Steven Isserlis on the Bach Cello Suites
Johann Sebastian Bach’s six cello suites are among the most beloved and renowned works of classical music. They have been transcribed for 19 different instruments and have appeared in ballet, theatre and film. But for almost two hundred years after they were composed they were largely unknown, un...
Bach vs Beethoven: The Battle of the Great Composers
Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven are without doubt two of the most sublime musical geniuses who ever lived. But which of the two was the greater? To battle it out, Intelligence Squared is bringing to the stage two celebrated figures from the world of music: world-renowned cellist St...
Carlo Rovelli and Tom Holland on Anaximander, Radical Scientific Thinker
‘In my opinion this idea of Anaximander’s [that the Earth is suspended in space] is one of the boldest, most revolutionary, and most portentous ideas in the whole history of human thinking.’ – Karl Popper
Carlo Rovelli is one of the world’s best known scientists. A theoretical physicist, his boo...
Letters That Changed The World from Leonard Cohen, Alan Turing, Rosa Parks and more
In this Intelligence Squared event award-winning historian Simon Sebag Montefiore and bestselling novelist Kate Mosse discussed letters by Michelangelo, Catherine the Great, Sarah Bernhardt, Rosa Parks, Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing and Leonard Cohen. Some are inspiring, some unsettling, others exp...
Marina Abramović on art, performance, time and nothingness
‘The hardest thing is to do something which is close to nothing.’ – Marina Abramović
Marina Abramović is the most celebrated performance artist in the world. Over a career spanning four decades she has pioneered performance as an art form and accumulated a devoted following that includes Jay-Z a...
Greece vs Rome, with Boris Johnson and Mary Beard
On November 19th Intelligence Squared hosted the ultimate clash of civilisations: Greece vs Rome. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and ardent classicist, made the case for Greece; while Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge and redoubtable media star, championed Rome.
As Boris argued, the...
Rembrandt vs Vermeer: The Titans of Dutch Painting
Following the wild success of our previous cultural combat events – Verdi vs Wagner, Jane Austen vs Emily Brontë and Shakespeare vs Milton – Intelligence Squared turned to the two greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age: Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Rembrandt van Rijn is the best known of all the Du...
Stephen Fry & Friends on the Life of Christopher Hitchens
In this historic event, Stephen Fry and other friends of Christopher Hitchens came together to celebrate the life and work of this great writer, iconoclast and debater. Fry was joined on stage at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall by Richard Dawkins and the two discussed Hitch’s unflinchi...
Jane Austen vs Emily Brontë The Queens of English Literature Debate
Jane Austen created the definitive picture of Georgian England – a landscape of Palladian mansions and handsome parsonages, peopled by rigidly-divided classes. No writer matches Austen’s sensitive ear for the hypocrisy and irony lurking beneath the genteel conversation. Never has a novelist writt...
Send them back The Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens
Verdi vs Wagner the 200th birthday debate with Stephen Fry
Think opera and you think Verdi. Verdi created some of the most beloved operas of all time, from the romantic tragedy of La traviata and Rigoletto to the Shakespearian dramas of Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff.
Verdi's music transcends the barriers between high and low culture. Many of his arias co...
Inside the Head of Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam is one of the most multifaceted, visionary talents alive. He first found fame as a member of Monty Python, the surreal comedy troupe that has had a cult following since its inception in 1969 right up to today. Had Gilliam stopped there, his artistic immortality would have been guara...
Burgundy vs Bordeaux, with Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
Among wine lovers, there is no greater divide than that between Burgundy and Bordeaux. These are the world’s most celebrated wine regions, different places producing different styles of wine. What separates them and why the great rivalry?
Many wine buffs believe that Bordeaux is for beginners. I...
Gore Vidal in conversation with Melvyn Bragg
Between You and I the English Language is Going to the Dogs
The English language is going to the dogs. "Between you and I" is just one of the howlers those of us with linguistic sensibilities have to endure. The distinctions between words such as 'infer' and 'imply', and 'uninterested' and 'disinterested' are disappearing. Americanisms such as 'gotten', '...
Great Minds: Slavoj Žižek
Modern radical thinker Slavoj Žižek spoke on the 1st July as part of the 'Great Minds' series, and affirmed his status as a great mind of modern philosophy and social, cultural and political theory. Starbucks, social solidarity and self-commodification were among the varied and enlightening topic...
Wole Soyinkas Return to Literature
Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel laureate for literature, has released his first novel in 50 years.
Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth is many things: a satire, a whodunit mystery and an expansive assessment of the last 60 years of Nigerian history, providing a window int...
Emma Dabiri and Alex Renton on Race, Reckoning and What Everyone Can Do Next
Emma Dabiri, Alex Renton and Farah Jassat come together in this unmissable conversation to discuss race, reckoning and what everyone can do to build coalitions and create tangible change.
Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah on the Arts and Black Lives Matter
In the wake of of the Black Lives Matter protests, during this watershed moment Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah come together to explore the future of the arts in this discussion chaired by Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
Brilliant minds, debate, online events, ask your questions. Try Intelligence Square...
Mary Beard on Images of Power from the Ancient to the Modern World
In October 2021 Mary Beard, Britain’s best known classicist, came to Intelligence Squared to talk about the ideas in her new book Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern. In conversation with the cultural critic Shahidha Bari, Beard showed why images of Roman emperors...
Antony Gormley on How Sculpture Shapes the World in Conversation With Shahidha Bari
Antony Gormley is probably the UK’s best known sculptor, famous for his Angel of the North in Gateshead and for the life-sized casts of his naked body that have appeared in works such as Another Place on Crosby Beach. In January 2021 he came to Intelligence Squared to give an illustrated talk on ...
David Schwimmer and Nick Mohammed - How I Found My Voice Podcast
Friends star David Schwimmer and comedy writer Nick Mohammed speak to Samira Ahmed for our award-winning podcast series How I Found My Voice. Together, they will discuss everything from a childhood fascination with magic and getting their first big break to how the Friends cast unionised for equa...
Gloria Estefan, How I Found My Voice (Podcast)
In this live podcast recording of the award-winning How I Found My Voice, presented by Samira Ahmed, Gloria Estefan reflected on her path to musical success and fame. Gloria Estefan is one of the most successful female singers ever. With more than 120 million records sold worldwide, three Grammy ...
James Rhodes and Armando Iannucci on the Transformative Power of Music
In February 2018, Intelligence Squared brought Armando Iannucci and James Rhodes to our stage to discuss the transcendent power of music. They will be using the concert grand at Cadogan Hall to help tell their remarkable stories.
James Rhodes is known as the wild man of concert pianists. His app...