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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don't miss

4 Nov - 6 Nov
Talks & Topics
Take part in our seventh gathering for an exploration of religion, spirituality, belief and the world

Natural Religion

Image Credit 
Natural Religion credit Southbank Centre / Belinda Lawley
16 Dec
Talks & Topics
Nature & Environment
Discover what role nature plays in the idea of the divine, and in religion, at this discussion
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.

With God on Our Side… Religion and War


25 Oct - 14 Nov

How do religions that preach peace and understanding justify bloodshed?

Weekend Pass: £25

Book a Weekend Pass

Day Passes: £15 / £7.50 concessions

You can also book a pass to attend one or more days

Book a Saturday Pass

Book a Sunday Pass

Explore With God on Our Side... Religion and War

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?

Day Pass: £15 / £7.50 concessions

Book a Saturday Pass

Explore Ritual and Seasons: Religion and Our Natural Life


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

explore our themes

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

past themed weekends