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EphenStephen (Guitar Duo)

Founded: 2001 (?) - Australia

Programme Info

EphenStephen is a classical guitar duo committed to the exploration of new and established repertoire within a unique musical vision. Their imaginative and stimulating recital programmes utilise the guitar's versatility and ability to appeal to a wide audience. EphenStephen’s repertoire ranges from new music commissions to ground-breaking transcriptions of classic works, to established guitar treasures.

EphenStephen’s experience and skill as arrangers and composers is a highlight of their concert programmes, which feature works from composers as diverse as the Beatles, J.S. Bach, Queen, Copland and Khachaturian. A dedication to new and Australian music is another feature of their concerts. Together they have premiered and commissioned many works, the latest of which was Steve Thorneycroft’s work Spin Cycle for two guitars, marimba and orchestra in 2008. Their new music repertoire also includes works by Westlake, Edwards, Houghton, Glyn & Reich.

Their concert presentation is engaging and relaxed and in the spirit of Chopin's famous quote "Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, except, possibly, two."
"The many years of experience clearly shone through in their performances… very enjoyable concert." - Christchurch Classical Guitar Society
"wonderful flair and freshness..." - Ann Ghandar, composer.
"... a brilliant and profound musical experience..." Graeme Compton, director Keyplay Music Festival
“... versatility and musicality which has won widespread acclaim...” - Border New

Duo Biography

EphenStephen has toured extensively in Australia, in venues ranging from the Sydney Opera House to festivals, regional art galleries and conservatoriums. In 2006, as part of their first New Zealand tour, they were the featured artists at the Spring Strings Festival. EphenStephen’s recital of Australian and Welsh new music at the 2001 Sydney Spring Festival was recorded and broadcast by ABC Classic FM.

As individual players they regularly perform as members of various other ensembles ranging from new music through to celtic, funk and surf, as well as giving solo recitals. They have performed concertos both individually and together and have both been finalists in the Australian Guitar Competition.

EphenStephen has released two CDs to date: GUITARmidale, a selection of pieces commissioned from composers living in the Armidale area; and The Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), their transcription for two guitars of J.S. Bach’s monumental work. Both CDs have been broadcast extensively on regional ABC stations and ABC-Classic FM, the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) having been a featured CD in Julia Lester’s ‘Classic Drive’ programme.

Both Steves are dedicated educators and work closely with the New England Conservatorium of Music and the University of New England, where Steve Thorneycroft is also lecturer in composition.

Stephen Thorneycroft

Born: 1973 - Wales, UK

The Welsh-norn guitarist, Stephen Thorneycroft, showed interest in guitar-related activities from an early age, starting with the ukulele at age 2...! He began studying the classical guitar at age 9 and after moving to Australia in 1985, Steve's playing moved sideways into steel-string and electric guitar, the electric side particularly reflective of his early inspiration of Hank Marvin & The Shadows.

Currently, Stephen Thorneycroft is a music lecturer at the University of New England (Armidale, Australia), local guitar teacher and is one half of the EphenStephen guitar duo. EphenStephen has released 2 CD’s to date: "GUITARmidale" (featuring works by composers living locally to their area) in 2006, and their arrangement & performance of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) for 2 guitars in 2008. They are regularly broadcast on ABC Classic FM.

Stephen Thorneycroft holds a BMus(hons) in performance and composition and is about to embark on the PhD road... He has been a finalist in the Australian Guitar Competition, and played in a diverse range of genres with many and varied ensembles ranging from the average pub gig to solo/duo recitals through to concertos. Steve has premiered many new works for guitar, both as a soloist and with Stephen Tafra in EphenStephen, the latest of which was Steve's own piece Spin Cycle for two guitars, marimba and orchestra in 2008.

Stephen Thorneycroft’s compositions & performances have a broad range of focus, from surf guitar instrumental music through to contemporary western art music & everything in between. His music has been commissioned & played by a wide variety of musicians, from students through to professional ensembles, and with EphenStephen guitar duo premiered & commissioned much new music for guitar duo. Of particular relevance to Steve’s creative output is an interest in the New York minimalist & post-minimalist scene & composers, as well as the areas of transcription and 60s guitar instrumentals.

Stephen Tafra

Born: New England, Australia

The Australian guitarist, Stephen Tafra, began his formal musical studies at the University of New England with Vic Bofinger after having had lessons with Randolph Koder. He went on to the Queensland Conservatorium of Music where, under the tutelage of Julian Byzantine, was awarded a Graduate Diploma in Instrumental Performance. During that time he performed in master classes given by guitarists of the calibre of John Williams and Ruben Riera. His ability as a guitarist has been endorsed by his being 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).

From 1991 to 1996 Stephen Tafra was co-member of the New England Guitar Duo with Mark Bromley. In that time they 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, J.S. Bach, Dmitri Shostakovich, Rodriguez, Albéniz, Brubeck, Gershwin, Debussy, De Falla, Santana, Adler and Ross, Barrense-Dias and W.A. Mozart. New music played an important role in their concerts, with compositions by Mark Bromley, Phillip Houghton, Leo Brouwer and Toru Takemitsu.

In 1996 Stephen Tafra joined the Celtic group, Tursachan, which consisted of Alison Cone and Ruth Martin on vocals, Mark Campbell on percussion and didjeridoo and Stephen Tafra on guitar and piano accordion. Within months of their formation they played at the prestigious Woodford Folk Festival.

Other projects include musical director of Man Of La Mancha for The Armidale School, and recording a new work Descendant Lines for two piano accordions by Steven Campbell. In 1998 he performed Antarctica for guitar and orchestra by Nigel Westlake and an arrangement of Pirates of Penzance for trumpet, clarinet, baritone sax, bass, drums, guitar and piano. He served as conductor with the Armidale Youth Orchestra, playing his own arrangements of Freddie Mercury's Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as works by Westlake, Prokofiev, Leonard Bernstein and Copland. 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 Go’s Drawing Board, music by Elena Kats-Chernin, libretto and illustrations by Ralph Steadman.

Guitar duo EphenStephen (with Stephen Thorneycroft) have released two CD’s. GuitArmidale which comprises all original works written for the duo by Australian composers from Armidale and the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), the duo's own arrangement of this masterpiece.

Stephen Tafra has recorded with the ABC, both as solo guitarist and ensemble player, premiering new works. He has also worked in folk, jazz, rock, music theatre and radio drama.

Stephen Tafra has taught guitar at the University of New England, the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and James Cook University. He is currently teaching in various schools in Armidale. He is always in high demand as a teacher due to his accomplishment as a guitarist, and his ability to relate to and inspire his students

Source: EphenStephen Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2011)

EphenStephen: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

EphenStephen - Guitar Duo (Official Website)


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 03:54