Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 8, 2004

Famous piano tuner tells his story

By Cindy Zitzloff

A special guest visited the small congregation of Blessed Hope Church of Howard Lake recently, telling an interesting tale of hope and faith.

Franz Mohr, a famous piano tuner and author, spoke about the hardships through his life that made him the Christian he is today. He is a long-time family friend of Derek Forseth, pastor of Blessed Hope Church.

Tom Schmitt of Schmitt Music joined Mohr in his presentation.

Mohr grew up near Cologne, Germany, and his life was greatly impacted by World War II.

Mohr’s German village of 30,000, including his family, was trapped in the middle of the carnage, separated from life, loved ones, and spirit. Ninety-eight percent of the population fell away.

Mohr miraculously survived the attack and was reunited with his parents, but he lost his brother in the destruction.

During the war, Mohr felt he awoke to a different world, and that his old world didn’t exist any longer. He lost all faith during this period and suffered years of anger and unrest in his soul. He did, however, keep faith for his love and passion for music.

Mohr started out playing the violin, viola, and guitar, but later had to retire from playing due to wrist complications.

Eventually, by faith, Mohr came to our country, “the land with unending resources,” and then, pursued his passion for music, which led him to an opportunity that would change his life forever, not only in the music business, but also in how he felt about Christianity.

While still in Germany, Mohr had applied for an apprentice position in America for Steinway and Sons, maker of the Steinway piano. Shortly thereafter, Mohr was hired on as a piano technician and later, became Steinway’s chief concert technician. He went everywhere the pianists went to perform.

“I play more at Carnegie Hall than anybody else, but I have no audience,” Mohr said.

He has worked closely with famous pianists such as Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Rudolf Serkin, Emil Gilels, Van Cliburn, Glen Gould, and many musical artists.

Mohr has also met every American president since coming over to America in 1962.

“The same story he has brought to our church, he brings to millions around the world and has been invited to the most prestigious occasions and dignitary events, all, as he proclaims, ‘to the glory of the Lord,’” commented Dave Clos, a member of Blessed Hope Church.

Mohr, along with Edith Schaeffer, is also author of “My Life with the Great Pianists,” which is written in more than seven languages world-wide.

Although Mohr is retired, he continues traveling around the world signing his book, demonstrating his Christian faith, and teaching piano tuning skills to piano technicians.

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