Drawing upon an extensive selection of rare letters, reviews and memoirs, Kenneth Birkin sets Hans von Bulow's work as a recitalist, chamber-music artist and orchestral conductor at the centre of a disturbed and eventful life. Bulow's Zukunftsmusik advocacy and ruthless criticism of performance standards in Berlin and Munich antagonised a musical 'establishment' nonetheless spellbound by his keyboard and orchestral mastery. Birkin pays particular attention to the Tristan and Meistersinger premieres, Cosima's desertion, the European and American tours and operatic activities in Hamburg and Hanover, as well as Bulow's pedagogic activities and forays into musical journalism. The book makes liberal use of Bulow's correspondence, published and unpublished, which personalises the narrative. Contemporary comments and reviews, translated here for the first time, give the reader an insight into the critical and public reaction. An extensive Appendix records the dates and venues of all Bulow's public appearances, both as pianist and conductor.