Julien Musafia was a Romanian-American concert pianist, musicologist, philosopher and teacher. He began early studies with Florica Musicescu in Bucharest (the teacher of Dinu Lipatti), then continued his education in New York and Los Angeles with Jakob Gimpel and at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a doctorate. He performed nationally and internationally at Carnegie Hall, Ojai Music Festival, Athenaeum (Bucharest), Yehudi Menuhin School (England), Musikverein (Vienna), Schloss Elmau (Germany), among others and gave master classes throughout the United States and Europe. He collaborated with distinguished artists such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Galina Vishnevskaya, Salzburger Solisten, Henri Temianka. Musafia was considered a specialist of Chopin, Liszt, Wagner and Shostakovich, having given the west coast premiere of the composer’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 for piano, and directed a Shostakovich Festival at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center (Long Beach, California) that featured his collaboration and a pre-concert discussion with Irina Shostakovich, the composer’s widow.
Musafia’s numerous publications include the essential guide, The Art of Fingering in Piano Playing (MCA Music/Hal Leonard), the definitive edition of 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 of Dmitri Shostakovich, an article contribution to David Dubal’s book, Remembering Horowitz (Page 200) and Sir Karl Popper and Music, which was inspired by his association with the philosopher. He also presented a symposia lecture, The Power of the Leitmotif: Why Wagner Chose the Notes He Did for Seattle Opera’s Ring Cycle. His writings about musicians and cultural events in California and Europe appeared in the Los Angeles Times, among others. Musafia’s signature repertoire included such works as Liszt’s Vallee d’ Obermann, Chopin’s Sonata in B flat minor, Op. 35, Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody for piano, Op. 11/1, piano concertos of Shostakovich and Liszt, Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano and Violin and piano works of Wagner, particularly Sonata in A flat major, WWV 85. He spent relaxation time sailing, hiking, writing musical aphorisms and lecturing on the works of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.