The Rest Is Noise festival, inspired by Alex Ross’ book of the same name, has provided culturally-curious audiences with an ambitious programme of events on a scale never-before seen; using film, debate, talks and a vast range of concerts to reveal the stories behind 20th-century music. This mammoth year-long programme has received tremendous support from audiences with 122,706 tickets issued for all events featured in the festival.
The series of 100 concerts at the heart of the festival featured key works from across the century in chronological order, performed by leading orchestras and soloists. Key concerts included music such as Strauss’ Salome, Bartók’s Romanian Dances, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad), Britten’s War Requiem, Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels, Glass’Music in 12 Parts and Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. Principal Orchestral partner, London Philharmonic Orchestra, devoted all 31 of its Royal Festival Hall programmes in 2013 to twentieth-century music. Eighteen orchestras – the most Southbank Centre has ever brought together for one festival – have taken part, including Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras, the UK’s great regional orchestras, youth orchestras, ensembles from all top UK conservatoires and major international orchestras.
Alongside concerts, The Rest Is Noise festival included weekends of talks, films and debates featuring leading figures from science, literature, politics and the arts to illuminate the major themes of the festival and of the century.
The festival was partnered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC and The Open University.
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: ‘We set out to stage over an entire year Alex Ross’ extraordinary book that places classical music inside the history of revolutions, politics, war, science, philosophy, economics and social upheaval that was the 20th century. Building collaborations from all parts of the world of classical music, contemporary culture and politics, we wanted to persuade people to enjoy and support works of their own century. With Gillian Moore, Head of Classical Music, leading the curating team and Tim Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra dedicating his entire year’s repertoire to the project, we were able to build a huge different audience. We now want to ensure that our young emerging composers can reap the benefits of this audience’s new appetite.’
Gillian Moore, Head of Classical Music, Southbank Centre said: ‘The Rest Is Noise festival has given us the opportunity to offer more than a series of concerts. Through the extensive programme of weekend talks, films, debates and study evenings, we have given audiences a sense of community and encouraged the questioning spirit. As a result we have seen audiences really engaging in the music and culture of the 20th Century.’