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Ossip Gabrilowitsch ca. 1906
Ossip Gabrilowitsch with his wife Clara Clemens

Ossip Gabrilowitsch (Осип Сoломонович Габрилович, Osip Solomonovich Gabrilovich; he used the German transliteration Gabrilowitsch in the West) (7 February [O.S. 26 January] 1878 – 14 September 1936) was a Russian-born American pianist, conductor and composer.[1]


Ossip Gabrilowitsch was born in Saint Petersburg. He studied the piano and composition at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, with Anton Rubinstein, Anatoly Lyadov, Alexander Glazunov and Nikolai Medtner among others. After graduating in 1894, he spent two years studying piano with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna.

In July 1905 he recorded ten pieces for the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano, one of the first pianists to do so.

From 1910 to 1914, he was conductor of the Munich Konzertverein (later known as the Munich Philharmonic). He was still in Munich in 1917 and was put in jail following a pogrom. Through the intervention of the nuncio to Bavaria, Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII), Gabrilowitsch was freed from jail, and then he headed to Zürich and the United States.[2]

He settled in the US, and was offered the post of conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In declining, he recommended that the Boston board appoint the recently arrived Sergei Rachmaninoff. In 1918 he was appointed the founding director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, while still maintaining his life as a concert pianist. Before accepting the conductor's position, he demanded a new auditorium be built, and this was the impetus for the building of Orchestra Hall.

On 6 October 1909, he married Mark Twain's daughter Clara Clemens, a singer who appeared with him in recital. On 18 August 1910, their only child, Nina, was born at Mark Twain's home in Stormfield, Connecticut.[3] Nina, the last known lineal descendant of Mark Twain, died on 16 January 1966 in a Los Angeles hotel. She had been a heavy drinker, and bottles of pills and alcohol were found in her room. Her death was ruled a suicide. [4]

Gabrilowitsch composed a few works, primarily short piano pieces for his own use. He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.[5][not in citation given] He died from stomach cancer[6] in Detroit in 1936 and, along with Clara and her father, is buried in the Langdon plot of the Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York.


  • 5 Klavierstücke, Op. 1
    • No. 3 Valse lente (c. 1897)
  • Gavotte in D minor, Op. 2
  • Compositions for the piano, Op. 3
    • No. 1 Caprice Burlesque (ca 1901)
    • No. 2 Mazurka Mélancolique
  • Thème varié pour piano, Op. 4
  • Mélodie, Op. 8, No.1
  • La Czarina, Mazurka Russe (The Tsarina, Russian Mazurka)
  • Three Songs, Op. 11:
  • Two Piano Pieces, Op. 12
    • No. 1 Elegy
    • No. 2 Etude for the left hand
  • Near to thee ... [Song] Poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, English version by Clara Clemens (ca. 1924)


  • Clara Clemens: My husband Gabrilowitsch. Reprint of the ed. published by Harper, New York. New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 1979. ISBN 0-306-79563-9
  • Cooke, James Francis: Great Pianists on Piano Playing: Godowsky, Hofmann, Lhévinne, Paderewski and 24 Other Legendary Performers. New York (Dover) 1999. (Reprint of the original edition 1917).
  • Ossip Gabrilowitsch: Essentials of Touch. In James Francis Cook: Great pianists on piano playing: study talks with foremost virtuosos. Publisher: Theo. Presser & Co., Philadelphia 1917, page 122


  1. ^ "Gabrilowitsch, Ossip", Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition), 2008, retrieved 2008-04-28 
  2. ^ Rabbi David G. Dalin. The Myth of Hitler's Pope. (Washington: Regency Publishing Inc., 2005) p. 50
  3. ^ "Daughter Born to Mrs. Gabrilowitsch", The New York Times (Redding, Conn.), August 20, 1910: 7, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-22 
  4. ^ Mark Twain Online
  5. ^ Delta Omicron
  6. ^ Mark Twain Online - Clara Clemens

External links[edit]


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851 videos foundNext > 

Chopin / Ossip Gabrilowitsch, 1905: Mazurka in B minor, Op. 33, No. 4

In this performance dating from 1905, Ossip Gabrilowitsch (1878-1936) performs Chopin's Mazurka in B minor, Op. 33, No. 4. The music you hear was recorded or...

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays a selection of his own compositions,Schumann and various other composers

He was a pupil of the great Leschetitsky and I think he s one of my favourite pianists.

Schumann Bunte Blatter Op.99 No 9 Gabrilowitsch Rec.1924

Schumann Bunte Blatter Op.99 No.9 (Novelette) Ossip Gabrilowitsch was born in St. Petersburg (Russia) on January 26,1878. He was a pupil of Anton Rubinstein ...

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Mendelssohn "Spinning Song" Op. 67 No. 4

piano roll.

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Leschetizky Octave Etude

Duo Art piano roll.

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Arensky "Près de la mer"

from Six Esquisses for piano, Op. 52 No. 4 rec. 1925.

Gabrilowitsch Caprice Op.3 Gabrilowitsch Rec1925

Ossip Gabrilowitsch was born in St. Petersburg (Russia) on January 26,1878. He was a pupil of Anton Rubinstein and won the Rubinstein prize at the age of 16....

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Bach Bouree arr.Saint-Saens

Schubert: MOMENT MUSICAUX op. 94 Nr. 2, gespielt von Ossip Gabrilowitsch

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828) MOMENT MUSICAUX Op. 94 Nr. 2 Gespielt von Ossip Gabrilowitsch (1878 - 1936) Notenrolle der Firma HUPFELD, Leipzig (um 1918), Kla...

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Glazunov Gavotte Op. 49 No. 3

851 videos foundNext > 

15 news items

Greenville News
Sat, 31 May 2014 18:11:17 -0700

Bailey knew Clara was Mark Twain's daughter and knew Clara's first husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, was a famed pianist and conductor for the Detroit Symphony, but he had died the year before Susan was born. In 1944, Clara had married a man 20 years ...
Audiophile Audition
Sat, 10 Jul 2010 14:50:57 -0700

4 – Complete San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Recordings / Ossip Gabrilowitsch Detroit Symphony Recordings = RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, KREISLER, GLAZOUNOV, BRAHMS, GLUCK, CHABRIER, TCHIKOVSKY Etc. – Pristine. The Alfred Hertz legacy with ...
DePauw University
Tue, 01 Oct 2013 14:57:33 -0700

On the second half of the concert will be the exciting Caprice Burlesque, a piece by Russian-born American pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch. Gabrilowitsch served as conductor for both the Munich Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and later ...
Washington Post
Fri, 05 Nov 2010 12:17:31 -0700

... 19 months. A granite monument soars 12 feet heavenward, the height representing two fathoms, or as the old Mississippi riverboaters called it, "Mark twain! Safe passage!" The visages of Twain and his son-in-law, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, watch over the ...


Wed, 05 Jun 2013 21:54:43 -0700

It was designed by George Mason and opened in 1926 with a concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ossip Gabrilowitsch. The building's unique design includes three theaters (one was never completed, but is sometimes used by ...
New York Times (blog)
Tue, 20 Apr 2010 00:00:00 -0700

In any case, Nina, the only child Clara bore, when she was still married to her first husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, died in 1966, leaving Twain bereft of direct descendants. As much as Twain was a sensation when he lived, his final words have never ...
New York Times
Sat, 25 Sep 2010 18:41:48 -0700

(A stand-in for the old-world Russian Romantic pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch?) Schonberg took particular heat for a sentence in which he suggested that Gould had played the concerto so slowly because “maybe his technique is not so good.” That gibe might ...
Mon, 29 Nov 2010 10:50:15 -0800

Revering both Mark Twain and his Connecticut neighbor Charles Ives, I always imagined them meeting for a drink. Who would be more inspiring? More scathing? Both of them might revile those “sissies” who didn't go out on a limb. But what would Twain ...

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