Born and raised in Bombay, a mega-metropolis on the west coast of India, Ramona Borthwick was exposed to music at an early age. Encouraged by her father, a well known musician and film composer, she began piano studies at age five, soon followed by studies in Western classical music. She was ranked first in Asia at the Licentiate level examinations in piano performance at the Trinity College Of Music and the Royal Schools Of Music, London. Soon after she became a sought after music teacher by students and educational institutions, was actively involved in training choral ensembles while also performing session work on the side for the film and television.
In the 1980’s she began performing with local jazz ensembles, later collaborating with husband Noel Borthwick on their 1991 debut album ‘Sound Matters’, one of the first modern jazz recordings from India.
A move to Canada in the early 90’s and later Boston, allowed her to widen her artistic depth and growth as a musician, composer and teacher. ‘A New Leaf’ her debut CD released in 2006, featured a palette of several of her compositions that were written over this transitional period in her life and received glowing reviews from critics and the international press. JazzImprov Magazine says of ‘A New Leaf’: “a musical journey of such extreme depth”, while JazzReview commented “Borthwick displays an amazing talent for composition… her fellow musicians bring the music to a level that is rarely shown on a debut release.” Billboard Magazine wrote: “Ramona Borthwick has made a major statement with this superb initial release.”
Her latest project and second CD release as a leader, showcases her evolution as an artist and composer. ‘One Of Us’ comprising ten original compositions written specifically for this project, features Borthwick’s distinctive writing, playing and vocal styling, as well as great performances from trumpet/flugelhorn player Ingrid Jensen, guitarist Noel Borthwick, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Adam Cruz. Even more so than the her previous release, Borthwick’s compositions are a highlight, yielding deeply harmonic music that stimulates vibrant and spirited playing from the quintet. The album is featured in May’s issue of DownBeat Magazine’s ‘HotBox’‘, where critics John McDonough write “Borthwick, who authored all the pieces in this self- produced and self-released CD, walks both sides of the street, playing excellent, if not quite distinctive, straightahead piano throughout, while adding her shimmering, wordless soprano lines to selected ensembles along the way… For a work intended to be personal and perhaps introspective, the music is unusually alive, frisky and free from brooding pensiveness” while Paul deBarros muses‚ “I like the warm spiritual vibe, especially Borthwick’s wordless vocals, a la Flora Purim.” All About Jazz says “Borthwick has a lyrical, uncluttered approach to the piano and her undoubted virtuosity never overshadows the melodicism inherent in her compositions… ‘One Of Us’ is a delightful reminder from Ramona Borthwick and her quintet that jazz this good never goes out of style.”
A gifted composer, Borthwick’s music conveys a narrative quality, spiritual depth, infectious energy and intuitive flow drawing influences from contemporary bost-bop, ECM jazz, classical music and her legacy from India.
Borthwick currently resides in Boston, MA, where she continues to write and perform. She is also actively involved with music education, conducting workshops and private music lessons at the Leitmotif Piano Studio in Watertown-Belmont, MA. She has also been offering online piano lessons via Skype for several years. Several of her students are alumni or currently occupy the piano chair in jazz bands and combos in Boston area schools such as Belmont, Arlington and Newton High. A graduate in Economics, she holds degrees in piano performance from the Trinity College and Royals Schools of Music, London, UK. A talented graphic artist and web designer, her company Leitmotif specializes in graphic design & web development, and was especially known for its work helping musicians and artists establish their web identity since the late 90’s and early years of the web.