As a percussionist and composer, Eugene Novotney has performed and presented lectures and master classes in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He is recognized internationally as a composer of contemporary percussion music, and his compositions are widely performed as standards of the literature.
His snare drum composition, A Minute of News (The Noble Snare), has been used as the test piece for numerous snare drum competitions, including the International Munich Competition (1997; Munich, Germany), Concours International de Caisse Claire - Conservatoire National de Region de Paris (2004 & 2007; Paris, France), the VIII Jornadas Internacionales de Percussion de Ribarroja del Turia (2006; Valencia, Spain), the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Modern Snare Drum Competition (2012; 2008; Atlanta, Georgia), the Concorso Internazionale per Strumenti a Percussione e Batteria (2009, 2010, 2014; Fermo, Italy), the International Percussion Competition (2016; Villa Lomellini, Montebello della Battaglia, Italy), and others.
Born in 1960 in Cleveland, Ohio, Eugene Novotney received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music Degree & Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Illinois, with emphasis in Percussion, Composition, and Ethnomusicology. In addition to his formal western music studies, he has studied Dagara xylophone music at the “Dagara Music Center” in Medie, Ghana, Ewe drumming at the National Theatre of Ghana, Accra, Ghana, Brazilian percussion at the “Instituto de Investigacio Musico” in Salvador, Brazil, and Afro-Cuban Percussion at the “Centro Nacional de Escuelas de Arte” (CNEART) in Havana, Cuba. He has also conducted research trips to Xian, Shanghai & Beijing, China; Ubud & Blabatuh, Bali; New Delhi, India; Kokrobite, Ghana; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, resulting in numerous transcriptions, arrangements, and analytical studies.
He has performed in Trinidad’s National Panorama Competition four times (1993, 1994, 2003, 2010), and he has served six times as an adjudicator for Pan Trinbago, the national governing body for the advancement of steelband music in Trinidad & Tobago. He was a member of the adjudication panel of Trinidad’s World Steelband Festivals in 1998, 2000, and 2008 held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and also was an adjudicator for Trinidad’s World Steelband Festival 2005 held in Madison Square Garden, New York, NY. In addition, he was a member of the adjudication panel of the 2000 European Steelband Festival held in Paris, France, and the adjudication panel for the 2005 Trinidad National Schools Music Festival held in Port-of-Spain.
He is Professor of Music and the Director of Percussion Studies at California State University-Humboldt in Arcata, California, and is the founder and coordinator of the ‘Percussion in World Music’ program for the California State University Summer Arts Program. In 2006, Dr. Novotney was awarded the Wang Family Excellence Award by the California State University Board of Trustees, a prestigious award that recognizes and celebrates California State faculty who, through extraordinary commitment and dedication, have distinguished themselves through exemplary contributions and achievements in their academic disciplines.
In 2014, Dr. Novotney was selected as the recipient of Humboldt State University’s distinguished Outstanding Professor Award, an award reserved for faculty who have made superlative contributions to the university and the community in terms of their service, their professional and creative activities, and their outstand record of teaching excellence. Eugene Novotney currently serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Percussive Arts Society. His recordings have been released on the Bembe, Delos, SANCH, Pogo, Rituals and Earthbeat (Rhino) labels, and his compositions and arrangements are available through Smith Publications of Sharon, Vermont and Mau Mau Music of Cleveland, Ohio. His professional artist endorsements include Black Swamp Percussion, REMO, and the Cooperman Fife and Drum Company.