Born into a musical family, Harold Bauer gave his first concerts before he was 10 years old. His parents were his first teachers, before he began studying violin with Adolf Politzer. At the age of 15, he gave public concerts on both the violin and piano and soon moved to Paris in order to launch a career as a solo violinist. A turning point in his career came when English pianist Graham Moore introduced him to Paderewski in London. Paderewski was so impressed with his keyboard abilities that he advised him to concentrate his energies on the piano. After resolving certain technical problems, he began to give concerto performances with major European orchestras. In 1899, he performed in Scandinavia and the Netherlands and with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Hans Richter, and in 1900 he made his American debut with the Boston Symphony. Although he was known for his interpretations of the canonical Germanic repertoire, he was also closely associated with certain French composers of the twentieth century. He gave the Paris premiere of Debussy's Children's Corner suite and the New York premiere of Ravel's Concerto in G major (Ravel dedicated his Ondine to Bauer). He was also active in the field of chamber music, playing piano trios with Thibaud and Casals, and the duo piano repertoire with Gabrilowitsch. Bauer became an American citizen in 1917, and two years later, founded the Beethoven Society of New York. He later became president of the Friends of Music of the Library of Congress. Bauer was an influential teacher, heading the piano department at the Manhattan School of Music.