Javier Zafra was born in Alicante (Spain) in 1975. After been graduated on modern bassoon, theory of harmony and counterpoint in his hometown, he moved to The Netherlands in 1996 interested on early music. He attended the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag, where he studied Baroque bassoon and chamber music under Donna Agrell and Ku Ebbinge, as well as music theory and history of music under Peter van Heyghen. Javier Zafra gained his diploma on Baroque bassoon with distinction in June 2000. He was selected as a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO) in 1997, then under the baton of Ton Koopman.
He has since played bassoon solo with the best europeans ensembles like Anima Aeterna, Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Concerto Vocale, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, Concert d’Astrée, Al Ayre Español, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, Capella Cracoviensis (Jan Tomasz Adamus, with whom he played and recorded Mozart Bassoon Concerto in 2016), Concert de La Loge (Julien Chauvin, with whom he plays often as soloist) or Ensemble Balthasar Neumann among others. He has worked with conductors such Thomas Helgenbrock, Jos Van Immerseel, Philippe Herreweghe, Trevor Pinnock, Gustav Leonhardt, René Jacobs, Pablo HerasCasado, Jérémie Rohrer, Ivor Bolton, Emmanuelle Haïm or Sir Simon Rattle. His prime interest is in chamber music: he played many years with Nachtmusique (Eric Hoeprich).
He often plays together with Lorenzo Coppola (Ensemble Dialoghi with whom he has recorded Mozart and Beethoven quintets for Piano and winds. Harmonia Mundi France, 2017), Kristian Bezuidenhout, Alexander Melnikov or Isabelle Faust, with whom he has recorded Schubert’s Octet and Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat on period instruments (Harmonia Mundi France; 2018 and 2020). As soloist he has performed in important venues like the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg festival, in the prestigious KKL Luzern, Wigmore Hall (London) or in the Lincoln Center of New York where his Mozart’s Bassoon concerto was acclaimed by The New York Times in the Mostly Mozart Festival 2010.
Javier Zafra has been playing bassoon solo with the Freiburger Barokorchester since 1999. Since 2016 he is bassoon solo at Ensemble Pygmalion conducted by Raphaël Pichon in Paris, city where he lives with his family. From 2004 till 2021 he has been teaching each September in the BadenWürttembergische Ensemble-Akademie Freiburg. From 2012 till 2017 he taught Baroque Bassoon in the Musikhochschule Freiburg. From September 2018 he teaches Baroque Bassoon at KCB - Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel.