See her autobiography, An American Musician's Story (1939).
As Olga Samaroff she self-produced her New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1905 (the first woman ever to do so), renting the hall, orchestra and conductor Walter Damrosch, and making an overwhelming impression with her performance of the Tchaikowsky Piano Concerto. She played extensively in the United States and Europe thereafter. Samaroff discovered Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) when he was church organist at St. Bartholemew's in New York and later conductor of the Cincinnati Orchestra. At that time much more famous than he, Samaroff lobbied her distinguished contacts to get him appointed (in 1912) to the vacant conductor's post at the famed Philadelphia Orchestra, launching his international career. She married Stokowski in 1911 and their daughter Sonia was born in 1921. An unlikely anecdote has it that the couple met at a musician's promotional luncheon where the London-born Stokowski not knowing her real origin was introduced to her and expressed his relief at being able to talk to another Russian. Samaroff made a number of recordings in the early 1920s for the Victor Talking Machine Company.
In 1923, Stokowski left her for actress Greta Garbo in a scandal that made headlines. Samaroff never recovered from his infidelity and took refuge in her friends which included George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Dorothy Parker, and Cary Grant. In 1925 Samaroff fell in her New York apartment, suffering an injury to her shoulder which forced her to retire from performing. She worked primarily as a critic and teacher from then on. She wrote for the New York Evening Post until 1928, and gave guest lectures throughout the 1930s. Samaroff developed a course of music study for laymen and was the first music teacher to be broadcast on NBC television. She taught at the Philadelphia Conservatory and in 1924 was invited to join the faculty of the newly formed Juilliard School of Music in New York. She taught at both schools for the rest of her life. Called "Madam" by her students, she was a tireless advocate for some of them, supplying many of her Depression-era charges with everything from concert clothes to food, and pressing officials at Juilliard to build a dormitory - a project that was not realized for decades after her death. Her most famous pupil was concert pianist William Kapell who was killed tragically in a 1953 plane crash at 31.
Mme. Samaroff published an autobiography, An American Musician's Story, in 1939. Teacher to the end, she died of a heart attack at her home in New York on the evening of May 17, 1948 after giving several lessons that day.