As a pianist, he belonged to the tradition of Franz Liszt; he had studied conducting with Richard Wagner. His contributions in both areas were as innovative as they were creative – he created the paradigmatic image of the modern conductor. He pioneered the ambition that the markings of composers are to be followed exactly. Bülow offered exemplary interpretations of both the classical repertoire and the works of his contemporaries. He was not only active as a conductor and solo pianist, but also had a passion for interpreting chamber and vocal music.
He was an enthusiastic pedagogue, not only in his master classes at the height of his career, but also while holding a teaching position at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin and at the Munich Music School. Additionally, he privately instructed young people, some of whom were not interested in a career in music. Bülow also worked with musically gifted amateurs, including instrumentalists and choir singers in Meiningen. He strived for excellent artistic results with all of his students.