themed weekends