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Ossip Gabrilowitsch in 1917
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 outbreak of World War I, he was arrested as an enemy national. 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 on September 14, 1936 in Detroit, Michigan.[7] He 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, p. 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]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossip_Gabrilowitsch — Please support Wikipedia.
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70 news items


Thu, 31 Mar 2016 04:26:15 -0700

Her other affairs included composers Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Hans Pfitzner, and pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch. • She was impregnated six times by four men: three times by Mahler, and once each by Kokoschka, Gropius and Werfel. After her death ...

Buffalo News

Buffalo News
Sat, 19 Dec 2015 21:03:45 -0800

In fact, there are enough parallel couples in the novel – Ashcroft and Lyon (who eventually wed), Twain and Lyon, Twain and Katie Leary, Keller and Anne Sullivan's husband, Clara and Ossip Gabrilowitsch (who also marry), Clara and Charles Wark (who do ...

Hartford Courant

Hartford Courant
Tue, 22 Mar 2016 11:16:23 -0700

She married symphony conductor Ossip Gabrilowitsch, and after his death to another symphony conductor, Jacques Samossoud. She published three books — one about her father, one about her first husband, and one about her adopted Christian Scientist ...

Model D

Model D
Mon, 29 Feb 2016 22:00:00 -0800

Mark Twain's daughter, Clara Clemens, married composer and conductor Ossip Gabrilowitsch. Gabrilowitsch was the founding conductor of the DSO and the impetus behind the construction of Orchestra Hall – he refused to take the post until a new theater ...

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 07:15:00 -0700

Twain's daughter Clara commissioned the monument to her father and late husband, classical musician Ossip Gabrilowitsch, in 1937. The spotlight fell on it again last winter when the bronze plaque it bore of Twain was damaged, stolen and missing for ...
The Missourian
Sun, 19 Jul 2015 01:26:15 -0700

After relocating with a family relative to Michigan, she recalls meeting an older lady, identified as “Aunt Clara,” who took her shopping and to attend the Detroit Symphony (Ossip Gabrilowitsch was conductor of the Detroit Symphony prior to his death).


Mon, 14 Sep 2015 16:37:30 -0700

The other, which was untouched, was of her late husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, classical musician and founding member of the Detroit Symphony. “It was bent. It didn't sit flat in one corner. He had to massage it, work it and get it down so it was flush ...


Huffington Post
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:45:18 -0700

It honors Twain and Clara's husband, the Russian musician Ossip Gabrilowitsch, with large bronze medallions, each a bas-relief profile. But at the beginning of the year, the tomb was vandalized. Twain's medallion was pried from the stone. Luckily, the ...

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