Bob Ostertag

Bob Ostertag (San Francisco, CA) is a composer, performer, instrument builder, journalist, activist, historian, and kayak instructor. His work cannot easily be summarized or pigeon-holed. As a composer, he has released 21 CDs of music, and appeared at music, film, and multi-media festivals around the globe. As a journalist, his writings on contemporary politics have been published in many languages. Electronic instruments of his own design are at the cutting edge of both music and video performance technology.

Born in Albuquerque in 1957, he dropped out of the Oberlin Conservatory after two years, and has eschewed working within the confines of academic music ever since. He settled in New York City in 1978 and immersed himself in the “downtown” music scene of the period. He left music in 1980/81 to work in Central America, and became an expert on the region, with writings published in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the US. In 1988 he moved to San Francisco and resumed his musical activity. His radically diverse collaborators have included the Kronos Quartet, avant garders John Zorn and Fred Frith, heavy metal star Mike Patton, jazz great Anthony Braxton, dyke punk rocker Lynn Breedlove, drag diva Justin Bond, film maker Pierre Hébert, and others.