Louis Persinger first performed in public when he was 12 years old. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Hans Becker, and later with Eugène Ysaÿe in Brussels, and for two summers with Jacques Thibaud in France. He became leader of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra and the Royal Opera Orchestra in Brussels. In 1912 he returned to the USA and played with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. In 1915 he was appointed leader and assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He followed Leopold Auer in 1930 as a teacher at the Juilliard School, in New York.
Persinger is particularly remembered now as the teacher of several great violinists, including Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, Isaac Stern. His way of teaching was different from that of most other teachers. He focussed on things that would make his pupils interested and used simple words.
On his 75th birthday he gave a recital at the Julliard School of Music, playing half the programme on the violin and the other half on the piano.