Stephen Tafra began his formal musical studies as a classical guitarist at the University of New England with Vic Bofinger, then went on to the Queensland Conservatorium of Music for post graduate studies with Julian Byzantine. A finalist on two occasions in the Australian Classical Guitar Competition. “Stephen Tafra is a strong player with a big sound.” (Courier Mail). “He is a player of tremendous flair and talent, offering extremely musical performances coupled with virtuosic flair and accuracy” (Julian Byzantine).
His career has been a varied one, encompassing a myriad of genres from classical, his first love, to celtic, rock, free improvisation and jazz.. The New England Guitar Duo (with Mark Bromley) toured extensively throughout Australia, playing at the Opera House, Montsalvat and the Darwin International Guitar Festival, as well as giving recitals and classes at many Universities and Colleges. Their repertoire consisted almost entirely of original arrangements of the Beatles, Bach, Shostakovich, Rodriguez, Albéniz, Brubeck, Gershwin, Debussy etc.
New music has featured strongly in his output. In 2003 he performed in a production of Richard Harvey and Ralph Steadman’s ‘Plague and the Moonflower’ which received high acclaim at the Woodford Folk Festival. In 2008 he was part of the world premiere of God’s Drawing Board, music by Elena Kats-Chernin, libretto and illustrations by Ralph Steadman. He has recorded with the ABC, both as solo guitarist and ensemble player. He has also worked in folk, jazz, rock, world music, music theatre and radio drama as both player and conductor.
Guitar duo EphenStephen (with Stephen Thorneycroft) have been playing together for over 30 years now and have released two CDs and done countless performances, primarily as a classical guitar duo, but in many other collaborations aslo. GuitArmidale which comprises all original works written for the duo by Australian composers from Armidale and the Goldberg Variations, the duo’s own arrangement of this masterpiece. EphenStephen have toured throughout Australia and New Zealand.
He plays guitar, banjo and accordion in the celtic trio Trì, whose CD is due for release later in 2021. Featuring fiddle, uilleann pipes/whistle/flute, banjo, accordion and guitars, Trì perform music inspired by traditional and contemporary celtic styles.