From 1904 to 1910 he was the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and taught violin at Harvard University. He also spent time as the leader of the Hallé Orchestra, and as concertmaster in Frankfurt and Rotterdam. He then relocated to Berlin in 1910 to take the position of premier violin instructor at the Royal Academy of Music in Berlin, Germany (Berlin Hochschule fur Musik). Composer Max Bruch, a friend of Hess, helped arrange Hess’ appointment as professor. During the time of the Weimar Republic the Hochschule was the hub of the international music scene, and Hess was associated with many of the musical luminaries of his day and taught students who came to Berlin from all over the world. It is now known as the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler.
Hess taught a German style of right hand technique which emphasized wrist motion with very little finger motion.
He had no difficulty alternating between the violin and viola and performed the viola part of the first performance of Max Bruch’s Double Concerto for clarinet, viola and orchestra, op. 88. It was also in 1910 that Bruch composed the Concert Piece for violin and orchestra, op. 84, for Hess. Hess advised Bruch on composing for strings, and also performed the premières of other works by Bruch. Among works by other composers written for Hess was Arthur W. Foote’s Op. 69, Ballade.
One of the instruments that Hess played on was a Guadagnini.
Hess died in Berlin.