George Michael’s piano to be auctioned for music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins

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George Michael in 2005 (Getty Images)
George Michael in 2005 (Getty Images)

George Michael’s estate has said it will be auctioning the late musician’s personal piano in aid of the UK’s largest music therapy charity, Nordoff Robbins.

The instrument is a Bechstein grand piano and used to take residence at the Faith singer’s home in Highgate.

The auction will take place live on July 1 at the O2 Silver Clef Awards, but the auction can also be accessed online, so that Michael fans around the world can still bid for one of the superstar’s prized assets.

As part of the auction, pianist Derek Paravicini will perform one of Michael’s songs on the piano, while David Austin, Michael’s close friend and long-time collaborator, has made a short accompanying film, showing clips of Michael playing the instrument.

Michael’s estate said it was “proud” to be able to contribute, and hoped “the piano will raise a substantial amount of money to help continue this vital work”.

Nordoff Robbins was set up by pianist Paul Nordoff and special education teacher Clive Robbins 50 years ago. The charity focuses on providing music therapy for people with life-limiting illness, disability or in isolation. In 2018, it held over 44,000 music therapy sessions.

Sandra Schembri, CEO of Nordoff Robbins, said: “George Michael’s legacy is huge – not only in terms of his contribution to music, but also his kindness and generosity when it comes to helping others.

“This auction will be made extra special by Derek’s performance – ensuring that those in the room and across the world can hear George Michael’s beautiful music being played once again on his piano.”

In 1989, Michael was awarded a Nordoff Robbins’ iconic Silver Clef Award for his outstanding contribution to UK music, so there is something full-circle about his estate’s gesture.

The announcement comes one day after Michael’s documentary Freedom Uncut was released in cinemas worldwide. The new documentary was co-directed and narrated by the singer before his death. Michael died from heart disease in December 2016 when he was 53 years old.

The new documentary has largely been very well-reviewed, with The Guardian commenting that “fans are unlikely to care that there’s hardly enough new material to justify a re-release of this 2017 documentary – Michael was just too good”. NME added the film “ultimately succeeds because the man himself remains so compelling”, with The Times calling it “slick”.

The film follows the period after the 1987 release of Michael’s Grammy-winning album Faith, to the aftermath of the making of his 1990 record Listen Without Prejudice: Vol. 1.

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