Eugene Novotney



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 is also an internationally recognized steelpan artists and scholar and has been involved in the steelpan movement in the United States since 1982. In 1985, he founded the first steelband in the California State University System, the Humboldt Calypso Band, which he still leads and directs. He has performed in Trinidad’s National Panorama Competition five times (1993, 1994, 2003, 2010, 2020), and he serves regularly as an adjudicator for many organizations, including Pan Trinbago, Pan European, the Virginia Arts Festival, and the Percussive Arts Society. 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, the adjudication panel for the 2005 Trinidad National Schools Music Festival held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and an adjudicator for the 2010, 2011, and 2019 Virginia Arts festival PANoramas held in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is Professor of Music and the Director of Percussion Studies at Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, California, and is the founder 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, an award that recognizes 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 honored as the recipient of Cal Poly Humboldt'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 outstanding record of teaching excellence. In 2017, Dr. Novotney was selected as the recipient of the Sunshine Award for Education and the Performing Arts in a ceremony held at the AXA Equitable Theatre in NYC for his lifelong dedication to the promotion of Caribbean culture worldwide. Eugene Novotney currently serves as a member of the Percussive Arts Society World Percussion Committee, and is the Senior Editor of The Steel Times, the professional journal of the National Society of Steel Band Educators (NSSBE). 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 artists endorsements include Black Swamp Percussion and REMO Incorporated. 


Eugene Novotney and TIMBATA performing La Bruja by José Luis Cortés
Eugene Novotney’s composition, “A Minute of News” performed by Douglas Gutjahr




Percussion, Calypso Band, Percussion Ensembles, Music in World Culture

Eugene Novotney
(707) 826-3728
Music A 103