Sadly and suddenly a worldclass pianist-by-nature has gone at age 33,
unexpectedly and alone in the last minutes. A leaking/bursting bloodvessel in her inner brain.
Her great extreme qualities made her famous in expressions, timing, bright speedy parts, and dynamics. She has been enjoyed for that and for her friendly character, by her colleagues and listeners.
After Claudio Abbado heard her marvellous qualities, at her concert aged 12 (!), he saved her from Stela Dragulin. He did by sponsoring Mihaela completely, starting at her age of 13, her following gymnasium and university, both in Vienna. He advised her to cancel all child-performances forced by Stela, and learning music completely and in a normal way. Enjoying it, playing with pleasure and knowledge. (Not for fear of getting fashistically beaten and punished without explanations.)
Mihaela said she enjoyed the way of studying in Vienna. Her professor Heinz Medjimorec made her enjoy and expanding largely. She graduated Cum Laude in 1999.
(See the links, below.)
Her mother was called by Mihaela, the evening on the 1st of august, telling she did not feel well, canceling performances. Her loving mother comforted her on the phone, thinking Mihaela was a bit tired from all concerts and preparations. She advised her daughter to take a good early sleep, to get fit again for the next day. Mihaela told her she would do. For that week Mihaela had planned a short vacation to the Black Sea, with her mother and daughter. Her mother would leave with Mihaela's daughter Stefanie and Mihaela would join them later, after her planned next concert in Bucharest. Grandmother already was with her own friend and grandchild Stefanie in Romania.
The next morning Mihaela did not take her phone, when her mother made her regular cal. Worried as mother was, she phoned Michaela's friends to check her appartment in Vienna. They saw the roomlights still burning. On calling her mobile they heard it ringing inside, though no reactions of Mihaela, not on ringing nor on bouncing at the door. All remained very silent. They called the police and the job-agency, who found Mihaela not breathing anymore. The forensic analist concluded a bursted inner brain-bloodvessel and probably fallen afterwards. No fights, no drugs.
She has been buried with military honour, in Bucharest, at the special "Cimitirul Bellu", the "Aleea Artisti", after receiving a post mortum state-graduation on Officer-level, for her proven spirit and qualities.
Watching all her interviews, her concerts and her friend's descriptions, i get the impression Mihaela opposed military involvements in general. I think she rather preferred child-abusers being fired and avoided from schooljobs, thus preventing the children from getting lifelong fear-dreams of abused living, playing and studying.
In her latest conversations she told she felt driven to organise a big international piano-event in her name, for young pianists. To support young musicians in enjoying music and training in a fearless way. Planned in Brasov in springtime, as confirmed by locals.
Franz Liszt :
Come, join Mihaela in her beautifull latest Chopin-concert :
(Part 2 : )
(Part 3 : )
Mihaela herself presented her biography, telling her life and music-experiences :
I was born end of the seventies in Romania, in a nice little town called Brasov, at the end of the mountains. For some reason it turned out later I prefer the water…Well, my parents were both musicians, my mother singer, and my father one of the best pianists and great musician I ever heard in my life. They played together every night in various restaurants and hotels, and I had the priviledge to sit under my fathers piano and listen to them. That´s why I either hear very well, or not at all, in given cases.
So, I started to play piano with my father. At least I learned how to move most of my fingers on the keys and , most important , to have fun. I wished it had stayed that way. Because, if I look back, I met two kinds of people who were involved in my musical development : those who insipired me a lot, and those who didn´t. But I learned from all of them. So I got this teacher, because she could teach me how to play concertos – and for that you need to practise eight to ten hours a day. Maybe, maybe not. The fact is, I don´t have any idea about how it would have turned out if I hadn´t. The good part was that I found myself performing in front of people at a very early age, so I didn´t think to much about all the nervousity, only the spotlights bothered me.They still do. There was very little time to listen to the old guys like Haskil, Lipatti, the great Horowitz. Martha I discovered later and she never lost my admiration ever since. Radu Lupu came to play in Bucarest shortly after the revolution and we played TWO hands Mozart KV 271 in the green room (his left, my right hand). Aftger a few years I met him again and he gave me some “simple ideas” that helped me LISTEN.
My father left us quite early, sometimes I think I understand life, but I don´t.
You are never sure how long you live, so TAKE IT NOW, as long as it is given to you.
Then I had one of the most wonderful experiences in my life : Claudio Abbado offered me a scholarship in Vienna, and with it my salvation from the concertlife which started taking the shape of hard, hard work, and no enjoyment at all. The music was forgotten for the sake of performing.Vienna was the beginning of a life in studiying and meditating. Most wonderful of all, I got a teacher who encourages creativeness, who gave me peace and the necessary intelligence to work properly – Heinz Medjimorec is a great teacher and a marvelous person.
After a while I started performing again, after the price of Clara Haskil competition in Vevey, that was 1995. Eversince I hate competitions.Not because I won it, that was great, but I´ve seen that it is the most unlogical way of dealing with music. It keeps you from speaking the music you play, and jurors are human beings as well.
Of all the performances I had since then, I will name only a few that helped me free my musical approach in some useful way :
-We were in Sarajewo in 1997, with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and Ivan Fisher. We played Beethoven´s 5th Concerto , on a piano that was out of tune, but it didn´t matter. Before this, in 1995 I had the honour to play with Abbado himself in Vienna, with the same orchestra. I had almost missed my entrance because I liked their playing so much I forgot I was also sitting on that stage!
-Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Paavo Jarvi 2000 – that was a phenomenal tour! Beethoven 1 was on the programme. Once I jumped in for Richard Goode ( another inspirative figure in my life) with Academy of St.Martin´s i.d. Fields and Marriner , Beethoven 4th.
-No, I am not playing ONLY Beethoven Concerti. Two years ago I was on a tour with Neeme Jarvi and Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra with Grieg and Chopin 2nd. That tour was one of the most insipring. Recitals are a very lonely, but happy. When else do you get to make the rubati you want to? The happiest recitals are still those where you have lots of friends listening. Please go check on Miami Piano Festival, this is one of the happiest, wonderful experiences of my life!
- I love to have a lot of contrasts in my programmes, like Mozart and Bartók, Scarlatti and Liszt , Brahms and Prokofieff ,strong colours like red dress and black shoes…. if I remember to pack them in my suitcase!
-My friends and partners in chamber music are very important to me , we share a sort of crazy relationship between discovering new music, new food and new jokes.
-The Marlboro Festival, which I attended for two summer, 2002 and 2003 was one of the most special experiences for me. Besides the great friendship that were born there, I learned even more how to listen, how to be creative and not narrowminded in music. You can never actually “learn” that, but staying and working with people of great quality for 7 weeks can go on your nerves, make you cry, because you think you should have never touched the piano ever in your life, because after so many years you feel like an idiot by not being able to play one single note properly – and then you perform these pieces with a knot in your throat, and THEN, when you get back home, you realize that you know, hear, demand of yourself more and better that ever before. Yeah, that´s the effect Marlboro does sometimes..
My dear friend Patricia Kopatchinskaja is a perfect cocktail of craziness, wisdom and genious – which makes us play together in such an intensive way I never experienced with anyone else before. Nobody plays Enescu 3rd Sonata like her! And in future you may see the name Sol Gabetta more often and hear her play cello with a mixture of warmth and fine temperament.
What I want in the future? Gilles Apap might not know it, but he reminded me to explore my own roots , folk music from Romania and the gypsies. I want to help very young little musicians not to turn into stressed show machines, become more free to understand the language of music. There is a point in a musicians´ life when music rises up itself from somewhere and starts speaking to you.
She made 3 wonderfull CD's with classical works, once heard ever admired :
--"The Clara Haskil Competition 1995",
live recording of her winning concert at her age of 16 !
Competition-performance accompanied by orchestra.
Mozart and Beethoven, very elegant and large dynamics.
--"Piano & Forte", 2009.
Here Mihaela plays Beethoven, Brahms, introducing Paul Constantinescu
and Alberto Ginastera. Two vibrant composers, Romanian and Argentine.
A tendency towards gypsy influences.
--"Romanian Rhapsody", 2011.
Mihaela's latest album, so far.
More concentrating on Romanian composers.
Besides Schubert, she plays George Enescu, Paul Constantinescu and Bartok.
In the final part violist Gilles Apap accompanies in a slight gypsy style.
Vibrant, large dynamics in speeds, soundlevels and emotions.
In her last interviews she anounced her ideas to show even more Romanian composers.
Enlightening their, as wel as her own roots.
You also might find her on cd's of Sol Gabetta and Patricia Kopatchinskaja,
as well as on recordings with Janine Jansen. (See amazon a.o.)
This link may guide you into supporting Mihaela's daughter, Stefanie, age 6. www.ursuleasa.com
Giving the poor girl at least sómething to stand on, sómething to look for in her life. A chance in good classical- and balley-education in Vienna, where she was born and has lived so far, raised in Austrian style. She adored it, playing on mommy's piano.
She was fully depending on the brave Mihaela. Father agressively reacting on pregnancy, contacts broken before marriage and birth. Daughter Stefanie had no support from him, never met him, did not know him.
The evening before the final burial, while Stefanie was caressing her mother's casket, the poor little girl asked her crying grandmother 'letting her become a pianist too, like her mommy'. She said 'she would learn very hard so she could give concerts together with mommy, after she would have returned from the concert in heaven'.
Later she discovered that her best friend, her mommy, remained out of reach. 'No return from the heaven-concert', tears rolling on her little innocent face.
( Poor lonely child, only one family-person left. Her grandmother. Only one slippery last hand to hold, in the whole wide tall world. Imagine you were that child. How would you feel ? What would you hope for ?)
-- Lots of videos on Youtube, use argument "Mihaela Ursuleasa".
( Haino. )
Last edited by Haino on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:29 am; edited 10 times in total
Joined: Feb 29, 2008
Location: Vienna, Austria
Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:43 pm Post subject:
May she rest in peace. Some colleagues of mine were good friends with her.
I never had the pleasure to meet her, but my thoughts and sympathies are with her daughter and family. _________________ "If our music survives, which I have no doubt it will, then it will because it is good!"
Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004), composer
Joined: May 03, 2008
Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:21 pm Post subject:
Updated with classical live concerts,
onto her marvelous Chopin concert in Bucharest,
her latest performance on the 7th of June 2012.
(My excuses for the lesser soundtechniques used.)
Sol Gabetta is introducing you to Mihaela, her longtime concert-companion.
This introduction also shows you passages of Mihaela's performances in her childtime. All concerts show the wide variety within Mihaela's qualities.
Intense sensations like dreamy tenderness, lovely sparkling brights, massive approaching dangers, happy dances. Easing rubato's ('rolling-outs') These were my personal impressions listening the cd's as well as her live registrations.
The CD's are of a high professional quality, and rich in contrasts.
Wish you the same marvellous piano-impressions i had.
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