festival

Belief and Beyond Belief

16 Jan - 16 Dec
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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5 Mar 2017

Choral
Literature
12:00 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Listen to readings exploring life, love and loss, given by renowned poets
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
12:00 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Talks & Topics
Religion & Beliefs
1:30 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Debate how visions of the end of the world have shaped society
Graves with flowers

Free

1:30 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Visit this one stop shop to understand the logistics involved in organising a funeral
Talks & Topics
Artists & Thinkers
1:30 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Is making art an essential human act in the face of a finite existence?
Literature
Talks & Topics
3:00 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Look to the last moments of great writers with us to glimpse the future
Talks & Topics
Health & Wellbeing
3:00 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Think about your digital self, and what becomes of it when you die, in this discussion
Talks & Topics
Health & Wellbeing
4:30 pm, 5 Mar 2017
We discuss mourning and the loss of family members with a panel of experts

Free

Art
Choral
6:00 pm, 5 Mar 2017
Immerse yourself in a thought-provoking performance that interprets the grief of bereaved caregivers
Performance
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Confront your own mortality at Dead Line, part installation and part theatre performance
Performance
Cabaret
7:30 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Be moved by this show about how we respond to grief and the difficulties of talking about death

15 Mar 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 15 Mar 2017
Take a trip back to the 70s in this LPO concert of sonic experiments by Gavin Bryars and Steve Reich

22 Mar 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 22 Mar 2017
Experience the passion of Bruckner's unfinished Ninth Symphony, conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste

25 Mar 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 25 Mar 2017
Mozart's Requiem is paired with a dazzlingly different vision of the afterlife by Richard Strauss

8 Apr 2017

Talks & Topics
Business & Economics
11:30 am, 8 Apr 2017
Share your thoughts on whether religion and politics can exist separately in this talk
Literature
11:30 am, 8 Apr 2017
Come along to our fourth gathering for Belief and Beyond Belief festival
Talks & Topics
Artists & Thinkers
1:00 pm, 8 Apr 2017
Discover the prophets, preachers and religious thinkers who have radically reshaped society
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
1:00 pm, 8 Apr 2017
Explore the link between the rise of nationalism and the desire for religious belief
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
2:30 pm, 8 Apr 2017
Hear a range of speakers tackle the topic of women in religion
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
2:30 pm, 8 Apr 2017
Debate the struggles of British Islam with our panel of experts
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
4:00 pm, 8 Apr 2017
Novelist Elif Safak delivers a keynote address on the intersections of politics and faith
Talks & Topics
Religion & Beliefs
4:00 pm, 8 Apr 2017
Delve into the sacred text at the heart of Hinduism, the Bhagavat Gita
Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 8 Apr 2017
Multiple choirs, world-class soloists and the London Philharmonic Orchestra perform Mahler's Eighth

stories

video
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski discusses the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s science-themed concerts part of Belief and Beyond Belief festival
video
Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada explores music from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Strauss’ Nietzsche-inspired Also sprach Zarathustra

explore our themes

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