Wittgenstein studied with Theodor Leschetizky. He made his debut as a concert pianist in 1913. During the first world war , he was wounded during a patrol in military service at Zamość in Poland, because a sniper bullet pierced his right arm with a, after which his right arm had to be amputated.
After the war, he played piano and arranged pieces for the left hand only. By the ability that was amassed by his father, the steel magnate Karl Wittgenstein, he could afford to Benjamin Britten, Paul Hindemith and Richard Strauss to compose commands to work for him. But the most famous work that was composed especially for him is the "Concerto pour la main gauche" (Concerto for the left hand) by Maurice Ravel. Wittgenstein, however, wanted to play with major changes made by him, but Ravel forbade that; This led to the relationship between them was badly and they never saw each other after 1933.  Prokofiev Also composed a work for him, in 1931, but Wittgenstein wrote to him: "I would like to thank you for the concert, but I understand there is no single note of and I won't play". He has indeed never did.
After the Anschluss in 1938 if Wittgenstein-like descendant of Jewish ancestors-no longer give concerts. He left for the United States and became American citizenin 1946.He worked as a music teacher and wrote the textbook School for the left hand (1957).
- Hindemith: Piano Music with Orchestra, op. 29, 1923. This composition was by Wittgenstein rejected: he forbade that others would perform throughout his life .
- Korngold: Piano Concerto in C, op. 17, 1923
- Schmidt: concertante variations on a theme by Beethoven, 1923
- Bortkiewicz: Piano Concerto No. 2, op. 28, 1924
- Strauss: Parergon, op. 73, 1925 and 1927, op. 74, Panathenäenzug
- Ravel: Concerto pour la main gauche, 1930
- PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 4 in b-flat, op. 53, 1931
- Britten: Diversions, 1940