Born in Alicante, Javier first attended the conservatory in his home city, where he studied harmony, bassoon and counterpoint. He moved to The Netherlands in 1996 to study historical bassoon with Donna Agrell and Ku Ebbinge at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and music theory with Peter van Heyghen, gaining his diploma with distinction in 2000.
He was a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO) in 1997 under the baton of Ton Koopman. He has since played with Anima Aeterna, Orchestre des Champs Elysees, Concert d’Astrée, and Al Ayre Español, and with conductors Philippe Herreweghe, Trevor Pinnock, Gustav Leonhard and René Jacobs. His prime interest is in chamber music, he has played with Lorenzo Coppola (ensemble Dialoghi), Kristian Bezuidenhout, Alexander Melnikov and Isabelle Faust, with whom he recorded the Schubert Octet. He performed the Mozart Bassoon Concerto KV191 in the prestigious KKL Luzern, in London’s Wigmore Hall and at the Lincoln Centre in New York as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival 2010, a performance which was highly acclaimed by the New York Times. Javier Zafra has been a member of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra since 1999.
From 2012 to 2017 he taught at the Musikhochschule Freiburg, and from September 2018 he will teach baroque bassoon at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel.