The rest is noise

New World Order

New World Order

No more rules

As the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 and Presidents Bush and Gorbachev announced the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama announced the ‘End of History’. At that time it seemed that Western liberal capitalism had emerged from the bloody battle victorious. Communications technology and rapid globalisation made the second fin-de-siècle a hive of bustling activity – a truly worldwide musical scene that, like the capitalist marketplace, knew no boundaries, saw no divisions and obeyed no rules.

Composers cheerfully plundered materials from past or present; near or far; classical, world, jazz or pop. New audiences emerged in every continent, and the next great composer was as likely to be found in Beijing as in Berlin, in Venezuela as in Vienna.

‘We live in a time not of mainstream but of many streams,’ John Cage mused as he surveyed the musical scene shortly before his death in 1992; ‘or even, if you insist upon a river of time, then we have come to the delta, maybe even beyond a delta to an ocean which is going back to the skies…’

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(From 10am - 6pm. Note, passes do NOT include entry to concerts)

'We live in a time not of mainstreams but of many streams', said composer John Cage. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, old certainties were cast aside and globalisation made a truly worldwide musical scene. During this December weekend we ask: what next?

Buy a day pass or weekend pass to get involved in our jam packed programme of events.

See the full timetable for the weekend

Events include:


Writer Alex Ross' keynote concludes his inspirational narrative on the music of a century by looking at the effects of rapid advances in communications technology. He also looks forward to the future.

Plus, on Sunday Alex Ross is joined byColin Greenwood , bass player of Radiohead to discuss the future of new music, and what the terms ‘classical’ and ‘contemporary’ will come to mean as the 21st century unfolds.

Scientist and broadcaster Susan Greenfield discusses technology and the brain.

Technology writer Evgeny Morozov asks whether the internet is helping to bring down or bolster up authoritarian regimes.

The Young British Artists turned the art world on its head with their bold promotion, self-belief and 'shock-art'.

Composer George Benjamin and conductor Vladimir Jurowski are in conversation with journalist Tom Service about what the future of classical music holds.


15 minutes on each of the need-to-know topics of the era including:

Black Wednesday: in September 1992 a single day cost the UK economy £3.3 billion.

Tony Blair called the Millennium Dome 'a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity,' setting the scene for disappointment and disillusion.

We look at the effect of relaxed immigration policies in the European Union.


Grab a coffee and delve inside the music of The Rest Is Noise festival. Composer and presenter John Browne leads a fun and informal workshop on Adams's El Niño on Sunday.


Don't know where to start? Let our music experts bring the music of New World Order to life in these beginner's guides.


Singers from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama perform music by British composers including Judith Weir, Oliver Knussen and Anthony Payne.

Best Of British - Four brilliant ensemble pieces from major British composers, all of whom have strong connections to the Royal College of Music.

Including Wolfgang Becker's 2003 film Goodbye, Lenin!


New World Order Saturday Day Pass - Saturday 7 December 2013. Book now

New World Order Sunday Day Pass - Sunday 8 December 2013. Book now

New World Order Weekend Pass - Saturday 7 - Sunday 8 December 2013. Book now

28 November - 14 December 2013

Separate tickets are required for each event

Adams: El Niño 14 December 2013 ‘El Niño’ tells a refracted version of the Nativity story transplanted to Hispanic America, presenting a feast of allusions in musical, theatrical and visual form. Conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. Book Now


No More Rules 28 November 2013  A concert showcasing the vibrant music of Ligeti and Takemitsu, two composers that reflected the changes that occurred in society during the second half of the 20th century. Book Now

The Genius of Film Music 1980-2000 29 November 2013 From Williams’ own supercharged soundscape for ‘Star Wars’ to the high-jinks, chases and jokes of John Powell’s music for Wallace and Gromit’s caper ‘Chicken Run’, this concert unleashes the power of the film score in all its orchestral brilliance. Book Now

György & Márta Kurtág, Hiromi Kikuchi 1 December 2013 A rare opportunity to see legendary Hungarian composer György Kurtág in action alongside his pianist wife, Márta. Book Now

in vain 6 December 2013 Regarded as a major masterpiece from the end of the 20th century, this is the first opportunity to hear in vain by Haas in London. Book Now

Martin Butler and Julian Anderson 7 December 2013 The LPO Foyle Future Firsts, under conductor Paul Hoskins, perform British music from the 1990s. Book Now

Classic Britannia 7 December 2013  A concert which showcases how British composers revitalised music for orchestra in the 1990s, featuring Evelyn Glennie playing MacMillan. Book Now

London Sinfonietta: The New Music Show 2013 8 December 2013 A festival-in-a-day featuring world, UK and London premieres from composers including Francisco Coll and Edmund Finnis. Book Now


For more information and to buy tickets for New World Order, visit the Southbank Centre ticketing website