Professor of Music (Percussion); Chair, Department of Percussion
indiana [dot] edu
Music Addition, MA378
- M.M., Indiana University, 1989
- B.M., Indiana University, 1985
John Tafoya served as principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra from 1999-2007. He has held previous principal timpani positions with the American Wind Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Owensboro Symphony (KY), the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra (IN) and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Tafoya earned BM and MM degrees in percussion performance from Indiana University. While at IU, Tafoya was the recipient of the prestigious performer's certificate. Mr. Tafoya's percussion teachers at Indiana University were George Gaber and Gerald Carlyss.
An active educator and sought after clinician, Mr. Tafoya has presented numerous master classes and clinics at universities across the United States. He has also been a featured clinician at the Virginia/D.C. Percussive Arts Society's Day of Percussion and at PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention) 2002, 2007, and 2011. His informative and educational web site, www.johntafoya.com, is accessed by thousands of percussion students and professional players each month. Mr. Tafoya has served on the music department faculties at the University of Evansville, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Florida International University, and the University of Maryland. He is the author of two orchestral timpani repertoire books: "The Working Timpanist's Survival Guide" (2004 - published by Carl Fischer) and "Beyond The Audition Screen" (2011) - distributed by Hal Leonard.
Tafoya has performed in orchestral recordings by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra (including the award-winning recording of Mahler Symphony No. 1 under the direction of James Judd), and the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. He can also be heard on the American Wind Symphony Orchestra compact disc: Concertos All And Sundry, performing Kaoru Wada's Concertante for Timpani, Percussion and Winds under the direction of Robert Austin Boudreau. Tafoya also participated in the 1987 Summit Brass compact disc release: All American Brass on the Pro Arte label and on the 1992 Arkay compact disc release of William Albright's Music for Organ and Harpsichord featuring organist Douglas Reed.
Tafoya has worked under many prestigious conductors including: Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, James Conlon, Jiri Belohlavek, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Valery Gergiev, Christopher Hogwood, Lorin Maazel, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Osmo Vanska, John Williams, Hugh Wolff, and David Zinman.
Mr. Tafoya proudly endorses American Drum Manufacturing company, Avedis Zildjian company, Grover Pro Percussion, Remo Inc., and the Yamaha corporation.