Skip to main content

Butler, Eugene, 1935 - 2024



  • Existence: January 13, 1935 - March 18, 2024


Born January 13, 1935, Eugene Butler established a solid and respected position in the music world as a composer, conductor, educator, and church musician.

Butler received degrees of Bachelor of Music Education from Oklahoma University, Master of Sacred Music from Union Theological Seminary in New York, and Doctor of Musical Arts (Composition) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

As a composer, he received various honors, such as Kansas "Composer of the Year" and the coveted ASCAP Standard Music Panel Award, every year since 1972. In 1983, he was selected outstanding alumnus by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 1986, Butler was honored with the prestigious Burlington-Northern Railroad recognition for Excellence in Teaching and also received the Distinguished Service Award from Johnson County Community College. In 1989, he received a National Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas-Austin. In 1991-92, Butler designed a study course and guide for Mozart's Don Giovanni under auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He had over 750 published compositions with 47 publishing houses, as well as numerous unpublished manuscripts. He was frequently busy on commissioned new works and in any given week of the year, the music of Eugene Butler would be heard in thousands of performances throughout the English speaking world.

Dr. Butler served as Director of Choral Activities and Music Theory at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of the greater Kansas City area. He was simultaneously Director of Music and the Arts at Valley View United Methodist Church in Overland Park, where he served for 28 years. He conducted the Johnson County Chorus, a fine civic choral group that sings throughout the Kansas City area. From 1960-1970 he served as Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas. He served as adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

On June 1, 1998, Eugene Butler resigned all teaching and conducting positions to compose full time. In honor of his years of service to the music community, a scholarship fund was established at the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City, to be awarded yearly to an outstanding student in choral conducting. He continued to accept choral commissions for school and professional chorus and for special church celebrations, such as dedication of new sanctuaries or church anniversaries.

Eugene Butler was a busy adjudicator and workshop leader of composition seminars, choral and church music clinics, and new music repertory sessions. He conducted and taught in 39 states, three Canadian provinces, and in England.

Eugene Butler passed away March 18, 2024. He was 89.

Source: "Eugene Butler." Alliance Music Publications, Inc., 2004. Web. July 2011 (Updated upon his death).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Eugene Butler Collection

Identifier: MS-0195
Scope and Contents The Eugene Butler Collection was gifted to LaBudde Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives, UMKC Miller Nichols Library, by Eugene Butler in May 2011. The collection contains hundreds of Butler’s published compositions, manuscripts, and audio recordings, as well as unpublished works and student works. Butler’s compositional output centers mainly around vocal and choral music, both sacred and secular, and is performed often in churches, schools, and concert settings all around the...
Dates: 1955 - 2018