Born: April 28, 1873 - New Malden, Surrey, England
Died: March 12, 1951 - Miami, Florida, USA
The distinguished English-born American pianist and teacher, Harold Bauer, was born into a musical family. His parents were his first teachers, before he began studying violin with Adolf Politzer. From the age of 9, he made appearances as a violinist. 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. When he was 19 he appeared as a pianist in London. 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, and also gave him some lessons.
Harold Bauer played in Paris for the first time in 1893. The same year he also made a tour to Russia. After resolving certain technical problems, he began to give concerto performances with major European orchestras with great success, making Paris his headquarters. In 1899, he performed in Scandinavia and Holland and with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Hans Richter. After touring Europe, he made his USA debut as soloist in 1900 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Johannes Brahms's concerto in D minor. Subsequently he played in major USA cities. He gave recitals annually in London up to 1913. In 1912 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society of London. During World War I, he settled in the USA and in 1917 became a naturalised American citizen. He was founder-director of the Beethoven Association of New York (1918-1941), an esteemed chamber music society. He later became president of the Friends of Music of the Library of Congress.
Harold Bauer was one of the most distinguished pianists of his generation, and exerted an important influence on music in America. In America as in Europe he constantly pursued a purely artistic ideal and has shown himself ready to subordinate personal prestige to the higher end. Although he was known for his interpretations of the canonical Germanic repertoire, especially L.v. Beethoven, J. Brahms and Robert Schumann, his repertoire was a very large one. He was closely associated with certain French composers of the 20th century, such as Franck, Debussy, and Ravel. He introduced many of Debussy's works to English audiences when they were new, and has done much to further the understanding of modem music as well as of the classics. 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 Pablo Casals, and the duo piano repertoire with Ossip Gabrilowitsch.
Harold Bauer was also an influential teacher, heading the piano department at the Manhattan School of Music. He published Harold Bauer, His Book (New York, 1948).