Mr No-Worries retires at 75

Mr No-Worries retires at 75


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2022

The German cultural manager Franz Xaver Ohnesorg will step down next year as head of the Ruhr Piano Festival, the last post in a high-flying vareer.

Ohnesorg – whose name means ‘no worries’ – started out as orchestra director of the Munich Philharmonic, where he brought in Sergiu Celibidache as music director. From 1983 to 1999 he ran the Cologne Philharmonic, where he founded the MusikTriennale Köln.

In 1999, Isaac Stern persuaded him to become Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, where he resigned after a couple of years in a phone call from the cab that was taking him to the airport. Explosive office tensions were blamed. There was more to the story but the New York Times never sniffed it out.

Ohensorg flew from New York to Berlin where the Senate appointed him artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic, seeing out the last years of Claudio Abbado and the arrival of Simon Rattle. He quit suddenly, once again after a couple of years, in circumstances that have never been clarified in any media.

Back went Mr No-Worries to Cologne, where for the past two decades he has been quietly running the Ruhr Piano Festival. He will be succeeded there by the musicologist Katrin Zagrosek.

Photo: Abbado, Rattle, Ohnesorg


  • Elsie says:

    I always thought the name meant care-free as in the Ohne Sorgen Polka Schnell by Josef Strauss.

    • Colin says:

      Collins Dictionary (UK)


      Your cares are your worries, anxieties, or fears.

      Synonyms: worry, concern, pressure, trouble

  • Fliszt says:

    His very short reign of terror at Carnegie Hall certainly left wounds. He was clearly unstable, causing many staff members to quit, and the Zankel Hall renovation budget soared way over budget under his “watch”.

  • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

    Ohnesorg = “no worry”, singular.

  • grabenassel says:

    Ohnesorg in Berlin is remembered as the one who installed flag poles in front of the Philharmonie….and that’s it.