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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Thu, 04/06/2017 - 17:34
Belief and Beyond Belief festival panellist Canon Rosie Harper considers the topic of assisted dying
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 16:20
We caught up with the opera soprano ahead of her concert performance at Southbank Centre
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 16:02
The celebrated novelist spoke to us ahead of her appearance in Prophets, Visionaries and Power
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 15:51
Ahead of Prophets, Visionaries and Power the journalist and educator spoke to us about spirituality
Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:54
Hear the percussionist in conversation with Southbank Centre's Director of Music, Gillian Moore MBE
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Fri, 03/03/2017 - 17:47
Explore how new technologies are impacting our perceptions and experiences of death, with Professor Josh Cohen
Religion & Beliefs
Talks & Topics
Fri, 03/03/2017 - 12:12
Hear comedian, actor and writer Cariad Lloyd's thoughts on life and death
Wed, 03/01/2017 - 13:03
See what poet Anthony Anaxagorou thinks about death, poetry and what comes next
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

today

Classical music
Chamber & Recital
12:00 pm, 29 Apr 2017
Explore two masterworks from Steve Reich, which were inspired by human rituals

tomorrow

Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
3:15 pm, 30 Apr 2017
Witness a live reading of Primo Levi’s powerful account of survival at Auschwitz

5 May 2017

Classical music
Chamber & Recital
7:30 pm, 5 May 2017
The Colin Currie Group and Synergy Vocals perform music by Steve Reich

6 May 2017

Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
11:30 am, 6 May 2017
Come along to this discussion on religion’s contribution to human progress
Literature
Talks & Topics
11:30 am, 6 May 2017 - 8 May 2017
A weekend of talks and events exploring religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
11:30 am, 6 May 2017
A weekend of talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Talks & Topics
Disability & Inclusivity
1:00 pm, 6 May 2017
Discuss whether we are all equal in the eyes of God in this panel discussion
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
1:00 pm, 6 May 2017
Discuss how we can unite to make positive change in society
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
2:30 pm, 6 May 2017
Hear a range of speakers tackle all kinds of topics from Belief & Beyond Belief
Talks & Topics
Politics & History
2:30 pm, 6 May 2017
Find out how religion functions behind bars
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
4:00 pm, 6 May 2017
Meet the Muslim women breaking new ground, challenging perceptions around the role of women in Islam
audience members at a Pre-Concert Talk

Free

Classical music
6:15 pm, 6 May 2017
Dr Benjamin Walton leads a discussion on how Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 6 May 2017
Hear Beethoven's Ninth – not just another symphony, but an experience with the power to change lives

7 May 2017

Talks & Topics
Health & Wellbeing
1:30 pm, 7 May 2017
We discuss the intersections between clothing and religion
Talks & Topics
Artists & Thinkers
1:30 pm, 7 May 2017
Take a tour through the history of Christianity in this conversation with experts
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
1:30 pm, 7 May 2017
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Talks & Topics
Politics & History
3:00 pm, 7 May 2017
Discuss whether the actions of some is affecting the belief of others in an illuminating discussion
Talks & Topics
Children & Young people
3:00 pm, 7 May 2017
We hear from a range of faith leaders and educators about religion in the classroom
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
4:30 pm, 7 May 2017
Meet the women of faith who are leading their communities and making the world a better place

22 Jun 2017

Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 22 Jun 2017
Royal Academy of Music students perform Mahler's monumental Second Symphony

23 Sep 2017

Literature
Religion & Beliefs
11:30 am, 23 Sep 2017
Join talks and debates on religion, spirituality, belief and the world
Talks & Topics
Artists & Thinkers
11:30 am, 23 Sep 2017
Hear from religious leaders, writers and philosopher on where we should look for moral guidance
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
1:00 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Hear this debate on the moral, spiritual and legal issues of abortion
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
1:00 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Hear the differing voices on the key issue of same-sex marriage rights in this debate
Talks & Topics
Religion & Beliefs
2:30 pm, 23 Sep 2017
Discover how science enhances our understanding of whether human beings are innately good

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
Ahead of Prophets, Visionaries and Power the journalist and educator spoke to us about spirituality
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.

shop music

Beethovens Missa Solemnis Recording

LPO Beethoven's Missa Solemnis

Cardboard Radio

Royal Festival Hall Cushion

Crosley Record Player