John Tafoya is Professor of Percussion at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (IU JSoM). He served as chair of the IU JSoM percussion department from 2008-2021. From 1999-2007 he held the position of principal timpanist for the National Symphony Orchestra and 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. Mr. Tafoya has also performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
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, 2006, 2011, and 2018. He has published articles for The Band Director’s Guide, the Texas Bandmasters Association, the Florida Percussive Arts Society Newsletter and Percussive Notes magazine. 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.
In May 2004, Carl Fischer publications released Mr. Tafoya’s first book entitled; “The Working Timpanist’s Survival Guide”; offering practical advice on how to prepare and perform orchestral timpani excerpts. The book also includes illustrations displaying various timpani technique and a CD-ROM containing complete timpani parts that can be printed out for further study. His second book, “Beyond The Audition Screen”, was released in 2011 and is available through Hal Leonard.
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, Carlos Kalmar, Andrew Litton, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Osmo Vanska, John Williams, Hugh Wolff, and David Zinman.