Dr Alexander Gagatsis

Lecturer in Jazz Studies

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Biography

I was born in Chambéry, France and 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

Associate Fellow - Higher Education Academy (2016)

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2018 - Doctor of Philosophy University of Nottingham
  • 2013 - Master of Music King's College London
  • 2012 - Postgraduate Diploma, Artist Diploma in Jazz Performance , State University of New York, Purchase College of Music
  • 2009 - Master of Music Trinity College of Music
  • 2007 - Bachelor of Music Anglia Ruskin University

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