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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.

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.[2] 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. [3]

From 1910 to 1914, he was conductor of the Munich Konzertverein (later known as the Munich Philharmonic). At the oubreak of World War I, he 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 the United States[4] via Zürich in August 1914.[5]

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.

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.[6] He died from stomach cancer[7] in Detroit in 1936 and, along with his daughter, Clara and her famous 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. ^ "Daughter Born to Mrs. Gabrilowitsch", The New York Times (Redding, Conn.), August 20, 1910: 7, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-22 
  3. ^ Mark Twain Online
  4. ^ Rabbi David G. Dalin. The Myth of Hitler's Pope. (Washington: Regency Publishing Inc., 2005) p. 50
  5. ^ "Mark Twain's Daughter Safe". The Sun (New York, NY). 16 August 1914. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Delta Omicron National Patrons and Patronesses
  7. ^ Mark Twain Online - Clara Clemens

External links[edit]


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994 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 originally on piano rolls and reproduced.

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 and won the Rubinstein prize at...

A. Dvořák: HUMORESKE, gespielt von Ossip Gabrilowitsch

Antonín Dvořák (1841 - 1904) HUMORESKE op. 101, Nr. 7 Gespielt von Ossip Gabrilowitsch (1878 - 1936) Notenrolle "ANIMATIC T" der Firma HUPFELD, Leipzig (um 1922) Klavier der Marke ...

Chabrier: España - Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Detroit Symphony

Recorded 4/16/1928 Emmanuel Chabrier (January 18, 1841 -- September 13, 1894) was a French Romantic composer and pianist. Although known primarily for two of his orchestral works, España...

Ossip Gabrilowitsch - Chopin, Marche Funebre from Sonata Op. 35 in B flat minor

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Chopin's "Marche funebre", third movement from Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 35 in B flat minor. Piano roll Ampico Ampico 5039-6, unfortunately I'm not sure what year was...

Ossip Gabrilowitsch : Feuillet d'Album , Op. 2 No. 3

The Russian composer Ossip Gabrilowitsch ((Осип Сoломонович Габрилович , Osip Solomonovich Gabrilovich , 1878-1936) studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory, later...

Delibes Passepied Grainger Shepherd's Hey Gabrilowitsch Rec.1925

Delibes from L'Roi'S Amuse 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. He...

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Gluck-Brahms "Gavotte"

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Leschetizky Octave Etude

Duo Art piano roll.

994 videos foundNext > 

27 news items

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Fri, 02 Jan 2015 10:39:04 -0800

... who was visiting Twain's gravesite over the holiday weekend left a voicemail on the cemetery office's telephone saying the plaque was missing from the 12-foot high granite monument that commemorates both Twain and his son-in-law Ossip Gabrilowitsch.

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Tue, 17 Feb 2015 10:19:44 -0800

The other plaque, of Clara's husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, a concert pianist and conductor who was key in the founding of the Detroit Symphony, was untouched. The famed author, humorist and public speaker, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne ...

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Mon, 09 Feb 2015 09:14:29 -0800

The other plaque, of Clara's husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, a concert pianist and conductor who was key in the founding of the Detroit Symphony, was untouched. The famed author, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, summered with his ...

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Mon, 02 Feb 2015 10:34:52 -0800

A monument at the site commemorates both Twain and Ossip Gabrilowitsch, husband of Twain's daughter Clara. His likeness is also attached to the monument stone, but only Twain's profile was removed. The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and ...

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Tue, 06 Jan 2015 09:45:21 -0800

"We're trying to develop a plan to go ahead for the replication of it." The plaque was one of two mounted on a granite monument that was commissioned by Twain's daughter, Clara. The other plaque, of Clara's husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, was untouched ...

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Wed, 07 Jan 2015 13:40:10 -0800

The other plaque, of Clara's husband Ossip Gabrilowitsch, remains on the monument. On Tuesday, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes announced it is providing a grant of up to $10,000 to the Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery to ...
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 ...


Mon, 18 Aug 2014 03:02:27 -0700

When Cleveland and Akron were selected as hosts in 2009, the Gay Games Federation said it saw an opportunity to change the hearts and minds of a Midwest region. Organizers are calling that a huge success -- as churches, businesses, police and whole ...

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