The award-winning Rumanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa has died suddenly at the age of 33. Her agent, Andreea Butucariu, has informed us that Mihaela was found dead today in her Vienna apartment. A full statement will be issued in the morning. The family requests that its privacy is respected.
Mihaela was supposed to play yesterday in Bucharest with the National Youth Orchestra and on Saturday in Berlin.
The daughter of a gypsy fiddler, she was drawn to classical music as a child and studied in Vienna. Her latest recording (see below) was released three years ago on Berlin Classics. Here is a brief interview she gave (in German) only last month.
UPDATE: Official statement here.
Here is her agency biography:
“It´s the kind of Beethoven I have not heard since the heydays of Claudio Arrau and super-musician Clara Haskil herself.” (Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Chronicle, March 2006)
The unique blend of vivacious play and lyrical talent make Mihaela Ursuleasa one of the most remarkable pianists of her generation.
Born in Brasov, Romania in 1978, she began her career at a very early age. In 1990, she withdrew from the stage and concentrated on her scholastic, musical and piano education, now in her adopted country in Vienna, Austria.
Mihaela Ursuleasa reaped the fruits of this decision when she won the highly acclaimed Clara Haskil Competition in 1995. She was rewarded for her rare combination of vivacity and technical mastery. She was likened to Clara Haskil herself, her fellow countrywoman of the pre-war period. Today she enjoys an international career, without basking in her success but with bubbling energy and a sincere passion for music.
Event organisers from around the world were immediately attentive, and recitals in the most significant music metropolises followed, such as in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Philharmonie Cologne, Konzerthaus Vienna, Tonhalle Zürich and in the renowned Carnegie Hall in New York.
Daniele Gatti, Paavo and Neeme Järvi, Marek Janowski, Andris Nelsons and Mark Albrecht count among the conductors who value Mihaela for her emotional depth in the music world and regularly re-invite her. Orchestras such as the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, Bern Symphony-Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, CBSO, Weimar Staatskapelle, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Vienna Symphony Orchestra welcome her as a guest soloist. Moreover, she has performed at a great many international festivals including the Lucerne Festival, Salzburg Festival, StyriateGraz, the Beethoven festivals in Warsaw and Bonn, and the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
As an ardent chamber musician, Mihaela Ursuleasa performs with artists such as the cellist Sol Gabetta (CD recording for Sony/BMG) and the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja (CD recording for Naive), and is also a highly esteemed lied accompanist.
In 2010, her debut solo album, “Piano & Forte” (-edel- CLASSICS), receives the ECHO Klassik award in the “Solo Recording of the Year” category (19th century, piano). Her second solo album “Romanian Rhapsody” was released march 2011.