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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Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:22
Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada explores music from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Strauss’ Nietzsche-inspired Also sprach Zarathustra
Fri, 01/27/2017 - 14:47
Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada talks about the minimalist works of Philip Glass and John Adams
Fri, 01/20/2017 - 12:31
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski discusses the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s science-themed concerts part of Belief and Beyond Belief festival
Wed, 01/18/2017 - 16:23
Hear the LPO's Principal Conductor, Vladimir Jurowski, introduce our new festival Belief and Beyond Belief
Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:14
Discover the key messages and themes in Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio
Mon, 01/16/2017 - 17:01
Members of the LPO share with us their favourite books on the themes of life and meaning

4 Nov 2017

Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
4:00 pm, 4 Nov 2017
Does religion justify violence? Come along to hear a keynote addressing this complex issue
Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 4 Nov 2017
The London Philharmonic Orchestra performs Bruckner’s awe-inspiring Eighth Symphony

5 Nov 2017

Literature
Religion & Beliefs
12:00 pm, 5 Nov 2017
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief
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
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
1:30 pm, 5 Nov 2017
Examine the tensions and divisions within Buddhism’s past and present at this event
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
1:30 pm, 5 Nov 2017
Hear a panel of specialists discuss the Middle East’s long history of war and peace
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
3:00 pm, 5 Nov 2017
Listen to a variety of experts as they address the central themes of Belief & Beyond Belief
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
3:00 pm, 5 Nov 2017
Can war be a justifiable moral response to conflict? Consider all sides in this keynote address
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
4:30 pm, 5 Nov 2017
Immerse yourself in this discussion on the realities of opposing conflict on religious grounds

8 Nov 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 8 Nov 2017
Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the LPO perform Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven

10 Nov 2017

Classical music
Choral
7:30 pm, 10 Nov 2017
Innovative vocal ensemble The Cardinall’s Musick performs music that defies dangerous times

14 Nov 2017

Classical music
Chamber & Recital
7:30 pm, 14 Nov 2017
Hear two great works of art by Shostakovich and Messiaen that emerged from the horrors of war

22 Nov 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 22 Nov 2017
The London Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates the seasons in a concert featuring pianist Beatrice Rana

24 Nov 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 24 Nov 2017
Hear Vivaldi’s evergreen The Four Seasons at this London Philharmonic Orchestra concert.

29 Nov 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 29 Nov 2017
Vladimir Jurowski, Julia Fischer and the LPO perform lush orchestral works

2 Dec 2017

Classical music
Contemporary Classical
7:30 pm, 2 Dec 2017
City of London Sinfornia and Matthew Barley perform Sir John Taverner's The Protecting Veil.

6 Dec 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 6 Dec 2017
Oliver Knussen conducts the London Sinfonietta in an all-Stockhausen concert

16 Dec 2017

Literature
Religion & Beliefs
11:30 am, 16 Dec 2017
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
11:30 am, 16 Dec 2017
Consider what rituals you hold dear, and why, at this event exploring how they impact human life
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
1:00 pm, 16 Dec 2017
Learn about the mystical, spiritual practice of Sufism, famously embraced by 13th-century poet Rumi
Literature
Talks & Topics
1:00 pm, 16 Dec 2017
Author Colm Tóibín discusses writing from Mary’s perspective in his novel The Testament of Mary
Talks & Topics
Nature & Environment
2:30 pm, 16 Dec 2017
Discover what role nature plays in the idea of the divine, and in religion, at this discussion
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
2:30 pm, 16 Dec 2017
Listen to a variety of experts as they address the central themes of Belief & Beyond Belief
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
4:00 pm, 16 Dec 2017
Explore the connection between climate change, religion, and the concept of belief at this talk
Classical music
Choral
7:00 pm, 16 Dec 2017
Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO celebrate with a Bach’s joyous Christmas Oratorio

don't miss

23 Sep
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world

Semyon Bychkov_photo credit Musacchio & Ianniello_high res

Image Credit 
Semyon Bychkov Conductor credit Musacchio & Ianniello
Semyon Bychkov Conductor
22 Jun
Classical music
Orchestra
Royal Academy of Music students perform Mahler's monumental Second Symphony
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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.