b. Pasadena, CA
Noertker has been active in the Bay Area
jazz and avant-garde scene since the late
Since 2001, he has lead
his own ensemble, Noertker's Moxie, as a
forum for compositions inspired by visual
artists such as Paul Klee, Wassily
Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Salvador Dalí, and
Joan Miró, architect Antoni Gaudí, poet
Rainer Maria Rilke, sculptor David Beck,
and others. Noertker has composed
over 175 pieces of music for this group
and has released ten CDs, including three
volumes of his extended suite
Sketches of Catalonia, three volumes
of his extended Blue Rider Suite,
and three volumes of his druidh series.
He has also composed
music for three films that showcase the
intimately-scaled sculptures of David
Beck, composed the score for a Nikos
Koumoundouros film that screened at the
Festival de Cannes 2010, and most recently
scored the Olympia Stone film “Curious
Worlds: the Art and Imagination of David
• • • • • • • • •
Noertker studied with various people,
including bassist Putter Smith, cornetist Bobby Bradford, and bassist Mandy
Flowers, but has learned mostly on the
bandstand, and by listening and transcribing
what he hears on records.
Noertker played trombone in grammar
school, but when he got braces, it was too
painful to continue. In 1974, while at San
Gabriel High School, a friend gave Noertker
his first electric bass. He began attending
jam sessions and playing in heavy metal
groups. He was strongly influenced by the
melodic/contrapuntal rock bassists John Paul
Jones, Geezer Butler, and Roger Glover. In his
sophomore year, a teacher gave him a Count
Basie record (Count Basie Jam: Montreux '77)
with Ray Brown on bass. Later that year, he
heard Benny Goodman's version of Sing Sing
Sing while he was tripping on acid. These two
events changed his listening habits entirely.
In 1978, Noertker began his studies in
anthropology, sociology, and religious studies
at Occidental College. His particular emphasis
was in cultural syncretism. Some of his fellow
students introduced him to the avant garde
music of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Also at
this time he was introduced to soul music,
reggae music and classical music. Again his
listening habits changed.
In 1983, Noertker learned that the
renowned cornetist Bobby Bradford was teaching
at Pasadena City College. He went there to
study with him. In Bradford's course,
"Afro-American Music History," Noertker
embraced the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Charles Mingus, and especially Duke Ellington. His listening
habits became expansive and diverse.
In 1985, Noertker moved to San
Francisco. In 1987 he studied composition
under the tutelage of Aldo Ryzy-Ryzky while a
member of the experimental art rock band,
Bardo. At this time he switched from fretted
to fretless electric bass.
In 1989, Bardo disbanded, and Noertker,
along with other former Bardo members Annelise Zamula (reeds, flute)
and Dave Mihaly (drums), formed the
After the End of the World Coretet, in which
Noertker was the primary composer. These three
were joined by various fourth and fifth
members (including Tracy McMullen - reeds, Jon
Birdsong - cornet, Graham Connah - piano, Eva
Festa - violin, Hugh Schick - trumpet, Jim
Peterson - saxophones, David Cooper -
marimba/vibraphone, Tom Yoder -
trombone, Mara Fox - trombone, Mike Richards -
guitar) during their heyday from 1989-1996.
In the late 1990s, Noertker traveled to
Europe, to soak up the culture and play music.
Upon his return he finally switched from
electric to upright bass.
In 2001 he formed his own group,
Noertker's Moxie, as a vehicle for his
compositional ideas. He is joined in
Noertker's Moxie by his long-time musical
co-collaborator, saxophonist/flutist Annelise Zamula. Many other fine
bay area musicians have performed with
Noertker's Moxie, including Jim Peterson
(saxes, flute), David Slusser (tenor sax), Yehudit (five string electric
violin), Jenny Maybee (piano), Hugh Schick
(trumpet), Darren Johnston (trumpet), Rob
Ewing (trombone), Greg Stephens (trombone)
Beth Snelling (cello), Niels
Myrner (drums), Rolf Wilkinson (drums),
Dave Mihaly (drums), and Jason Levis (drums).
Inspired by his travels, in 2001
Noertker composed and performed his three part
of Catalonia, an ode to Salvador
Dalí, Joan Miró, and Antoni Gaudí. He also
began work on the Blue Rider Suite (inspired
by the art of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky,
and Franz Marc) and Angels and Acrobats (a jazz
ballet inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino
Also in 2001, Noertker and saxophonist
Rent Romus began producing the Static Illusion/Methodical Madness
music series, which presents two creative
music concerts per month at the Musicians
Union Hall in San Francisco. As of this
writing (2011) the series is going strong.
In 2002-2003, Noertker continued his
experimentation with the jazz suite, and his
interest in music inspired by the works of
artists and authors. He also began trying out
unusual jazz instrumentations (bassoon,
violin, cello, multiple trombones).
In September 2003, Noertker's Moxie released
its first CD, Sketches of
Catalonia, Vol. 1: Suite for Dalí, on
The year 2003 was brought
to a rousing close (and 2004 a rousing
opening), as Noertker received a commission to
compose a soundtrack for Animatique,
six short films by sculptor David Beck. The films (and
soundtrack) received acclaim as part of Beck's
2004 exhibit at the Allan Stone Gallery in New
In 2004, Noertker continued working with
living artists. At a February happening
at San Francisco's ICAN Gallery, Moxie debuted
new open-ended compositions and improvisations
interactions with live painters (Tan Khanh,
Liz Morton, Marinaomi, and Kyle Brunel) and a
videographer (Monika Romero).
In 2005, Noertker
traveled to Catalonia once again. He came back
with another suite of music, Homage to
Catalunya, a series of tonal portraits
of Las Ramblas, Park Güell, Girona, the Ampurdan
plain, and La Manzana de la Discordia. While in
Barcelona, he played music with trumpeter
Guillermo Torres. He also took a trip to Claira,
near Perpignon (in French Catalonia), to play
with John Tchicai and Margarite
Naber-Tchicai and meet their son Yolo. Back in
San Francisco, this led to a performance of
solos, duos, and trios with Margarite and
saxophonist Jim Peterson.
Also in 2004, Noertker's
Moxie released CD-Rs of two of its live
performances: 7 Days in
February, a suite composed during
the week prior to Noertker's 43rd birthday,
and Haiku Songs,
a suite inspired by a haiku exchange between
Noertker and one of his bass students.
Also in 2005, Noertker formed
an electric ensemble, the Jugglers, as a forum
for his groove-oriented tunes.
Early in 2005, Noertker and
drummer Dave Mihaly challenged each other to
compose a string quartet to be performed in
July. Noertker wrote six exercises for string
quartet which he calls Peculiar Little Creatures,
while Mihaly wrote a full piece entitled Influences of the
Invisible. These were performed by the
Strawberry Moon String Quartet — Sarah Jo
Zaharako (violin), Linda Robertson (violin), Yehudit
(viola), and Beth Snellings (cello).
In April 2007, Noertker's
Moxie released its second CD, Sketches of
Catalonia, Vol. 2: Suite for Miró, on
In June Moxie performed the
music of Annelise Zamula, a departure from it's
usual all-Noertker fare.
In July, the After the End of
the World Coretet celebrated its 18th
anniversary with a performance that included
special guest trumpeter Ara Anderson.
In July Noertker composed,
and in August 2007 Moxie performed, the Blue Rider Suite,
Vol. 2: for Wassily Kandinsky. Members
of the California Outside Music Associates
(C.O.M.A.), saxophonist John Vaughn and
drummer Dax Compise, travelled from Stockton to
join Zamula and Noertker for the performance of
Also in August Noertker
teamed up with Austrian singer Annette Giesriegl, saxophonist David
Boyce, drummer Dave Mihaly, and dancer Laurie
Buenafe Krsmanovic for an
September 2007 saw the première of
Noertker's newest string quartet, the long
Noertker's performance season
closed with a show celebrating music for film,
including compositions by stalwarts Rota,
Morricone, and Bacharach, as well as original
compositions by Noertker and baritone
saxophonist David Beck, who joined Moxie for the
Noertker's 2008 performance
season began with a new Birthday Suite,
composed in February and performed in March.
In July 2008, for the
Edgetone New Music Summit, Noertker renewed his
collaboration with sculptor David Beck, composing a
suite of music, La Naturecanique, for live
accompaniment of a screening of film loops of
Mr. Beck's intimately-scaled moving
sculptures. In September 2008, Noertker
composed and recorded an octet for a short film
of David Beck's epic work , L'Opera.
In November 2008 Moxie was
joined once again by fellow Edgetone Records'
artists John Vaughn and Dax Compise for the
performance of a new work, Blue Rider Suite,
vol. 3: for Franz Marc.
Moxie's 2009 performance
season began with yet another birthday suite, 7 Songs in 7 Days,
which was composed from February 15-21.
In April 2009, Noertker
composed music for the Nico Koumoundouros
Commandments or the Nostril of Ektor
Kaknavatos. This film has been
selected for the Festival de Cannes 2010 - Short Film
Also in April,
Noertker's Moxie released its third CD on Edgetone
Records, Sketches of Catalonia, Vol. 2: Suite
In June 2009, Moxie was
invited to do a live radio performance
Locals Only show with guest host DJ Schmeejay at
KUSF 90.3fm. Noertker and Zamula were joined by
oboist Amber Lamprecht for improvisations
inspired by six paintings by Catalan artist
In August 2009, Moxie
continued with the Antoni Tàpies cycle. Noertker
composed Sketches of Catalonia, Vol. 4: Suite
for Tàpies, seven new tunes for flute, oboe, and
two contrabasses. Bassist Lisa Mezzacappa joined
Noertker, Zamula, and Lamprecht for the
In September 2009, Noertker
collaborated with dancer Laurie Buenafe
Krsmanovic to create and perform window/frame
for Richard Waara (inspired by the film Peter
Ibbetson), a short Butoh piece that they
performed at Bare Bones Butoh 15.
October 2009 saw the première
of Noertker's Ariadne (a quartet in six
movements) with Annelise Zamula - flute, Amber
Lamprecht - oboe, Ilana Matfis - viola, and
Shain Carrasco - cello.
Also in October 2009,
Noertker's Moxie released druidh lacunae, its sixth CD (and
the fourth on the Edgetone records label).
In 2010 Noertker took a
little break from composing music as Moxie did
live recordings of the Blue Rider Suite for an
autumn CD release.
In June 2010 Noertker formed,
and performed with, a new group, Tenor Gladness,
with four tenor saxophonists: Tracy McMullen,
Annelise Zamula, David Boyce, and Ralph Carney,
and drummer Dave Mihaly.
In July, Noertker's Moxie
debuted a new suite, While You Were Out,
inspired by someone else's travels.
In August 2010 Austrian
vocalist Annette Giesriegl was in town for some
improvised music with Noertker, Boyce, Mihaly,
and pianist Dena DeRose.
In September 2010, Noertker
and David Beck debuted their new group, the
Melanchoholics, and Noertker's Moxie performed
some more improvisations and compositions from
the Antoni Tàpies cycle.
In October 2010, Noertker's
Moxie released its seventh CD, Some
Circles (Blue Rider Suite, vol. 1), compositions and
improvisations inspired by the Wassily
Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and Paul Klee.
In 2011 Noertker continued
with performances and recordings of the Blue
Rider Suite for a projected release date of
From January through March
2011, drummer Jason Levis returned briefly from
Berlin and participated in three recording
sessions with Noertker, Annelise Zamula,
Amber Lamprecht, and Jenny Maybee.
In April 2011, Tenor Gladness
(Boyce, Carney, McMullen, Zamula, Noertker,
Mihaly) returned for its second year.
In May 2011 Noertker and
Zamula were joined by pianist Motoko Honda for
Strength for Japan, a benefit for Japan NGO
Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund.
In July 2011 the After the
End of the World Quartet celebrated its 22nd
anniversary with the original personnel of
McMullen, Zamula, Noertker, and Mihaly.
In August 2011 Austrian vocal
gymnast Annette Giesriegl returned to the Bay
Area for the third time and performed with the
improvising quintet of Noertker, DeRose, Boyce,
October 2011 saw the debut of
a new group, Obstreperous Doves. Noertker is
joined in this project by saxophonist David
Boyce, guitarist Karl Alfonso Evangelista, and
drummer Jordan Glenn.
The 2011 season closed with a
couple of performances by the most recent
iteration of Moxie, a quintet consisting of
Annelise Zamula on tenor sax and flute, Amber
Lamprecht on oboe and flute, John Vaughn on
baritone sax and flute, Dax Compise on drums,
and of course, Noertker.
The quintet iteration of
Moxie opened the 2012 season with a series of
performances in March and April. These
performances were recorded by Karen Stackpole.
In June, Noertker and Andy Scott began mastering
selections from these dates and dates from 2011.
In October, Edgetone Records released the new
CD, Little Bluedevil (Blue
Rider Suite, vol. 2).
In June 2012, the
Obstreperous Doves (Karl Evangelista - guitar,
Jordan Glenn - drums, Bill Noertker) re-united.
In July 2012, saxophonist
Kasey Knudsen joined Noertker, Zamula, and
Compise for a quartet performance.
In August 2012, Noertker and
vocalist Annette Giesriegl teamed up for their
fourth Bay Area performance. They were joined by
Dena DeRose on pianio and Alex Walsh on
In September 2012, the
Melanchoholics (David Beck - baritone sax,
Noertker) returned for a rare performance of
their original jazz compositions.
October 2012 saw the debut of a
new duet, Talking Frog (Karen Stackpole - gongs,
The 2012 season closed with a
CD release party in November. Rather than
perform tunes from the new CD, instead Moxie
performed unreleased tunes from the 3rd volume
of the Blue Rider series.
2013 started off with Noertker
composing a string quintet piece, Blue
Dragon, for the Musical Art Quintet.
Zamula and Noertker were
joined by eleven different musicians in seven
different iterations of Moxie.
Talking Frog, Noertker's duo
with gong master Karen Stackpole, performed.
Noertker debuted a new duo,
Impromptu Latticework, with pianist Eli Wallace.
The year's end saw Noertker
beginning work on the score for an upcoming
documentary about his friend, sculptor David
In 2014, Moxie continued its
tradition of a different iteration for each
performance, with returning members Amber Lamprecht, Brett Carson, Eli Wallace, Dax Compise, Jordan
Glenn, and Joshua Marshall, and new
members Theo Padouvas and Jon
Arkin, joining Noertker and Zamula
for seven performances at the SIMM
working with Mark Oi who was John Tchicai's
guitarist for many years.
The Obstreperous Doves
performed at the 13th annual Outsound New Music
Summit with members Nava Dunkelman, Christina
Stanley, and Dave Mihaly joining Noertker and
Karl Evangelista for an set of improvised music.
The Stackpole/Noertker duet
known as Talking Frog continued their
yearly October performance tradition.
In the late summer, Noertker
the upcoming Olympia Stone film “Curious
Worlds: the Art and Imagination of David
Beck.” In November a
preview screening was held at the Smithsonian
Museum of American Art.
In 2015, Noertker and Zamula
performed as Moxie with a revolving cast of
featured Bay Area luminaries.
The Noertker/Oi duo performed
live in the Pit at KFJC 98.7 FM, and at the SIMM
for their yearly performance.
Olympia Stone's film Curious
Worlds screened at various festivals across the country
and internationally, including the
prestigious Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
in Durham, NC.
In November, Noertker's Moxie
Windows (Blue Rider Suite, vol. 3).
In early 2016 Edgetone
Records released Curious
Worlds, the soundtrack from Olympia
Stone's film, with music by Noertker's Moxie and
Throughout 2016, Moxie
performed as a core trio of Zamula, Levis, and
Noertker with cornetist Theo Padouvas, oboist
Amber Lamprecht, and pianists Brett Carson and
Eli Wallace as rotating fourth and
The Noertker/Oi duo and the
Melanchoholics performed at the SIMM Series and
are each preparing for CD releases in 2017.
In November 2016, Noertker's
Moxie capped its performance season with the
release of a new CD, druidh
In addition to performances
with esteemed Moxie alumni Brett Carson, Joshua
Marshall, Eli Wallace, Jim Peterson, and Jason
Levis, in 2017 Moxie performed with illustrious
newcomers Masaru Koga (tenor sax, flute), Beth
Schenck (alto sax), and Max Shrieve-Don (bass
2017 also saw/heard a new
edition of Noertker's improvising ensemble
Obstreperous Doves, this time featuring paired
groupings of woodwinds (Annelise Zamula, Josh
Marshall), percussion (Bethany Schwarz, Daniel
Pearce), and bass (Scott Walton, Bill Noertker).
Noertker was honored to continue
his participation in two groups not his own:
John-Carlos Perea's Intertribal Ensemble and the
Erik Ian Walker's Climate
The year's end was celebrated with
the release of a new CD, druidh
CD release of
Oi/Noertker duo (nOOi)
Outsound New Music
Summit performance by
Brass 'n' Bass
(Bradford/Padouvas 'n' Walton/Noertker)