Harriet Cohen was born in London on December 2, 1895. After a period of instruction under her parents, Cohen became a pupil of Matthay's at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Matthay Piano School. She became a professor at Matthay's school in 1922. Her performance debut had come earlier, in 1908. Following that, she performed throughout Europe and the U.S. Cohen's career as a performer was hampered by an eye condition which, at one point, led to a fall that damaged nerves and an artery in her right hand. She played works for her left hand only for years before making a two-handed comeback at a London concert. However, her continued eye problems led her to give up performing in 1960. Cohen died in London on November 13, 1967.