Nikos Pappas

Nikos Pappas

Assistant Professor of Musicology

Contact Info


PhD, Musicology and Ethnomusicology, University of Kentucky

MM, Music History, Ohio University

BM, Viola Performance, Ohio University



Nikos Pappas, Assistant Professor of Musicology, joined the faculty at the UA School of Music in the fall of 2012. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he has a wide range of musical interests both as a performer and as a scholar.

Pappas specializes in music of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley, Southern Appalachia, and the antebellum South, with experience in a wide variety of areas including sacred music and hymnody, music among genteel culture, eighteenth-and-nineteenth-century American orchestral music, fiddle and banjo traditions, band music, the repertory of quadrille orchestras, and much more. He brings into his research a background in interdisciplinary studies, with a secondary emphasis in visual arts and material folk culture. He has a strong commitment to the exploration of the multicultural world of American music, incorporating the contributions of German, Jewish, Catholic, Native American, African American, and gendered studies into his research. He focuses both on American music’s historical foundation and its present performance components.

Pappas has served as a consultant and scholar for various organizations around the country, including Early Music New York, Lexington Vintage Dance, the Kentucky Humanities Council, the James Monroe Presidential Center, and the Ohio bicentennial. He has written reviews for a variety of journals, contributed two chapters, “Public Music Making, Concert Life, and Composition in Kentucky during the Early Nationalist Period” (2012) and “Tracing the Migration of a Sacred-Secular Tune Family in Evangelical 19th-Century America: ‘The Peacock’” (2013), an article “Rigdon McCoy McIntosh and the Tabor: Unreconstructed Southern Nationalism” (2013), and several entries for the new edition of Amerigrove. He has presented papers for the American Musicological Society, the International Council of Traditional Music, the Society for American Music, and the Society for Ethnomusicology, among others. His research has received awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society, the Bibliographic Society of America, the Music Library Association, and the American Antiquarian Society.

Pappas is also active as an old-time fiddle player, being honored as a Master Kentucky Old-Time Fiddle Master by the Kentucky Arts Council and the NEA in 2009. He performs with two award-winning bands, The Red State Ramblers and the Kentucky Serenaders. The Red State Ramblers served as cultural emissaries for the United States State Department in 2012 to the nations of Kyrgyzstan and Ecuador. Pappas has won fiddle awards at the Ed Haley Fiddle Festival, Appalachian String Band Music Festival, Uncle Dave Macon Days, Seedtime on the Cumberland, and the Morehead Old Time Fiddlers Convention.

At The University of Alabama, he teaches undergraduate courses in music and world cultures (MUS 250) and music history III: Romantic and 20th-century music, as well as special topics seminar courses in American music at the graduate level. He has formed a partnership with the University Libraries of UA and the Alabama Digital Humanities Center to create Southern and Western American Sacred Music and Influential Sources (1700-1870) (SWASMIS), an online index of southern and western American music tunes and sources from the latter part of the Colonial Period to the Reconstruction Era following the American Civil War. He has also resumed the annual February Tuscaloosa Collegiate All Day Sing from the 1991 Denson revision of The Sacred Harp.

Nikos Pappas studied at Ohio University (B.M. in Viola Performance, M.M. in Music History) and the University of Kentucky (Ph.D. in Musicology and Ethnomusicology).