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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 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 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: 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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786 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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

piano roll.

Chopin Fantasie Impromtu in C#, Played by Ossip Gabrilowitsch

Piano Artisans Presents "A Perfect Steinway Duo-Art from 1925" Playing Chopin's Fantasie Impromtu in C#, Played by Ossip Gabrilowitsch. This is a fully rebuilt ...

Ossip Gabrilowitsch plays Arensky "Près de la mer"

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

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, ...

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, ...

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 ...

786 videos foundNext > 

34 news items

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).

Quincy Herald Whig

Quincy Herald Whig
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 07:37:30 -0700

The woman took Bailey shopping and to a performance of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the husband of Twain's daughter Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch, had served as conductor. Bailey remembers photographers surrounding ...


Fri, 10 Jul 2015 19:26:16 -0700

As history has it, Clara's then-late husband Ossip Gabrilowitsch directed the symphony. As Bailey attended college, she received substantial financial assistance from an unknown and undisclosed source. “Much later,” as Zehr writes, “Susan Bailey and ...

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
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 09:07:30 -0700

The other plaque, of Twain's son-in-law, musician Ossip Gabrilowitsch, was untouched. The plaque showed visible damage to a bottom edge and two mounting posts on its back. The Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery said they have arranged for Fred Crusade ...


Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:24:03 -0700

In 1937, 27 years after Twain's death, Twain's daughter, Clara, commissioned the plaques of her father and her late husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, a concert pianist and conductor who was key in the founding of the Detroit Symphony . The latter plaque ...

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:22:30 -0700

In 1937, 27 years after Twain's death, Twain's daughter, Clara, commissioned the plaques of her father and her late husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, a concert pianist and conductor who was key in the founding of the Detroit Symphony. The latter plaque was ...

Elmira Star-Gazette

Elmira Star-Gazette
Tue, 10 Feb 2015 08:38:00 -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. City police believe the plaque was taken sometime in mid-December. Woodlawn Cemetery ...

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