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Guest speaker Franz Mohr visits Carthage College

By: Kylee Flister

Time: 10:30am - 12:00pm CDT May 9, 2014

Location: A. F. Siebert Chapel

To many of the greatest pianists of our time, one man was critically important: Franz Mohr, former Chief Concert Technician of Steinway & Sons for more than a quarter of a century. Mr. Mohr will speak at Carthage from 10:30 a.m. to noon on May 9, 2014 in the A. F. Siebert Chapel. 

Mr. Mohr was the piano technician to Vladimir Horowitz, perhaps the greatest pianist of the 20th century, and will share with the Carthage community his experiences with Horowitz and other famous pianists.  A deeply religious man, Mr. Mohr speaks with profound insight regarding the struggles of Jewish artists during the first half of the 20th century.  At age 87, this will be his last tour with the Horowitz Steinway piano.

As the close colleague of legendary musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Glenn Gould, Rudolf Serkin and many others, Franz Mohr attended to their Steinway instruments, making delicate adjustments that affect tone, balance, and other characteristics of sound. It was Mohr who enabled these virtuosos to fully realize their own, individual interpretative styles, and to fully realize their concept of tonal color. Franz Mohr directed the preparation and maintenance of all Steinway pianos provided for concert and artists’ service throughout the world and was the technical advisor to technicians at 100 dealer locations where hundreds of Steinway pianos stand ready for concert use.

A master piano technician, Franz Mohr joined Steinway & Sons in New York City in 1962 as assistant to William Hupfer, then chief concert technician, whom he succeeded in 1968. Mr. Mohr learned piano building in Europe beginning in 1950 in Cologne, Germany. In 1956 he became a concert technician for a Steinway dealer in Dusseldorf, Germany, which maintains a large concert service. Six years later he and his family moved to New York.

Born in Duren, Germany, on September 27, 1927, he studied music at the Musikhochschule in Cologne and the Academy of Music in Detmold, Germany. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Lynbrook, New York. They have three children: a daughter, Ellen, and two sons, one of whom continues the family tradition by working at the Steinway factory in Long Island City as manager of Customer Service.

Mr. Mohr retired as chief concert technician of Steinway & Sons in 1992. Presently he is an active advisor and consultant to Steinway & Sons. He is also a well-known book author (“My Life with the Great Pianists” and “Backstage with Great Pianists” - German) and a brilliant speaker. His personally signed book, My Life with the Great Pianists, will be available for purchase at the event.  

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Location: A. F. Siebert Chapel