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Mihaela Valentina Runceanu (4 May 1955, Buz─âu - 1 November 1989, Bucharest) was a Romanian pop singer and vocal techniques teacher. She became a successful vocal singer, her voice being highly appreciated in Romania. Many of her songs were hits, and she released two albums, Mihaela Runceanu and Pentru voi, muguri noi, the latter only one day before she was murdered in her home in Bucharest.

Contents

Childhood and education

Mihaela Runceanu was born in Buz─âu, but, soon after, her parents moved to Bac─âu, where she started school. After moving back to Buz─âu, Mihaela attended the Music and Plastic Arts High School there. Upon finishing high school in 1974, she went to Bucharest to attend the Ciprian Porumbescu Music Conservatory, from which she graduated in 1978.

Career

She started singing in high-school, and her debut took place in 1976 with a song that was broadcast on the radio. In 1975 and 1976 she participated in several music competitions and festivals. One of her songs was recorded on a Romanian 1976 hits LP.

After graduation, she taught violin at the music school in Brăila and then moved back to Buzău to teach violin at the Music and Plastic Arts High School, where she had been a student. In Buzău, she sang in a band, together with Laurenţiu Cazan and George Nicolescu, among others. In 1980, she took a position of vocal technique teacher at the Popular School of Arts in Bucharest, which she held until her death in 1989.

During her time in Bucharest she launched several hits, including De-ar fi s─â vii, Tu nu vei ┼čti niciodat─â and Via┼úa ├«ncepe cu tine. In early December 1987, her first album, titled Mihaela Runceanu was released by Electrecord. Her second album, Pentru voi, muguri noi was released 31 October 1989, one day before her death.

Death

On 1 November 1989, a personal friend of hers, Daniel ┼×tef─ânescu, visited her and insisted that they watch a videotape he had obtained (at the time, video material circulation was severely restricted by the communist government). After Mihaela went to sleep, ┼×tef─ânescu entered her bedroom and smothered her with a pillow. He then stole jewelry, electronics, and some other items that were difficult to obtain in Romania at the time, such as meat, imported cigarettes, and gasoline. He used some of the gasoline to set fire to the apartment.

The murderer was discovered by the investigators the next day and subsequently put on trial. In 1991, he was sentenced to 21 years of imprisonment. In 2006 he was released for good behaviour.

Mihaela Runceanu's tomb is located in the Dumbrava Cemetery in her home town, Buz─âu.

Legacy

Her death did not receive a large media coverage due to communist censorship, therefore when she starred in the New Year's Eve Romanian National Television show, few Romanians were aware of her death two months before. Due to the restricted coverage of the murder in the communist media, many rumors emerged and circulated about the circumstances of her death, including one about the murderer being Nicu Ceau┼čescu or another member of the Ceau┼čescu family] and another about a young man found drowned in a Bucharest lake with a note confessing Mihaela Runceanu's murder.

After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, more information about the circumstances of her death were revealed, and details of the murderer's trial appeared in a local Buz─âu newspaper in 1990. Later, Nicolae Pene┼č wrote two books about Mihaela Runceanu, containing her biography as well as details of ┼×tef─ânescu's trial published in 1990.

An annual pop music festival is held in Buz─âu. It is named The Mihaela Runceanu music festival in honor of the late pop singer.

In 2004, Electrecord released an 18-song compilation of Mihaela Runceanu hits.

References

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