Marion Eugénie Bauer was born in Walla Walla, Washington and grew up on Portland, Oregon. After graduating from high school, she moved to New York City to begin a career in music. She studied music in New York and Europe and in 1926, was the first woman to join the music faculty of New York University, where she taught composition and music history until 1951. She also began teaching at Juilliard in 1940 and lectured widely on music. Her compositions were alternately praised and criticized for their complexity and modernist qualities. She edited the journal Musical Leader and published several books on the history of music and contemporary music for both musicians and general readers, such as Twentieth Century Music (1933). Her writing often highlighted women composers ignored by other historians and music critics. She helped found the American Music Guild, the Society of American Women Composers, and the American Composers Alliance, among many other organizations. Today she is acknowledged for her important role in shaping American musical identity in the first half of the 20th century.