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Renowned Romanian pianist Ursuleasa dead at 33

- Associated Press - Friday, August 3, 2012

BERLIN (AP) - Internationally renowned Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa has been found dead in her apartment in the Austrian capital. She was 33.

The musician's agent, Andreea Butucariu, said in a statement from Berlin Friday that Ursuleasa had died on Thursday from the effects of a cerebral hemorrhage and asked for her family's privacy to be respected. Police in Vienna confirmed the cause of death.

Butucariu told Romanian media that Ursuleasa had recently cancelled two concerts in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on unspecified health grounds.

Ursuleasa began playing the piano at 5 years old under the guidance of her Gypsy jazz musician father in then communist Romania. She obtained a grant to study in Vienna at 12, a year after communism collapsed.

She went on to play at New York's Carnegie Hall, with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester in Berlin, with Orchestre National de France and also with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Romanian soprano Felicia Filip on Friday reminisced about Ursuleasa's debut. "In my mind's eye I see the child lost in the immensity of the piano," she told Romanian news agency Mediafax, referring to one of the pianist's first public performances. "I recall a child who couldn't reach the piano pedals," she said.

"Mihaela was a huge pianistic talent with great musical instincts," said Bill Capone, managing director of Arts Management Group, who represented her. "Her untimely passing is very tragic and left those who knew her as an artist and person deeply saddened."

Ursuleasa is survived by a 5-year-old daughter. In a statement on the pianist's website, Butucariu asked that promoters "that had invited Mihaela for the next months" contribute towards an account for her daughter.

He said her funeral would be held next week, but provided no details where she would be buried.

"Artists like Mihaela are those who give us hope, help us feel and make us understand that music, and also art, prevails above everything else; that it makes us advance as human beings," Butucariu said in the statement.

"They make us realize that we are on the right path when we open not our eyes and ears but our hearts to listen, expecting music making to move us and take us someplace else. This is what Mihaela's music did."

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