The rest is noise

Join us to explore how war, race, sex and politics shaped the most important music of the 20th century.Learn More


The Soundtrack to the 20th Century. There has never been a festival like this.

In 2007 Alex Ross wrote the seminal book The Rest Is Noise – listening to the Twentieth Century. Throughout 2013 we bring the book alive, with nearly 100 concerts, performances, films, talks and debates. We take you on a chronological journey through the most important music of the 20th century and dramatise the century’s massive political and social upheavals. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, with over 30 concerts, is the backbone of this festival, which reveals the stories behind the rich, exhilarating and sometimes controversial compositions that have changed the way we listen forever.

'The Rest Is Noise views 20th-century music through the prism of history with its revolutions and counter-revolutions, its major moral and philosophical upheavals around race, gender, faith, political credo and pacifism – and its new relationship to technology and artistic democracy.’

Jude Kelly OBE
Artistic Director, Southbank Centre