"London has always been at the forefront of celebrating the music of Olivier Messiaen. Measurer of time and craftsman in sound and colour, Messiaen has influenced generations of composers. His spirituality, his love of nature and the sheer boldness of his music communicate directly with audiences.
This gentle dreamer with a collector's soul worked independently of contemporary trends - unclassifiable because, piece by piece, he constructed a truly unique language. It is my great wish that this festival, in homage to Messiaen, will illuminate the many aspects of this great original."
Use our interactive timeline to explore Messiaen's life, and how it fitted with other cultural and political events in the 20th century.
The sounds of Messiaen
Find out more about Messiaen's sound world, with features on his percussion writing, how he used the orchestra, the ondes Martenot and birdsong.
Messiaen and Synaesthesia
Find out more about the condition Messiaen had called Synaesthesia, which caused a confusion of colour and sound.
Messiaen's Celebration of Love, Nature and the Divine
Find out more about Messiaen's life with this article by Nigel Simeone.