The Rest Is Noise – the world’s largest festival dedicated to 20th century music at Southbank Centre has provided culturally curious audiences with an ambitious programme of events on a scale never-before seen. This mammoth year-long programme reaches the conclusion of its first half later this month and further details for the final part are announced today.
The second half of The Rest Is Noise will take audiences further still by programming works from the latter part of the century including music by Stockhaussen, Berio, Cage and Glass together with the UK premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels – banned from live performance at the time of its composition nearly 40 years ago and finally heard here in its full glory.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC and The Open University are partners of the Festival and highlights of the second part include rare Southbank Centre performances by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (4 October), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (3 November) and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (28 November); speakers including Sofia Gubaidulina, Gail Zappa and Steve Reich; the UK premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels in concert with the BBC Concert Orchestra and members of Southbank Sinfonia (29 October); Marin Alsop conducting Brazil’s flagship orchestra São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in their Southbank Centre debut with the Swingle Singers in Berio’s Sinfonia (25 October as part of Shell Classic International series); performances of two minimalist masterpieces on the same weekend – Philip Glass’s Music in 12 Parts performed by Philip Glass with the Philip Glass Ensemble (9 November) and Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians (10 November) with the Colin Currie Group as part of the International Chamber Music Series; Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras perform Stockhausen’s Gruppen (London Sinfonietta with musicians from the Royal Academy of Music 6 October) and 2001: A Space Odyssey with a live orchestral soundtrack (Philharmonia Orchestra 7 October); and Vladimir Jurowski and Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestra the London Philharmonic Orchestra with performances of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes and War Requiem and Adams’ El Niño (28 September 2013, 12 October 2013 and 14 December 2013).
The programme of weekend events promises to stimulate thoughts and debate and will feature many highlights including Gail Zappa talking about her husband Frank Zappa; Hanif Kureishi discussing Thatcherite Britain; writer and activist Angela Davis looks back at the radical sixties and the Civil Rights movement in America; and film screenings include Yellow Submarine; the 26-hour epic Heimat; and Goodbye, Lenin!.
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre said: ‘The Rest Is Noise festival is as much about discussion and debate as it is about music and it is a personal passion of mine to open up this long-misunderstood and sometimes neglected music to the culturally curious. The first half of the festival has bolstered our desire to inspire new audiences to discover the multiple stories and the music of the 20th century and we have been thrilled with the response from audiences received so far. We now continue this journey by looking at the 20th century from the 1950s onwards as we look to consolidate our audiences through the continued breadth and epic scale of the programme on offer.’
Gillian Moore, Head of Classical Music at Southbank Centre said: ‘As we enter the second part of our year-long festival, we look at classical music in the context of this most turbulent and fast-paced period in history from the Cold War with performances of Stockhaussen’s Gruppen; to the revolutionary 1960s with Berio’s Sinfonia; and the final years of the communist era with Gubaidulina’s Offertorium. During the latter stages of the festival we will also take time to look to the future of classical music today with a discussion between George Benjamin and Tom Service as part of the Royal Philharmonic Society Bicentenary celebrations. The legacy of The Rest Is Noise festival will continue into 2014 with many new 21st century works being performed including works by John Tavener, Kaija Saariaho, Peter Maxwell Davies and James MacMillan among many others.’
Alex Ross, author of The Rest Is Noise said: ‘I remain deeply grateful—and more than a little stunned—that my book inspired Southbank Centre’s project, which now has a momentum entirely its own. I hope that audiences will continue to fall under the spell of twentieth-century music, understanding its relationship to the surrounding context and feeling its transcendent power.’
Vladimir Jurowski, London Philharmonic Orchestra Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, said: ‘The LPO is delighted to be part of this great festival and our increased audience capacity has demonstrated how The Rest Is Noise has succeeded in capturing people’s imaginations and drawing them in to this interesting adventure through 20th century music and culture. This thrilling roller-coaster ride continues as we turn to look at areas including electronic music, minimalism and Hollywood.’
The Guardian is Media Partner of The Rest Is Noise festival providing video articles and online playlists throughout the festival.
Running alongside the concert series are six weekends exploring specific moments in the latter-half of the 20th century with talks, film screenings, performances and participation events. Each of these weekends will feature Bites – 15 minutes sessions on the need-to-know topics of the era with guest speakers discussing themes relevant for a specific moment in history. Breakfast with... sessions each weekend offer in-depth analysis of a seminal musical work led by top UK animateurs Rachel Leach, Fraser Trainer and John Browne. Each weekend will also feature Listen to this sessions with musicological experts discussing the influences and tendencies of the 20th century.