The auction was held in Cedarhurst at J. Greenstein and Company. Owner Jonathan Greenstein said that the Heintzman & Company upright piano had been bought by Rebbetzin Neila Carlebach for her husband in the late 60s or the early 70s.
“Shlomo had 11 guitars but he only had one piano,” Greenstein told VIN News. “It moved with him to every single home he had.”
After Carlebach’s death in 1994, the piano was passed to his daughter Neshama. Neshama Carlebach decided to sell the piano when she moved to a much smaller location towards the end of 2015, said Greenstein.
Carlebach was a self taught piano player who learned to play during in 1956 when he served as a weekend rabbi in Dorothy, New Jersey a small community of Jewish chicken farmers. Among the many songs composed on this piano was Carlebach’s B’Shaym Hashem.
Greenstein said that the piano was in “very, very well used condition” but had been kept in tune.
Greenstein identified the buyer as musician songwriter Cecelia Margules of Brooklyn, a key player in numerous music videos and productions that have featured Dudu Fischer, Gad Elbaz, Lipa Schmeltzer and the Holocaust Survivor Band.
Mrs. Margules met Carlebach at Grossinger’s Hotel in Liberty decades ago.
“I loved his music,” said Mrs. Margules. “He was the first person out there making Jewish music.”
An avid fan, Mrs. Margules asked Carlebach if he would listen to some of her original compositions.
“It would be my highest honor,” Mrs. Margules recalled Carlebach saying. “He came to my home, sat down on my couch and said ‘play.’ I played for an hour and then he said to me ‘let’s do an album together.’”
The two spent many hours in the studio together and had hoped to record an album of Holocaust music together. While that dream never came to fruition because of Carlebach’s death at age 69, he record three songs that later appeared on Mrs. Margules’ first album titled Harmony.
Mrs. Margules said she is thrilled to have the Carlebach piano in her home, a replacement for a baby grand that washed away from her Manhattan Beach home during Superstorm Sandy.
“I hope it is great and inspirational,” said Mrs. Margules. “This is something that I wanted and I am very happy.”