Alexander Gagatsis


  • Lecturer in Jazz Studies, Music
  • SUO6 Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama , University of Manchester

    M13 9PL Manchester

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


I was born in Chambéry, France and was raised between Thessaloniki (Greece) and Nicosia (Cyprus), growing up in a multicultural environment. I benefited from early musical studies on the piano and subsequently studied drums with Brian Abrahams and mallet percussion with Daniela Ganeva. I hold masters degrees from the Trinity College of Music, King’s College London and an Artist Diploma from the State University of New York where I was fortunate to study with Hal Galper, Jon Faddis and John Abercrombie. I have been generously supported by the Nicolas Economou Foundation, State University of New York and Trinity College of Music. Aside from maintaining a busy performing and teaching schedule, I have carried out community work in London, first with the Grand Union Orchestra (2007-2009) and later for ReachOut, a mentoring charity. 

A musician at heart, I completed my PhD at the University of Nottingham where I was awarded the Vice-chancellor's Award for Research Excellence and the Leventis Foundation doctoral scholarship. My PhD focused on the life and work of vibraphonist Milt Jackson. In 2019 I was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to research spatial navigation in improvising musicians, as well as a Berger-Berger-Carter research fellowship for my work on the Modern Jazz Quartet. After working as a teaching affiliate at the University of Nottingham, in 2018 I was appointed as a lecturer in music at the University of Manchester (teaching and scholarship) where I taught jazz historiography, improvisation, theory and analysis, and on topics in Balkan and popular music(s), as well as served as the Director of Performance. In 2020 I was appointed as a lecturer in Jazz Studies at the Department of Music (Teaching and Research). 

My research interests are consistently informed by my practice and experience as an improvising percussionist, whether in jazz, Balkan and contemporary music or their fusion. 

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Fellow - Advance HE (2022)

Associate Fellow - Higher Education Academy (2016)


I am responsible for overseeing the delivery of our performance provision at undergraduate level, as well as jazz courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I supervise a ranged of undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral dissertations on topics incuding Jazz and Popular Music, topics in Music and Psychology, Performance and Improvisation. 

Summary of Units taught:

2018-present, Jazz Historiography and Criticism (MUSC30510)

2019-present, Jazz Improvisation, Theory and Analysis (MUSC21501)

2018-present, Solo Performance 1 (MUSC10600)

2018-present, Solo Performance 2 (MUSC20600)

2018-present, Recital (MUSC30600)

2019-present, Jazz Ensemble (MUSC20610)

2018-present, Dissertation (MUSC30400)

 2018-2019, Case Studies in Musicology: Texts and Histories (MUSC60082), Postgraduate 6-lecture block: ‘The Jazz Studies are Dead, Long Live the Jazz Studies’

2019-2020, Dissertation or Critical Edition (MUSC 40110)

2018-2019, Approaches to Musicology: Jazz and the Recorded Medium (MUSC10511)

2018-2019, Music and Its Contexts: Balkan Music(s) and the Politics of Imagination (MUSC10512)

My group


Glafkos Kontemeniotis (2019). Dingane. CD Baby

Monsieur Doumani (2018). Agathin. Proper

T. Zafiriadis, et al. (2017). Gra-Grou. Ikaros Publications

Cafe Balkan (2016). Cafe Balkan Vol. I. Bandcamp

Stelafi (2011). O Siderokoftis. Louvana records

Grand Union Orchestra (2009). On Liberation Street .(DVD)

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Nottingham

Award Date: 1 Jul 2018

Master of Music, King's College London

Award Date: 1 Sep 2013

Postgraduate Diploma, Artist Diploma in Jazz Performance , State University of New York, Purchase College of Music

Award Date: 1 Jun 2012

Master of Music, Trinity College of Music

Award Date: 1 Sep 2009

Bachelor of Music, Anglia Ruskin University

Award Date: 1 Jul 2007

Areas of expertise

  • M Music
  • MT Musical instruction and study

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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