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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4 Feb

Talks & Topics
Politics & History
4 Feb
What happens if a machine outgrows its purpose to defy its maker?
Talks & Topics
Nature & Environment
4 Feb
Come discuss the scientific and religious explanations for the universe’s creation
Talks & Topics
Religion & Beliefs
4 Feb
Listen to this keynote address about the universe’s mysteries
Classical music
Chamber & Recital
4 Feb
Aurora Orchestra teams up with artist and author Edmund de Waal to explore Strauss' Metamorphosen

Free

Classical music
4 Feb
Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the world's most important composers, talks about his work
Performance
Theatre
4 Feb - 5 Feb
See theatre company STAN's fascinating production about the court case that put evolution on trial
Classical music
Choral
4 Feb
See Haydn's The Creation: two of the most life-affirming and generous hours of music you can hear

5 Feb

Performance
Theatre
4 Feb - 5 Feb
See theatre company STAN's fascinating production about the court case that put evolution on trial

8 Feb

Classical music
Chamber & Recital
8 Feb
Alisa Weilerstein performs a complete cycle of Bach's breathtaking cello suites

10 Feb

Classical music
Orchestra
10 Feb
Hear the LPO play music by Haydn, Poulenc, Ligeti and Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra

stories

video
Hear LPO Principal Conductor, Vladimir Jurowski, introduce the Belief and Beyond Belief
video
Discover the key messages and themes in Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio

explore our themes

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