Born in Bombay, on the west coast of India, Noel Borthwick began playing the guitar around the age of ten. He grew up listening to the music of many 70's progressive rock and jazz fusion groups. His interest in pioneering fusion groups such as Mahavishnu and Return To Forever, led him to spend a year with acclaimed Indian sarod player Shekhar Borkar, exploring the eastern principles of improvisation, rhythmic and melodic form in Indian classical music. In his late teens, he was drawn to the styles of jazz guitarists such as Pat Martino and Joe Pass as well as the music of John Coltrane, and immersed himself in the study of bebop, modal and mainstream jazz styles. Growing up in an environment with limited access to jazz education resources, he was primarily self taught, learning the music by transcribing and assimilating recordings of the greats, and additionally studying books on jazz harmony and improvisation. During this time his influences as an instrumentalist drew more from the saxophone, trumpet and piano repertoire than the guitar, an aspect that allowed him to develop a more personal style and fluid phrasing, one of the characteristics of his playing today.
Noel performed with prominent local jazz and fusion artists in his late teens, and was also featured with his trio. He became a well known name on the Indian jazz scene in the 80's, later teaching guitar privately and conducting jazz workshops. His debut release 'Sound Matters' in 1991, was one of the first modern jazz albums released in India and was well received.
Noel's strong interest in jazz has always been juxtaposed to his parallel interest and career in computers and software engineering. He graduated in 1983 from the University of Bombay with a Bachelors degree in Physics and Mathematics, followed by post graduate studies in Computer Science. He started work as a software engineer in the IT space writing financial applications, but soon moved to the more creative computer graphics field, working with pioneering graphics and animation software company, Computer Graphiti in India. He then partnered his own graphics company Delta-T for a brief period, before leaving India for Canada to take on a job with graphics giant Corel Corp in 1994. At Corel, he worked as a lead engineer on the graphics team for CorelDraw for several years. During this time, his interest with software sequencing applications led him to make contact with Cakewalk (then Twelve Tone Systems). His relationship with the company, initially as a beta tester, led to a job with Cakewalk, working on music and digital audio applications. Currently a resident of Boston, Noel is now CTO of Cakewalk, Inc, producer of world renowned digital recording and sequencing software, where he has been a key developer for SONAR since the inception of the product in 2000. He is also a well known developer in the Windows multimedia community, for whom he has contributed articles on the benefits of various operating systems for music production.
Noel is a producer and member of the Ramona Borthwick Quintet, and is featured on her CD 'A New Leaf', as well as the new 'One Of Us' which he produced and mixed.